If there’s one thing that writer-director Soham Shah got right, it was to name his film in the hope that like some magical charm it would transfuse the power from its name onto the object itself. Luck is precisely what he needs to make this venture work. Half-baked characters in a half-baked plot with lots of daredevil stunts make for a good AXN reality show but hardly ever for Bollywood filmi success. Particularly for a movie whose central theme revolves around renting people’s luck (and a nauseating overuse of the word luck). Or maybe Shah presumed that since Luck was releasing at the time when Transformers fever is raging high, he could ride on the same wave and lots of stunts, jumping of cliffs and catapulting through the air, could garner him the same kind of glory and fame. Dead wrong. Worse though is the fact that it’s been shamelessly plagiarized (not that its Bollywood’s first time at that) from an acclaimed French Georgian film Tzameti.
Luck takes the form of tiny vignettes with the first half of the movie serving as a short intro to all the characters: Ram (Imran), Ayesha (Shruti), Major (Mithun) – and two most interesting condiments in this otherwise vapid offering: Shortcut (Chitrashi Rawat) and Raghav (Ravi Kishen) and their respective place in the movie: i.e. how they all become pawns in this scheming death trap of a betting game orchestrated by the infallible Moosa (Sanjay Dutt) whose mad psychotic fixation with playing with people in the most inhumane bizarre way and simultaneously generate billions propels the movie.
In the last few years it seems that Sanjay Dutt has been permanently cast in the ghunda/bhai log stone, and true to form, he plays the Muslim godfather even in Luck. As he’s growing older Sanjay’s roles are either variations of the badmash or sequels of Munna Bhais (which is just a comic loveable don so not much difference there).
Mithun Chakraborty though, an actor known for his sleazy 1980s films, cringing pelvic thrusts and ludicrous action sequences in his youth, has been garnering small but respectable and dignified roles with age. He certainly embodies the adage of aging gracefully by delivering poignant performances each time: whether it’s his role as a principled editor in Guru or the valiant soldier in Luck its good to see Mithun-da back on the silver screen creating a legacy.
Speaking of legacies though, the veteran theatre and film South Indian actor Kamal Hassan’s rock star daughter, Shruti pulled a discreditable Megan Fox in her debut with Luck. With genes like hers, one expects a solid performance and an acute sense of scanning out powerful scripts. Shruti disappoints on both accounts; stilted dialogues albeit with great chemistry with Imran cannot generate enough heat to sustain her character (or lack thereof) or the film. As for Imran, he clearly must have been on loggerheads with dearest mamoo-jan Aamir Khan on this one.
All said and done though, action films are fun to do and watch if you are into stunts and dare devil acrobatics, so it is understandable why the cast of Luck signed up for it. Very few Bollywood movies, even at this mature stage in the Indian film industry have a decent plot so one cannot really discredit Luck on that account. Yet as many Indian film critics have also noted, Luck doesn’t offer anything new to a generation that is addicted to high tech video games and action reality shows. How the film does at the box office will certainly test the combined luck of all the cast and crew concerned – Hani Taha Salim (Rating – 2 OUT OF 5)
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2009, Genre – Action, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Dhilin Mehta, Director – Soham Shah, Music Director – Sulaiman Merchant, Salim Merchant, Cast – Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Shruti Haasan, Danny Denzongpa, Ravi Kishan, Chitrashi Rawat