Bollywood or “Hindi Film Industry” as stressed by the Neena Walia played by Dimple Kapadia in the movie is the Promised Land to many cinema aspirants where destinies are defined and defied at the box office every Friday. The glitz and glamour reckons young and old alike and never lets them go once drawn into its web. Movies about Bollywood such as Guddi, Rangeela and Om Shanti Om are not uncommon and have been made from time to time. Zoya Akthar, the debutant director fabulously weaves the story through layers of emotions developing her lead characters gradually as she also takes us behind the camera entertaining us with scenes such as an actress in her angel gown complete with wings walking into a toilet, it is priceless. Zoya, the daughter of the talented Javed Akthar handles the subject at hand with a well balanced mix of humor and sensitivity.
Luck By Chance is a tale of the film industry that walks us through the lives of two struggling actors Sona (Konkana Sen Sharma), a simple and trusting actress and Vikram (Farhan Akthar), a charismatic go-getter who believes in himself. Sona and Vikram have no godfathers in the industry and so have to work hard to get that one big break that transports them to celebrity status overnight. They are introduced through a common friend and develop a friendship that blooms into love through their tears and heartbreaks as they try to find footage into the world of cinema. Zoya establishes the nature of her characters with sequences that are very real and believable. For example, the scene where Sona and Vikram go shopping, Sona who needs a refrigerator refuses to fill a contest form that promises a fridge for a winning quote asking Vikram what makes him think he would win the contest to which Vikram answers that all he knows is that if he does not fill the form, there is no way he will in fact win defining Vikram’s nature with Javed Akthar’s script that supports the story with finesse all through the movie.
Being smart and smooth comes naturally to Vikram as he charms Neena (Dimple Kapadia), a yesteryear superstar at a party who is currently busy launching her only daughter Niki (Isha Sharwani). He tells her exactly what a she wants to hear, that she still has what it takes adding cleverly that his parents got together since they were huge fans of hers and so in a way he was in this world because of her. Luck, by chance smiles upon Vikram when the superstar Zaffar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) decides to opt out of famous Producer and his Godfather Rommy Rolly’s(Rishi Kapoor) film to be part of a Karan Johar production and Neena has the power to decide the lead role for the movie opposite her daughter and she chooses Vikram.
Being the main lead changes Vikram’s priorities and ironically the industry that drew Sona and him close together tears them apart. Niki sneaks into Vikram’s room when her mother is not watching and the news spreads like wild fire. A friend of Sona who works for a tabloid paints Vikram as self serving manipulator who used Sona and ditched her for greener pastures in his article paradoxically using his knowledge of his “friend” Sona against her.
Zoya has so many characters whose lives have been intertwined by the industry ranging from make up artists, to actors, directors, financiers, producers and the news hungry tabloids both new and the old, the underdogs and the popular affected by fame and fortune and always afraid of failure. No one has it easy, Zoya tells you in her story and you believe it when you find yourself empathizing with even with the famous Producer like Rommy Rolly as he is reduced to tears because his protégé walks out on his movie while admitting he is like a father figure to him as much as you do with Sona the struggling actress who deals with failure over and over again. Yes, this director can tell her story really well and has proven that she is a force to reckon with. Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is average. However Carlos Catalan's cinematography does complete justice to Zoya’s story.
Post Rock On, Farhan Akthar, Zoya’s brother has his own fan following and he does not disappoint this time around either. He is natural and brings Vikram to life with spunk and dedication the character demands. Konkana as Sona compliments Farhan perfectly and it is treat to watch them embark upon their journey of success and failure. Rishi Kapoor as the Producer is adorable and Juhi Chawla as Minty Rolly, the wife the Producer does her part of selecting the lucky gems and performing appropriate poojas with diligence and sincerity. Sanjay Kapoor as Ranjit Rolly does well too. Dimple as Neena Walia looking as gorgeous as ever, performs perfectly masking her ugly side with grace and sophistication. Isha Sharvani as Nikki Walia steps into her role with ease. Hrithik Roshan as Zaffar Khan too emotes to the T as he drops out of his godfather’s movie explaining that Zaffar Khan is an image to which he has to cater and needs to do the right thing for the image and also when Karan Johar explains to him that the only way new comers get a chance to squeeze into the industry is when a huge star like Zaffar Khan opts out at the last moment.
Zoya Akthar will always be the daughter of Javed Akthar, but with this movie she clearly establishes her new identity as a director and a brilliant one at that. Zoya who also wrote the story herself waited for a long time before her story transpired to celluloid drama. There are moments in the movie where you feel like Zoya is taking potshots at the industry she is so much a part of, but then she does that abundant warmth and delivers this baby with tender loving care and it shows in every single shot. So take this journey of Bollywood with its characters as they make you laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time), it is worth it.