The Hindi film industry got off to a lukewarm start in 2009 with the over-hyped ‘Chandni Chowk to
Luck by Chance, directed by Zoya Akhtar, with Farhan Akhtar playing the lead and Javed Akhtar wielding the pen for the dialogues and lyrics is money’s worth all the way. It wasn’t given a very wide publicity, the trailers were just ‘OK’ and the music seemed average. In spite of all this, the movie impresses for there are a number of things to be appreciated here.
When we start writing about movies, the risk is that there can be many views and many tastes. Some people want pure entertainment, some people want cinema as it should aspire to be, a mirror to the society and our way of life while some others want the right balance. Entertainment isn’t about “running around trees” alone and cinema to be commercially viable, shouldn’t demand an “intellectual” viewer. What ‘Luck by chance’ strives to achieve is the right balance.
It isn’t completely “realistic” and yet with its sincere writing and dialogues engages the viewer. Vikram (Farhan) and Sona (Konkona) are waiting for their big breaks in the land of thousand dreams – Bollywood. Their paths cross and they start liking each other, united by a common dream and nurturing mutual respect for each other’s talents. The nervous and insecure producer, the busy actor, the ever interesting crew of helpers and “manipulators”, the hints at casting couch, star parents and star daughters – one sees them all, the beauty is that they blend with the story in a rare unifying experience rather than being irritating side shows because they are the story itself and not costly embellishments.
Farhan, from the aspiring “nobody” progresses to become a charmingly “cute” fresh star, aided - as his teacher portends earlier - by luck’s generosity and his own hard work and skills of persuasive flattery. As he says, in one of the remarkable dialogues, sugar is indeed needed to sweeten up things. His object of praise is the star mother (Dimple Kapadia) of a “lucky” starlet. (Isha Sharwani)
The stereotypes are subtly shown. When the teacher says, heroines “too” need some skills to grow and when Sona in a display of understanding and disbelief, chides Vikram for failing to think about her own career – they stand out. Dialogues are the highlight with many of them carrying good impact.
The first half is the one when luck remains elusive. The last 5-10 minutes in the first half and towards the end of the movie prove beyond doubt how supremely talented an actor, Konkona is. She revels in the role. SRK, Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Diya Mirza and Kareena Kapoor play themselves and make fleeting appearances. Hrithik Roshan, Juhi Chawla and Rishi Kapoor have meaty parts and essay them with élan though Rishi and Juhi necessarily overplay as demanded. Isha Sharwani in playing the role of a girl, who can’t act, acts well.
The second half is clearly the better one when Vikram and Sona begin to doubt each other. Vikram doesn’t want to ruin his future when the heroine shows a keen interest in him. Sona is let down by the producer she trusts for too long and realizes her folly in the end.
The movie is a sincere attempt and deserves a hands-up. Only when such efforts are appreciated, can we look forward to see more noteworthy attempts. It deserves the 100 bucks I spent on it for the acting, direction and dialogues.