February 1, 2009 / 6:25 AM / 10 years ago

Bollywood makes a film about its murky side

MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - A new Bollywood film gives audiences a ringside view of the Hindi film industry, using an insider’s perspective to unmask its dark underbelly of power politics.

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan attends a news conference at a hotel in Mumbai, April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Manav Manglani

“Luck By Chance,” the story of two struggling actors trying to earn a foothold in the film industry, boasts cameo appearances by superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.

The film, which opened in cinemas on Friday, puts the spotlight on the big, bad world of Mumbai, where thousands of aspiring actors end up each year hoping to get their big break.

“It lends itself to a great background for a story, but the film also explores Bollywood as an industry, almost like an insider,” lead actress Konkona Sen Sharma told Reuters.

“This place has everything, it has pathos, it has happiness, it has its funny moments,” she said.

Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry by ticket sales, is best known for its hyperbole musicals and gory revenge dramas.

Starry-eyed youngsters from across India arrive in Mumbai, home to Bollywood, often staking out the offices of film producers in the hope of getting a role. Rumors of a casting couch abound.

But “Luck By Chance” director Zoya Akhtar said times are changing.

“There are casting directors now, there are corporates who want to put in money and make different films. There are a lot more opportunities,” she said.

Akhtar, a first-time director herself, hails from a family of Bollywood filmmakers and writers — and the setting of her debut film doesn’t come as a surprise. “I look at it as human behavior, set in the background of the industry because this is the only place I know.”

Akhtar wrote the script of “Luck By Chance” more than seven years ago but couldn’t find a mainstream actor willing to play the role of a struggling actor.

In desperation, she turned to her filmmaker brother Farhan who made a successful transition to acting last year.

Writing by Tony Tharakan; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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