Hats off Zoya! You've made one of the strongest directorial debut in recent times with Luck By Chance and I can confidently say that this is on par with Farhan Akthar's debut as a director in Dil Chahta Hai. It always feels great to celebrate good cinema and Luck By Chance is one such brilliant example.
The film is a satirical yet sensitive look at the Hindi film industry and the world that exists behind the glamorous silver screen which is dominated by superficial relationships and manipulative individuals. Without revealing the plot, in brief, the film traces the journeys of a wannabe actor, a struggling B-grade actress, a failed actor who turns to directing, an old-school successful film producer, a superstar who is caught up in his own image and a yester-year diva who decides to launch her daughter in the biggest possible way. The film sets the mood from the beginning itself where it pays tribute to the lesser-heard-of people involved in the making of a film behind the camera, from the spot-boys and make-up artists to the stuntmen and extras. Also the opening shot where Konkona Sen Sharma confronts the producer of Pinky Productions is superbly written and acted which hints at the industry's casting couch.
Zoya Akhtar lives up to her family legacy of superior talent. She knows her job extremely well and has perfect control over each department of filmmaking. This is a difficult film to make, considering the huge star cast with an equally huge line-up of cameos, but Zoya never lets anything go amiss. She never resorts to cheap gimmicks and mockery to depict the various aspects of the Hindi film industry unlike what we have seen in some recent films, instead there's a fine balance between good humour and good drama throughout the film. Every Excel Entertainment film has had well-defined character driven plots and have depicted small but significant nuances very effectively, from Dil Chahta Hai to Rock On, and Luck By Chance is no different. Zoya Akhtar's writing is almost flawless and she is well aware that content is and always will be king. She is a very observant director.
The casting of the film is brilliant and every actor fits into his or her character effortlessly. Farhan Akhtar reinforces our belief that he is a truly gifted actor. There couldn't have been a better choice than him for the character of Vikram Jai Singh, a wannabe actor who is ready to compromise on his relationships and every thing else to achieve his dream of stardom. The rawness required to portray such a role is convincingly fulfilled by Farhan and he is absolutely mind blowing in that scene where he breaks down after an argument with his friend, Abhimanyu (played by Arjun Mathur). Newcomer Arjun Mathur has a very tiny role but he makes a strong impact with his flawless performance as the insecure friend. This guy is extremely talented and I would love to see him in many more films with more prominent roles. Juhi Chawla is very charming as the over-indulgent wife of a big shot producer. Dimple Kapadia performs with √©lan and she looks gorgeous. Isha Sharvani is a pleasant surprise; we are well aware of her head-turning dancing skills but with this film she establishes herself as a very dependable actor. She looks stunning too, thanks to the stylists. Sanjay Kapoor almost plays his real-self as a failed actor who ultimately turns to film direction. Hrithik Roshan is terrific in a relatively small role as Zaffar Khan. The scene where he interacts with the street kids from inside his car is beautiful and speaks volumes about this very talented actor who gave us a classic performance as Emperor Akbar last year. Rishi Kapoor is full of life in the character of Romy Rolly, a producer who is stuck to his old-school methods of filmmaking.
Shankar Ehsaan Loy's soundtrack boasts of some brilliant compositions and works perfectly with the film's narrative. Baawre is my personal favourite which has an interesting mix of Rajasthani folk music and modern beats; also it's fantastic to hear Loy lending his voice to the track. Yeh Zindagi Bhi and O' Raahi Re which play at the beginning and ending of the film respectively are noteworthy for their haunting melody and uplifting lyrics by Javed Akhtar. I recommend you to listen to these two tracks carefully, they have absolutely beautiful lyrics. The line 'Choone Hain Taare Ise, Chahiye Saare Ise...' is exceptional and says a lot in very few words. Background score is of high standards and provides excellent support to some of the key scenes in the film. Vaivabhi Merchant impresses once again with her extremely creative choreography. While Baawre is sophisticated, Pyaar Ki Dastan manages to be very endearing in terms of choreography. Cinematography by Carlos Catalan is flawless; every frame has been well shot with very good lighting. Abid T.P.'s art direction is superb. Editing by Paul A. Byrne could have been a tad tighter as the film's length needs a little trimming. Other technical departments including costume design score high points. Last but not the least, Javed Akhtar's dialogues are smart, witty and effective in every scene. He should write more often for films.
Luck By Chance is a remarkable film and like Dil Chahta Hai, it sets new standards in distinctive storytelling and brims with rare creativity. This is one film that shouldn't be missed at any cost. Initially it may be difficult to relate to the film's content if you aren't too familiar with the mechanics of the film industry but the sharp writing and wonderful characters will pull you into the on-goings of the film in no time. Very highly recommended.
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