‘Luck By Chance’ sums itself up in the beginning itself, where at the Namit Kapoor (An ode to the famous Kishore Namit School) film school’s batch graduation ceremony, as the chief guest, the late actor Macmohan is requested to utter his one and only dialogue in Sholay. He takes a deep sigh and perhaps living his whole life in one flashback, he utters…
“Poore Pachas Hazar!”
One can only imagine what an actor has to go through to put his craft in front of the greater audience and its sheer irony that his entire career was shadowed by this dialogue of an epic movie. ‘Luck By Chance’ narrates the life cycle of Hindi film industry in a runtime of fewer than 3 hours. It speaks about the ego clashes, the pain, the pangs of jealousy and the fall from grace of stars and actors. It tells us about the dreams that people see to be in the stars. It speaks about those dreams that sometimes die a death that nobody knows. ‘Luck By Chance’ is one of those gems that never got its due credit.
The movie starts with a Guru Dutt-esque shot of Aamir Khan and soon moves into the familiar scenes of the Hindi film industry where a yesteryear’s star wants to launch her daughter under a famous banner with a bankable lead actor. As it always happens, the lead actor pulls out from the film for a bigger production house, putting the film in jeopardy. On a different arch, a newcomer moves into this industry with dreams in his eyes. Like a perfectly set chess board, he shrewdly moves ahead in his life by using different people and soon lands up in the same film. Resonating perfectly with the name, it’s the luck factor which shines upon the individuals, by chance.
The movie swarms with anecdotes about the Hindi film industry with some very interesting cameos by real actors. There is one segment where every star refuses to join the lead actor’s role left out by Hrithik Roshan’s character, with Akshay Khanna being the cherry on the cake for his expressions only. The movie painstakingly arches out each character’s issues and pains. Be it a producer’s dilemma with the vacancy of his lead actor or the yesteryear’s stars’ ascension to stardom via casting couch, everything is spot on and raises question behind this razzmatazz and glittery world. It also highlights the fact that not everyone has been cut out to be a star. Konkana’s character graph goes through a full 360-degree change when she realises this fact. In a subtle take about the inner thoughts of a film star, a scene plays out where a snobbish superstar, berating about the whimsies of his director, sees a group of street urchins at a traffic signal. In a moment of bliss, he forgets his problems and indulges in tomfoolery with the kids. It’s a fantastic scene.
Behind the making of a star, there may have been a lot of sacrifices and relentless hard work, but there also lies a betrayal here and there. One cannot ignore the parallels between the protagonist of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Nayak’ and Farhan Akhtar’s character here. In a way, Vikram Jaisingh is almost like a precursor of what Arindam Mukherjee was before he ascended to stardom. No comparisons between the films, just an observation on what could’ve been the inspiration behind Farhan’s character. The best bit? When Vikram wants Sona to come back into his life, she makes it clear that it’s his selfishness that wants her back into his life and not his love. And then, like a spiteful cobra hissing back, although very lovingly, she tells him –
“Tumhari Koi Galti Nahin Hai… Par Kuch Log Hote Hi Aise Hain !!!
Truly, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
The movie boasts of some amazing dialogues. Sample this conversation when a corporate honcho tells the Bollywood producer Romi Roli (a fantastic Rishi Kapoor), that in Hollywood, scripts are often referred to as ‘Property’, the producer smirks and retorts –
“Kya baat hai…Yahan to property ko hi property kehte hain !!!”
And this quip shared by an acting teacher (A cameo by Saurabh Shukla), to his students about the difficulties of being a Hindi Film hero and in the same sentence, he ends up doing gender discrimination that’s so rampant in the industry –
“Hindi film main hero ko action karna padta hai, dance karna padta hai, gaana padta hai… Bahut kuch karna padta hai hero banne ke liye..”
“Aur sir, heroine banne ke liye ??”
“Haan.. Use bhi karna padta hai…”
Even the film highlights the so-called attitude about commercial filmmakers towards art films. When a writer (a delicious cameo by Anurag Kashyap) suggests a change in scene, by including a suicide scene by the protagonist, the producer roars back –
‘Aye Institute !! Main Yeh Film Festival Ke Liye Nahi Bana Raha Hoon…’
Watch Luck By Chance if you haven’t. It’s a gem that needs to be seen. The director Zoya Akhtar made a smashing debut and it speaks volumes about her talent. Or as Rishi Kapoor’s character describes in his own words…
“Volcano of Talent !!!”