Film Review: Luck by Chance

It’s rare to find a drama in Hindi film industry, with layered and insightful characters, spontaneous filmmaking, and a perfect casting. ‘Luck by Chance’, Zoya Akhtar’s debut as director, has all it takes to be a wonderful movie – engrossing, even in its languid pace.

Luck by Chance is an inside look into the world of Hindi films. This is well evident in the brilliant opening credits showing a montage of Hindi films’ behind the set scenes. The characters are very real, and several actors and directors – Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Rajkumar Hirani, Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Akshaye Khanna, Kareena Kapoor, Karan Johar, Rani Mukherjee, Diya Mirza, Vivek Oberoi – in short fleeting cameos playing themselves add to the authenticity of the characters and the industry. But this is not Madhur Bhandarkar’s movie with pessimism of the big, bad world shown in every frame. The characters are affectionate, warm, and some of them earn a smile each time they are on they screen. The director clearly explores shine as well as the grime in this layered portrait.

Ofcourse the characters are nicely written; but the performance of the ensemble cast is what takes them to the next level. The lead pair Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sensharma act with such spontaneity and ease that you would think they are playing themselves. Rishi Kapoor shines as a veteran producer who’s made a few stars, still wants to makes friends, but is well aware of the harsh realities. Dimple Kapadia, looking wonderful as always, plays a has-been star helping her daughter get a foothold in the industry. Watch her closely because she gives many a brilliant moments. Sanjay Kapoor plays a failed-actor-turned-director with so much conviction that you do not mind his filmmaking eccentricities, plagiarizing a foreign film, and average skills. You are happy for him when the film gets a nice audience response and he breaks into a dance in a local theatre. Hrithik Roshan plays a superstar uncertain of the industry associations and ways. He’s done this well and convincingly, shining bright in the cameo. Arjun Mathur plays Farhan’s friend who like friends in real lives has issues with him. The guy is very talented, and the underplay works for him.

Understandably, since the film is real take, there are several clichés of life and a movie script. Like the Farhan’s issue with his friend, the sleazy producer, Aly Khan, the not-so-bright star kid, Isha Sharvani. and several others. However, the stand out factor of the movie is that it avoids all the clichés of filmmaking. Farhan and Konkana don’t sing a song or extensively date before we are made to understand that they are now together. Farhan’s fight with his friend ends with a handshake, but all is not well between the two till the end. But they’re together, drink a beer, just like friends do in real life. Farhan’s cozy moments with Isha are never explicitly shown. Aly Khan as a producer abusing Konkana’s ambitions was never shown in an unconvincing manner or by throwing sleazy lines. The gay film journalist, Tanvir, was not shown as a stereotype prop.

I really appreciate that the director has left things for the audience to understand and not be overtly aggressive about it, much unlike Saurabh Shukla talks about in the opening of the movie. It’s not how regular Hindi films are, and that is the reason Luck by Chance is fresh, insightful, and a pleasure to watch… several times over.

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