The creative minds behind Excel Entertainment bring us the family production of LUCK BY CHANCE. While Farhan Akhtar continues as Producer-Actor after the highly successful Rock On!!, his talented sister finally saddles the director's seat to provide a modest behind-the-scenes look at the Hindi Film Industry, and two aspiring wide-eyed dreamers struggling to turn their hopes into reality.
Zoya Akhtar's story seems like it has been taken right out of the pages of a Madhur Bhandarkar script. The film tells the tale of two aspiring actors, Vikram (Farhan Akhtar) and Sona (Konkona Sen Sharma). Vikram, who has just finished up an acting diploma, begins sifting through Mumbai hoping to hit the jackpot role. Meanwhile, Sona is a struggler who has been doing miniscule roles for the past few years. She's doing this all under the guidance of her friend/producer Chaudhary (Aly Khan), who promises that he'll give her the big break she's been yearning for. From here, the two players begin a roller-coaster journey that takes them through a maze of highs and lows, all the while entwining themselves in an inextricable bind of friendship, love, and betrayal.
Despite being treated as a serious melodrama, Akhtar's script plays more like a satirical parody of the Hindi Film Industry, courtesy Javed Akhtar's suggestive dialogue. The film portrays most of the Industry as fake and dishonest. It seems to indicate that hypocrisy rules all in the business. One sequence even shows the writer (played by Anurag Kashyap ironically) copying scripts straight from a Hollywood DVD. It was also portrayed that in commercial cinema â€śclichĂ© with convictionâ€ť was alright and that casting always dominates content. Statements like â€śWe're just good friendsâ€ť always mean â€śWe are more than friends.â€ť Finally, it was mentioned that Supermodels, Miss Worlds, and Miss Universes, were the in-thing and nobody cared for true acting skills.
These are some very strong accusations by the Akhtar family. Fortunately for them, most of it is painfully true. From a story standpoint, we've seen the tale of strugglers in a cut-throat Industry time and time again (most recently in Bhandarkar's Fashion). Despite a strong screenplay and some moving dialogue, Luck By Chance does little to add an extra exclamation point to the familiar tune.
Excel Entertainment is able to make such a suggestive film because it has clearly distinguished itself from the rest of the Industry. Farhan Akhtar has created a niche for himself from which he can comfortably point fingers without anyone pointing one back at him. However, I wish Zoya Akhtar had treated LBC as an out-and-out satire â€“ a hysterically exposing spoof on what commercial Indian Cinema has become today without all the melodramatic tones. Not only would it have been different, it would have been entertaining. Isn't that what Excel's mission has been from the early days of Dil Chahta Hai?
Konkona Sen Sharma plays Sona with elegance and beauty. Her fluid naturalism flows through Sona just as it has in all her previous characters. You are able to connect with Sona more so than with any other character and this is where Konkona soars the highest. She's the perfect parallel to Farhan's Vikram.
The film is flooded with supporting characters, all playing a hand in exposing Bollywood's true colors. Rishi Kapoor's Rommy Rolly, as the waning producer, and Dimple Kapadia's Neena Walia, as the star mother of yesteryear, stand out the most. The rest of the cast provides ample support.
Zoya Akhtar's first directorial venture is a success. However, it is one of Excel's weakest films, as it tries too hard to convey a message that has been touched upon many times before. As I mentioned, the makers would have been better suited to change the film's mood from a serious melodrama to a more light-hearted satirical spoof. Nevertheless, it is another feather in the cap of Farhan Akhtar...the actor. I definitely recommend at least one viewing of Luck By Chance.