Thursday, July 21, 2011

#162: Luck By Chance

Luck By Chance written and directed by Zoya Akhtar is a story of dreams and ambitions that the millions who inhabit Mumbai cherish and that is to make a mark in the big bad world of Bollywood. The story is about three characters - Vikram (Farhan Akhtar's acting debut), Sona (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Abhimanyu (Arjun Mathur)- all of whom nurse a desire to become a lead actor in a movie and are struggling to get auditions. It is only a matter of time before the three of them become good friends and their destinies get interlinked.

Vikram, essayed with a nonchalant charm by Farhan Akhtar, is the first one to the get the big break and becomes distant from his friends. Coupled with his new found fame, his imminent attraction towards his pretty and rich leading lady Nikki (Isha Sharvani) sours up his relationship with Sona. The story follows the character of Vikram and Sona and their transformation over the course of the movie works as one of the most enduring things about the movie. To traverse the character arcs of the innocuous Vikram becoming a sly cat and a confident Sona losing faith in herself as an actress makes for fabulous viewing. There is an easy chemistry between Farhan Akhtar and Konkona that's seldom seen in Bollywood and lends itself seamlessly to the movie's brilliance.

Add to that an ensemble cast as varied as Rishi Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Dimple Kapadia and Shahrukh Khan and the movie is nothing short of a dramatic potboiler. The cameo by Shahrukh where he plays himself is one taut act and is perhaps better than most of the full-length roles in the movies he has acted in. The movie celebrates the stereotypes of Bollywood unabashedly and in doing so doesn't make a mockery of itself. Instead, it educates the viewers about the embellishments that go along with the circus of Bollywood.

Without a shade of a doubt though, Luck By Chance belongs to Zoya Akhtar and a number of scenes have a mischievous stamp that must belong to none other than the director. MacMohan's appearance, the first scene of the film (saving it for those who haven't seen it) and the unforgettable opening credits- perhaps the best ever in the history of Indian cinema- are all touches of a woman who is in awe of Bollywood and is serving up a platter of a tribute to the working of Indian cinema. Yes, it is not the most professional setup but an industry that churns out more movies than any other in the world sure has got a unique flavor of it's own and Zoya leaves that indelible imprint on your mind for you to savor. It has some shades of a previous Nagesh Kukunoor movie Bollywood Calling that spoofed the industry. To call Luck By Chance a spoof would be short selling it but the approach the movie takes to proving it's point is, to draw a parallel, not a matter of chance but an intelligent and mature design. I should think you will love every minute of it.

Rating: 7.7/10

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