Zoya Akhtar’s debut venture ’Luck by Chance’ features her as the writer and director. And she does live up to the genetic baggage she carries on her shoulders- of both her parents being successful script writers and her brother Farhan being a director worth his money. The script has been etched by someone who has closely witnessed the nuances of life in Bollywood, and though there are cliched references to the casting couch and sleazy directors– the movie is certainly worth a watch.
The film revolves around Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan Aktar) playing a wannabe actor in the Hindi film industry. He is smart, has ample presence of mind, a drive to make it big and oodles of luck to be at the right place at the right time. His relationship with Sona Mishra (Konkana Sen Sharma)- a starlet playing bit roles and trying to get a foothold in Bollywood- is rocky. Success comes- brings in the moolah, gossip magazines– and young Vikram finds the intoxicating rise too tough to handle. People change overnight, he loses people who are important to him for others who could shape his destiny.
Watch this movie for Farhan Akhtar’s competent refreshing performance. He plays himself- cool, casual and cheeky. His grin is his biggest asset— move over jaded overdone six packs and bulging biceps– Farhan’s underplayed charm beats them all. Watch out Khans! I am kicking myself for having missed Rock on… must catch up with it soon. I particularly liked the scene when he walks in for his audition only to be another nobody in a room full of wannabes. Konkana is talented as ever– whether angry, composed or plain distraught- she delivers. Isha Sharvani is best at the trapeze– contorting her sinuous rubberband body into queer postures. However for the life of her, she can’t contort her facial muscles into expressions. But it works, as she is expected to play a dumb bimbette who can’t act for her life. So when Farhan yells at her telling her she needs to take acting lessons, you know he means it. Rotund Rishi Kapoor, playing Romi Rolly, with a dozen auspicious rings on his fingers, is a caricature of a number of Bollywood producers. Couldn’t help remembering Subhash Ghai with his emphasis on the “Vul-kay-no of talent” tirade. Dimple Kapadia as the heroine’s quirky ‘mummyji’ is fantastic with her swearing as well as her eyes. Hrithik Roshan plays the star-Zafar Khan- with usual flair and delivers his usual flamboyant dance in style (though I wish that song was done by Farhan instead). Sanjay Kapur spoofs around on his own acting disasters. And I just discovered that the guy who played the frustrated writer was Anurag Kashyap. And then you have hordes of actors and actresses playing themselves in cameos and doling out sensible advice to the new actor– the entire film industry is here— and I did thank the Almighty that Farah Khan had not made this film.
I liked the start- with the focus on people behind the scenes- the chaiwala, the hairdresser, the stunt men, the chowkidars, and the Maganlal Dresswalas. The film is immensely watchable, sensible, has its moments of humour and comes with a message as well. Good storytelling, and a refreshing piece of work. Zoya and Farhan are youngsters to watch out for.