: Stills: Luck By Chance
Mid-way through the title sequence of Zoya Akhtar's Luck By Chance
, we see an actress dressed as an angel, in a long flowing white gown and oversized wings, walk into a toilet. That single image perfectly captures Bollywood, a space of extremes where art and commerce, the sublime and the ridiculous, 70 mm fantasies and harsh realities, head-turning fame and soul-shriveling anonymity thrust and thrive against each other.
In Luck by Chance
, Zoya, a first time director but a second generation industry insider, takes us on a beguiling journey into this world.
We take the journey with two strugglers, Sona, played by Konkona Sen Sharma and Vikram, played by Farhan Akhtar, who come to Mumbai to become actors. They have no connections into the industry and their careers take different turns.
Vikram, more suave at playing the game, lands the lead role in a major film but Sona finds it harder to break beyond B-grade films and sister roles. The world they so desperately desire dooms their relationship.
Zoya, who also wrote the film, tells their story with insight and wit. Some of the characters they encounter are priceless: My favourites were Saurabh Shukla as Nand Kishore who runs the Nand Kishore school of acting, where the chief guest is MacMohan; Rishi Kapoor as producer Rommy Rolly, an old school Punjabi filmmaker who wears especially prescribed rings for better box office; and Dimple Kapadia as Neena, an erstwhile superstar described as "a crocodile in a chiffon sari" who is now overseeing the launch of her frisky 18 year-old daughter.
Of course Zoya pokes fun at Bollywood but she does it with a great affection. There are some lovely little moments like the star daughter in a super short skin-tight outfit struggling to touch her producer's feet without splitting a seam. But what makes Luck By Chance
compelling, is the layers beneath the laughs.
Showbiz is a clinically cruel place. This is a world where fortunes change every Friday and as a dance director tells Sona, once you are successful, you belong to no one. This is a world in which privately, even a successful producer like Rolly weeps because a superstar whom he created, won't return his calls.
Luck By Chance
interweaves these many threads so that you laugh but you don't forget that inevitably success here is a Faustian bargain. You pay for it with your soul.
There are parts of Luck By Chance
that may not translate to outsiders and in long stretches, the film gets slow and clunky.
The first half wobbles precariously as the script struggles to find a momentum. But thankfully the narrative flows better in the latter half and culminates in a satisfying, bittersweet end. Luck by Chance
is a perceptive portrait of our dream factory. I recommend that you make time for it.