Luck By Chance: An insider’s look at Bollywood

January 31, 2009

My favourite scenes in Zoya Akhtar’s “Luck By Chance” are when Rishi Kapoor is on screen as the over the top, aging Bollywood producer Romy Rolly.

And that’s not just because he is brilliant in the part — he is. But the scenes capture perfectly the subtle performances and nuanced characters this film is bursting with.

“Luck By Chance” is the story of Sona and Vikram, both struggling actors who are looking for a break in the big, bad world of Bollywood. Through their story, Akhtar depicts the confounding, ugly and yet oh-so-attractive world of our film industry.

The director tells the story light-heartedly but don’t expect direct humour. There are a lot of subtle references to real-life Bollywood characters, dialogues said in the passing and facial expressions, a refreshing change from the in- your-face slapstick humour we are subjected to most of the time.

The film follows both Sona (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Vikram (Farhan Akhtar) through their journey in Bollywood, one they undertake with the understanding that nothing here comes easy. So she sleeps with a producer who promises her a big break and he has no qualms about flirting with a yesteryear actress in the hope she will cast him in her daughter’s debut project.

A host of characters as well as some top Bollywood actors make an appearance in this journey. What is commendable is how Akhtar has astutely used even two-minute guest appearances. So you have Aamir displaying his “perfectionist” tendencies, Abhishek mentioning “Pa” and John Abraham talking about doing “experimental films.”

Also a part of this colourful ensemble are Juhi Chawla who plays the producer’s doting wife, Sanjay Kapoor, who ironically plays the failed actor brother of a big producer and Dimple Kapadia, the yesteryear siren who now grooms her daughter and is referred to as a “crocodile in a chiffon sari” by Romy Rolly in a fit of frustration. One of the highlights of the film is undoubtedly Hrithik Roshan, who plays the role of the insecure star with such skill and ease.

Also I really liked the way Akhtar ended the film, not just because it was different but because it made a point and rounded off the theme of the film very well.

A film like this, with its subplots and layers, is all about the writing but it is supplemented brilliantly by the performances. If you are a keen Bollywood watcher, be sure that this one will have you laughing and reflecting. Even if you are not, be sure of an entertaining watch


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I’ve been so excited to see this film and your review confirms that!

Posted by Amreen | Report as abusive

Very well written and sensible film. It is thought provoking and yet entertaining. Farhan and Konkona are naturals!

Posted by Sakshi | Report as abusive

this film is great.

Posted by sudhir | Report as abusive

I completely agree with you about the ending. So un-Bollywood and yet felt so right… and logical

Posted by Ramya | Report as abusive

Thanks for the write-up Shilpa. You have really summed up pretty well. I would just say that Farhan has turned out to be a great artist and perfectionist in whatever he does. In Romy Rolly’s words ‘Volcano of Talent’. I would want to compliment Farhan for being an effortless actor (not talking about other things he has done in past, that’s another blog in itself) one thing I like about his acting is that unlike his fellow Bollywood actors he tries and let his gestures and environment speak and define his character rather than actually narrating it himself. He would stick to simple words and less-complex but creative sentences.

Posted by Prabhmeet | Report as abusive

Really looking forward to watch this film after reading your article.

Posted by Hinna | Report as abusive

I don’t know why but I didn’t feel anything special in the movie. I got positive feedback from the girls only that is why I went to see the movie even i was excited about the movie but finally disappointed after that. I went with a group and even no one was happy with the movie. Actually we all were excited about the movie like Rock On ant it didn’t meet our expectation. I think so if you don’t have any work then you can go and pass your time but you will not get bore. Movie goes like a TV serial.

Posted by Shukla . | Report as abusive

first half is pathetic and second half is good

Posted by pramod | Report as abusive

I think the movie was very well. Hats off to Zoya for such an amazing direction. I think she succeeded in conveying her message to audience which I think is key. Also Effortless & Such Natural performances by Farhan & Konkana. They were so real that we all can relate to them. I think its definitely a ‘MUST WATCH’ . Also I have to say I loved Juhi Chawla in this movie..She was just brilliant.

Posted by Deepa | Report as abusive

For the nth time, it’s the ‘Hindi Film Industry’!

Posted by Pk | Report as abusive

boring movie…..was expecting somyhing better…..

Posted by abc | Report as abusive