Luck by Chance, which launches the career of Zoya Akhtar as a director, is one of the most decent films to release in a long time. 2008 has been a comedy of errors for Bollywood with one magnum opus disaster after another. The over-hyped Ghajini and star-studded Yuvvraaj being two prime examples. But if Luck by Chance, the first major release of2009, is anything to go by, this year will be one of promising films. Even though the story of Luck by Chance is hardly groundbreaking, it is the collective effort behind the film, which makes it so strong.
With the odd pairing of Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sen Sharma and supporting cast of fabulous actors like Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Juhi Chawla and Hrithik Roshan, the film makes its point.
Tackling the careers of two struggling actors in the city of dreams that is Mumbai, one sees the plight of making it big in Bollywood. And yet there is no moralistic preaching which is what makes this film such a delight.
Farhan Akhtar plays Vikram, an ambitious, talented man who wants to break into Indian films and will do anything to get there. In contrast to Farhan is his girlfriend Sona, played by Konkana Sen Sharma – who shares the dream but not the ambition and ruthlessness that Vikram plays to his advantage.
And their stories are neatly interlinked with the lives of producer Rolly (Rishi Kapoor) whose idea of great films is driven by superstar actors, former actress Nina, played by the superb Dimple Kapadia who relives her glorious days through her daughter, Niki -Isha Sherwani – who is also an actress and superstar actor Zafar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) who’d rather work with a big star cast and director than in a film that is “different”.
When actors fail to challenge stereotypes, new actors enter the arena and Luck by Chance manages to make this point superbly.
This is an interesting film to watch for a variety of reasons. The story doesn’t get boring and the ending is completely unpredictable. The film is not just about two actors but takes a sharp and humorous look into the glamorous world of cinema without tearing it down.
Outsiders enter the industry when major stars stay away from edgy roles. This fact is established very well with a cameo from Karan Johar who cited Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan as examples. Similarly, star kids don’t have it easy when former stars-turned-parents relive their days through their children. And Bollywood is full of star families and kids. How filmmakers get “inspired” by foreign cinema and often sheer luck will determine the fate of many. This in a nutshell defines Luck By Chance. And the reason why it works is the way the film has been made. Zoya Akhtar has kept the film tight and sharp without loosing focus.
Finally there is the casting of the film, which is a wonder to watch. Farhan Akhtar makes another splash after Rock On and this time around, he manages to make his mark.
The frustration behind struggling in the world’s largest film industry, doubt that surrounds him and the sly change in character – Farhan plays emotions well. He doesn’t light up the screen as fabulously as Hrithik Roshan. He may not be star material but surely as an actor, Farhan is one to watch.
His co-star Konkana Sen Sharma, as always, is a delightful performer. Her pairing with Farhan is odd but it is charming enough to work. She is a hugely talented actress and in this film, she delivers another stellar performance. The individual scenes between Farhan and Konkana are gripping and completely absorbing.
In supporting roles, two actors who make this film incredibly funny are Rishi Kapoor as the producer who has to deal with star tantrums of everyone and Dimple Kapadia as the has-been mom who is more of a diva than anything else. They are excellent.
Hrithik looks fabulous and does justice to his small role.
One reason why Luck By Chance has made so much news is because of the various cameos from some of the biggest actors of this generation. The one cameo that stands out and makes the most impact belongs to Shah Rukh Khan.
Add all this with a fabulous score and Luck By Chance has all the ingredients to make a highly entertaining film. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy has proven once again why they are the next best trio of musicians after A.R. Rahman. In particular, the tunes ‘Baawre’ and ‘Sapno Se Bhare Naina’ make for excellent songs.
Overall, this is an entertaining film. The cameos keep appearing as a nice surprise but they are never the focal point. Unlike most Indian films, which almost always go for a predictable, happily-ever-after ending, this film remains more realistic. This is no Om Shanti Om but it is definitely worth a watch – Maheen Sabeeh (Rating – 3.5 OUT OF 5)
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2009, Genre – Drama, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani, Director – Zoya Akhtar, Music Director – Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa, Cast – Farhan Akhtar, Rishi Kapoor, Isha Sharvani, Sanjay Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharma, Dimple Kapadia, Juhi Chawla, Anurag Kashyap, Aly Khan