The “Hindi Film Industry” as many veterans would like Bollywood to be known as, has finally moved from the “Era of the Hero” to the “Age of the Actor”. The quintessential Hindi movie hero, who should epitomize noble qualities, perform heroic acts and be regarded as a model or ideal has moved aside to pave way for the closer to life common man – your typical boy-next-door, if you may. The actor today is non-puritanical, daring to make it big by playing on both virtues and vices, and ready to sacrifice love and bonds, rather than for love and relationships, to fulfill ambitions. Welcome, to the new age commercial cinema, and its latest offering – Luck by Chance.
Luck by Chance starring Farhan Akhtar is a typical multiplex movie that will appeal to the urban audience, because it is not weaving fairytales to charm the dream-seeking starry-eyed “Bollywood” movie fan. It is the story of any young urban migrant trying to make it big in a metropolitan city, with hardly any place for another struggler. In this jungle of dreams and ambitions, one must not only sharpen one’s claws and gain skills for the job, but also learn the vile ways of the world. Shrewdness, or rather intelligent perception of a scenario, and effective handling of the opportunities at hand, can go a long way to bridge the yawning gap to the ultimate aspiration. Luck or destiny, of course, makes the journey slightly easier albeit not shorter, and this is exactly what Farhan Akhtar’s character embodies.
Konkana Sen Sharma, on the other hand, portrays a character that is not idealistic but is innocent in the way she trusts and believes that circumstances and opportunities will fall into place. She is mature, independent and yet a girl at heart. Her emotional needs do not overpower her or make her weak, but they become evident in her need to love and be loved in return. How things finally turn up for her on the personal front, is of course, better seen in the movie than revealed here, but the other interesting thing to watch out for is the ultimate shaping of her professional life. Her character’s success (or failure, as the movie will reveal) is ultimately, a sharp contrast to the means and moves applied by Farhan’s character.
The movie has interesting moments and intelligent dialogues. Some of the scenes and dialogues bring a smile, just because they are so tightly woven into the screenplay, that you would almost miss the impact and intention, if you were not paying attention. For example, Farhan Akhtar’s dialogue – “Theater has kept the actor in me alive.” – beautifully sketches the intricacies of his character – firstly, he picked this line from a friend, whose passion for theatre life he openly shuns, and secondly it shows how he is always aware and alert and knows what to learn, and where to utilize this learning to his best advantage. This dialogue is a tribute to intelligence, opportunism and presence of mind. The movie is liberally sprayed with such moments, and one can pick up their own favorite ones.
The other characters played by Dimple Kapadia, Rishi Kapoor, and Isha Sharvani, are also strong and make distinct marks of their own. Dimple Kapadia’s ravishing screen presence steals the show but Farhan Akhtar’s accompanying antics makes each of these scenes a pleasure to watch and enjoy. She is the typical star-mother, who in her harshness and in her most critical observations, is only trying to shield her daughter from the darker aspects of stardom. Rishi Kapoor exemplifies the fact that professional life in any field of work is challenging and frustrating, and requires compromises, flattery, contacts, and ability to rise up to the most exigent situations. Sumptuous food and lots of drinks (and flashy silk shirts) probably make the handling of pressure easier for this on-screen producer, who tries to keep the big smile flashing and the curly head bouncing, when the high paying star, played by Hrithik Roshan, walks out on his movie.
The Akhtar’s family clout in “Bollywood” is evident as cameo roles are liberally splashed all over the place. Gossips, scandals, jealousies and insecurities, friendships, behind the scenes – all are amply depicted. The music is average and the first half drags a bit. But the second half is where you get your money’s worth with taut scripting and fast-paced screenplay that tie the little bits and gives you one compact cinematic experience. Luck by Chance is a modern-day allegory on the life and times of young, ambitious men and women, who will go all out to achieve what they seek, sometimes in lesser measures, and through not so “heroic” avenues.