Planet Bollywood
Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Kishen Kumar & Sohail Khan
Director: Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru
Starring: Salman Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, introducing Sneha Ullal, Kader Khan, Vikram Gokhale
Music: Adnan Sami
Lyrics: Sameer
Genre: Action
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Film Released on: 08 April 2005
Reviewed by: Irfan Makki  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 410 viewers)
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Being termed as the film that will finally pull Bollywood out of its box office misery, Sohail Khan’s Lucky - No Time For Love faces the huge responsibility of ending the Box Office drought and setting the cash registers rolling. A big movie always has high expectations associated with it and especially if it comes at a time when the HIT tag is a rarity, expectations become sky high. It’s never easy for a debutant director to deliver in a situation when even the so-called Showmen of the industry fail to deliver. But if the movie stars one of the most bankable stars the industry has ever seen coupled with a rocking sound track, half the battle is won already. Add a super-aggressive publicity campaign to it, and one is dead sure of an earth-shattering initial at the BO.

Directed by First-timers, Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, Lucky has generated quite a buzz. The producers, T-Series and Sohail Khan, have clearly invested a lot of money on the film’s promotion and the publicity has been exceptional.

So does Lucky really live up to the Hype? Or is it just another case of “All Hype, No Substance”? For the answers, read on…

The film tells the story of an 18-year old high school girl, Lucky Negi (Sneha Ullal). Caught in a civil unrest, she comes across Aditya Sekhri (Salman Khan). His pranks and jokes aside, Aditya comes as a breath of fresh air in the otherwise timid and shy Lucky’s life. Some initial tiffs later, love starts finding its way into their hearts. But their love takes a backseat as they desperately try to get home facing troubles at each and every step of the journey. How they manage to reach home holding on to each other forms the crux of the enterprise.

Though the story is not path breaking, it is the film’s treatment that makes an instant impact. Radhika and Vinay have chosen the right subject for their directorial debut and their first effort is impressive to say the least. But they ought to have paid more attention to the script as the film drags half way through. The duo should have made the script more interesting. Though there is nothing overly wrong with the screenplay, it tends to get too predictable at times. One or two twists would have surely taken the film to new highs. Having said that, the overall direction is praise-worthy. The film carries a subtle and soothing feel to it and the overall ambiance is extremely gentle. The duo has handled the emotional scenes with utmost sensitivity and shows a flare for light-hearted sequences as well. All in all, a likeable first attempt!

Lucky is definitely the most polished product to have come from Sohail Khan’s production outfit since Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya. The flick is rich on production values and features a highly skilled crew of technicians associated with it. Lucky can easily be termed as one of the best-shot films of the past decade. Cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee comes across as an expert lens-man and does full justice to Russia’s gorgeous landscape. Each and every frame has been canned with care and his work should fetch him a nomination or two at next year’s awards. Sets, though not used a lot, are refreshingly nice and colorful. Dialogues are mainly functional though Salman and Sneha exchange some sweet lines between them while Monty’s background music gels well with the mood of the film.

The editor deserves a special mention for keeping the film’s running time in check. Had it been any longer than its current 2 hour 17 minute duration, the audiences would have surely lost interest. In fact I’d recommend using the scissors even more and trimming the film by another 10 minutes. This would only enhance its prospects further.

The film starts off extremely well. Salman’s first encounter with Sneha in his car, their interaction in the graveyard and their subsequent conversations have been handled expertly. The light-hearted sequences are bound to bring a smile or two on one’s face and Salman’s antics are downright enjoyable. But the intermediate portion of the film drags a bit and the proceedings start getting predictable. The pace again picks up during the last 30 minutes and the film manages to keep the viewers interested. If the first half is filled with light moments between the two protagonists, the second half is more intense and emotional.

Adnan Sami’s first full-fledge movie soundtrack is the film’s trump card. The talented lad must be given credit for the enormous hype surrounding the film. Each and every tune is soul stirring and easy on ears. The excellent picturization of all the songs make the experience even more pleasant. My pick of the lot will be “Jaan Meri” as it is not just an amazing song but has been superbly visualized on the screen. If the movie goes on to become a hit, Adnan surely deserves an equal share of credit for its success.

Salman Khan as Aditya Sekhri is extremely likeable. From a witty and fun-loving young man in the first half to a protective and devastated lover in the second, Salman packs a punch! Having watched him in Lucky, I feel that no one else would have suited the role more than apna Sallu. Looking young and fresh, Salman effortlessly walks through the role and makes the character of Aditya Sekhri his own. Though a few people might argue that he went a bit overboard in the first half, but hey, isn’t this the Salman we all know?

Mithun Chakraborthy is just about ok. Though his is an important character, his performance suffers mainly due to an ill-sketched character. But one must say that he shares an amazing on-screen chemistry with Salman. Whatever scenes the two have together, they have made complete use of them and one would like to see more of them together in the future.

The supporting cast comprising of Vikram Gokhale, Ravi Baswani and Kader Khan has done an adequate job. A special mention must be made of Mumait Khan. She has just a couple of scenes but exudes a lot of confidence. If given the right roles, she can go places.

And now, the biggest highlight of film, Sneha Ullal! It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Lucky has been made to showcase Sneha Ullal. Wrongly touted as an Aishwarya Rai look-alike, Sneha successfully dismisses the myth about her resemblance to the former Miss. World. Being a naturally beautiful girl, she is the surprise package of the film. Playing the title role, she emerges a winner and steals the show with her vulnerability and sweetness. It’s not easy being paired opposite a huge star in one’s debut film and playing the title role at the same time. Yet Sneha performs confidently and matches Salman’s wit with her innocence in every scene. Those deep green eyes and that sweet, mellow voice bring Lucky to life and are bound to win many a hearts. A job well done Miss. Ullal!

On the whole Lucky is a fairly enjoyable fare and lives up to the gigantic expectations to a certain extent. Not a classic by any means, the film belongs to the feel-good category of cinema and does well for itself. Devoid of forced cleavages and unnecessary intimate encounters, and packed with clean entertainment; Lucky is fun for the entire family. What’s more, it makes for an ideal date movie too. So all you guys out there, put on some fine clothes, wear a nice cologne, buy her some flowers on your way, and go watch Lucky. Add some popcorns and a soft drink during the interval and there you go, a perfect date!

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