“I want to become a filmmaker” – uttering this line is sure to attract many free advices like “Aa line maan naseeb ane contacts ajj chaale, kayink job kari le”. The sad part is that these sagacious words come from people whose only connection with films is as audience in a movie theatre, DVD or TV.
“Another brick in the wall”, they’d say, destined to live with moony eyes inebriated with dreams of becoming the next Satyajit Ray, Kurosawa, Guru Dutt, Shekhar Kapur, or Ram Gopal Varma. Kirtan Patel’s Gujarati film, ‘Bas ek chance’ explores the predicament of making one’s first film and rewards you with a strong message, minus the melodrama or spoon-feeding.
Aditya Kapadiya essays the role of a struggling director (certainly not a wannabe) to perfection. The role he plays is quite challenging because it requires him to bind every character together, be it his worrying deep-in-debt father (Rajeev Mehta), protective mother (Falguni Dave), eager-to-settle-down girlfriend (Bhakti Kubavat), dosti-ke-liye-kuch-bhi-karega friends (Mitra Gadhvi with another fabulous actor Alpesh Dhakan), and give-me-a-money-spinner-film producer played to perfection by Hemang Dave. Thankfully, the lead actor pulls off this challenge with finesse of a pro and the entire cast doesn’t disappoint either.
The trials and tribulations of a newbie director are depicted with an air of authenticity. So we don’t have any miracles happening around, of course, till the end. In hindsight, the end isn’t actually a miracle, but based on an insight into aspiring film actors and producers, which isn’t hard to swallow as an audience.
The only place Kirtan Patel’s ‘Bas ek chance’ falters (yup it does) is the second half, where the dreams of this young filmmaker spirals down, making him emerge stronger. It is this point of time where the film desperately needed a bail-out by writer Jay Bhatt.
For instance, the introduction of Mushtaq Khan’s character (The actor is visibly uncomfortable mouthing Gujarati dialogues), a shady B-Grade filmmaker giving his expert touch to the debutant director opens up a plethora of manipulation opportunities, but the writer chooses to underplay here.
Furthermore, the backlash at home, friends turning their backs to the lead character, girlfriend leaving him (and re-uniting in a really contrived manner) and the dance of the disabled makes you cringe in disappointment. It’s like Sachin scoring 99. Having said that, these are minor issues ‘Bas ek chance’ faces, which you gleefully overlook, thanks to the sincerity the film invokes from its lead character.
Last, but as the cliché goes, not the least, ‘Bas ek chance’ is indeed special for me and for every citizen of Vadodara. The city has never been depicted so beautifully before, including landmarks like ‘Chakli circle’, Tapovan Temple, Kala Ghoda instead of showing just the mandatory Laxmi Vilas Palace.
If not just for places, you also get to hear RJ Kshitij Banker singing the title song and theatre artist and stand-up comedian (Katko-fame or Kishore Kaka) Smit Pandya playing the role of Kevin, a writer working for the lead character. The actor, though in a brief part, makes his presence felt, especially in the ‘BMW chalaavi chhe’ scene. One hopes to see more of him in such films.
To sum it up, Kirtan Patel’s Bas ek chance takes the legacy of Abhishek Jain’s ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ and ‘Bey Yaar’ further. Like the character of Alpesh Dhakan puts it in the film – Karo Like!