Saturday, February 14, 2009

Notes on Luck by Chance (and Bollywood’s crumbling fourth wall)

[A shorter version of this appears in the Sunday Business Standard]

Meta-films – or movies that self-consciously comment on the movie-making process, thus breaking the fourth wall between the film and its audience – date back at least to 1924’s Sherlock Jr, with Buster Keaton as a theatre projectionist who walks right into a film screen and becomes part of the plot. In the decades since, the genre has included abstract movies (such as Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, about a screenwriter reluctantly bending to the demands of commerce and endangering his marriage in the process) as well as relatively straight narratives about the industry and its denizens (e.g., Billy Wilder’s superbly written and acted Sunset Boulevard, about a once-famous star living with her memories, Miss Havisham-like, in a decrepit mansion).

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, mainstream Hindi cinema has seen a lot of indulgent self-referencing and in-joking in recent times: rival actors make “friendly appearances” in each other’s films, movies are titled after songs from earlier films, you get the impression that everyone is part of one big happy family that squabbles and makes up with equal aplomb. This reached its high watermark in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om, which spoofed the phenomenon while simultaneously participating in it (and parts of which were impossible to understand without reference to Shah Rukh Khan’s career), and in the more recent Rab ne Bana Di Jodi, with its refrain made up of movie titles: “Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, Phir Milenge, Chalte Chalte”.

While this sort of back-patting and nudge-winking can be very enjoyable (especially if you’ve grown up with Bollywood and have a basic affection for it), I never expected that a mainstream film loaded with big-name cameos would attempt to thoughtfully engage with the workings of the industry. So I was pleasantly surprised by Zoya Akhtar’s Luck by Chance, a solidly performed and directed film that uses the intersecting fortunes of two wannabe actors, Sona (Konkana Sensharma) and Vikram (Farhan Akhtar), to examine what it takes to survive in this big bad world if you aren’t to the filmi-khandaan born. (Luck? Talent? A combination of both? In what proportion?)

The cast list includes celebrities in tiny appearances as themselves (Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar, Kareena Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, many others) as well as actors like Hrithik Roshan and Dimple Kapadia in fleshed-out parts, playing...not quite themselves, but people who can, in a certain light, be seen as variations on themselves. (This means that there’s always the danger of reading too much between the lines: in one scene, when Dimple’s character Neena Walia – a still-beautiful former star – seethed about entering the industry at age 16 without any family backing and having to do unsavoury things for producers, I overheard someone in the hall confidently saying, “Yes, that’s her true story – Raj Kapoor exploited her badly.”) There are also hilarious short roles for, among others, Anurag Kashyap, cleverly cast as a writer trying to exceed his brief by incorporating arty “film-festival” bits into a script rather than quietly acquiescing to a commercial-minded producer. All this creates an assortment of scenes where you’re aware that the line between fiction and reality is being blurred, only you’re never quite sure to what extent, and that’s part of the fun. (At times I was reminded of how Silsila – a meta-film of another kind, which played on public perceptions of the Amitabh-Jaya-Rekha relationship - made audiences feel uncomfortable by confronting them directly with their appetite for gossip.)

Luck by Chance could very easily have played it safe. Given the line-up of stars she had at her disposal, how tempting it might have been for Akhtar (and how much more audience-friendly it might have made her film, if the success of Om Shanti Om is anything to go by) to turn this into a hug-fest – a threadbare plot embellished with celebs waving at the viewer, assuring us that all is well in their world. Like the awards-ceremony scene and the “Deewangi” song sequence in OSO. But the best scenes in Luck by Chance – and many of the performances, notably those by Isha Sharvani (as Neena Walia’s bored daughter Nikki, in the grooming to be a starlet), Rishi Kapoor (as a producer named Romy Rolly), Kapadia and Roshan – have an edge to them, a disturbingly off-kilter quality.

A small example of the ambiguities that are set up by this film, and its complex use of self-referencing: when Sona is bluntly told by her producer that she will always be relegated to side roles, that no big hero would want to work opposite her, it’s a commentary on the industry’s attitude to someone who defies the Bollywood standard for what a heroine should look like (as the real-life Konkana Sensharma does), even if she happens to be one of the best actors in the country (as Sensharma is). But what adds irony to this scene is the viewer’s knowledge that Sensharma – Aparna Sen’s daughter – comes from a filmi background in real life, and that this undoubtedly made it easier for her to get that initial footing than it would be for the luckless Sona (and even then, she's basically seen as a non-mainstream actress, though that's mostly by choice).

At any rate, Madhur Bhandarkar no longer need worry about making a movie titled “Film Industry”. It’s been done now, and done with more nuance than he would have managed. Bhandarkar’s “topical” films (at least the ones I’ve seen – Page 3 and Corporate) set up their high-pulpit moralising by drawing a clear line between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys, who may as well belong to two different species – so you rarely get a sense of the slow, almost subliminal process by which well-meaning and idealistic people can get corrupted; how you can get subsumed into a system without even realising it. Also, the protagonists in his films – the people who provide
an entry point for the viewer – are innocents abroad (the Konkana character in Page 3, the Bipasha character in Corporate) who manage against the odds to retain their integrity, whereas the two leads in Luck by Chance are people who gradually learn about making concessions. Akhtar’s film has a better understanding of the subtly escalating nature of compromise in a world where only the fittest survive. There are few safety nets here and this is a more interesting landscape of people: just when you think you’ve got a “fix” on a character’s greed or hypocrisy, he does something that allows you to see the shades (e.g., Rolly introspecting about the humiliation he puts himself through when he kowtows before the star-sons whom he saw in short pants when they were growing up).

This is not to say Luck by Chance is an unqualified masterpiece – I thought it had many high points and a few low points (such as the scenes depicting the shooting of the movie that Vikram lands the lead role in, and his off-screen romance with Nikki), but the highs are so bloody good that it almost doesn’t matter. Some other things I liked:

– Kapadia’s character Neena is described as “a crocodile in a chiffon sari” at one point, but watching her lord it over her starlet-daughter Nikki, I was reminded more of a large black spider wrapping its victim in a beautiful silk shroud before sucking out its life-juices. (I chuckled at the scene where Neena interrupts her daughter playing Little Miss Muffet alongside a giant spider prop for a photo shoot, and thwacks the unfortunate arachnid away with her hand.) Also enjoyed her foul-mouthed outburst after reading a magazine article about an affair between Vikram and her daughter.

– The lovely little vignette with Zafar Khan (Hrithik Roshan) sitting inside his car, making faces at urchins who are pressed against the window; the pan shot that takes us into the car, removing the children from the frame and leaving us with a Zafar grimacing at his own reflection. (“I think of Zafar Khan as someone other than myself – a persona that I’m responsible for safeguarding,” he says, echoing words that Shah Rukh Khan has apparently used in real-life interviews.) He’s a boy-in-a-bubble here, much like Nikki Walia in her sterilely pretty pink room.

- Some of the fleeting appearances are very effective. I never thought I would apply the word “sinister” to anything involving Karan Johar, but the set-up and composition of the party scene where he appears is just that. Here, Johar looks something like a Dracula figure at a gathering especially held for creatures of the night – very different from the politely effete, eloquent host we know from that well-lit TV talk-show. The scene towards the end where Vikram – on the road to stardom – meets Shah Rukh Khan has a similar effect: on the surface there’s nothing menacing about it (an informal pub setting, SRK in jeans and a loose shirt casually inviting the newcomer over to his table for a chat and some tips, mostly in the form of platitudes about staying grounded) but I felt a brief chill when SRK rolled his eyes and hissed “It’s insane” in response to Vikram wondering what a superstar’s life must be like; for a few seconds, it reminded me of Laurence Olivier’s Crassus, drunk on power, giving political instruction to the youthful Julius Caesar in Spartacus.

Incidentally Shah Rukh tells Vikram never to lose sight of the people who knew him when he was a struggler – “they are the only ones who will always be honest with you”. Now I hear that SRK’s latest film Billu (also known as Billu Barber or Billu Chief Hair Executive Officer, if you prefer) casts him as a superstar who renews acquaintance with a small-town barber who knew him before he was a star. Is this to be the next step in the evolution of the Bollywood meta-movie, I wonder: a film containing a mini-trailer for another film due to be released a few weeks later? And is it ever again going to be possible for Shah Rukh to play a role where the fourth wall is firmly in place?


  1. Spoiler warning

    The thing I liked most about LBC was the ending. Up to that point, the movie was enjoyable, but quite predictable. The fact that it didn't end with the long-suffering girlfriend seeing that he has changed, and forgiving him, took me completely by surprise. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the director was a woman.

  2. Seems like I ought to watch this movie. Did you get a chance to watch Slumdog Millionaire or DevD ? Everyone seems to be raving on and on about DevD (everything from being the cinematic equivalent of "English August" to being our own version of "The Wall" given its psychedelic sound track).

    I think I will have to wait quite some time for the DVD of DevD before getting around to watching, am not so sure it will still be around in theaters till the next weekend.

  3. excellent stuff jai . Loved it . i have seen LBC twice but never thought of it as a meta film . nice perspective . so tell me do u put Pyasaa and Cinema Paradiso in same category . i know cinema paradiso is more of a following your inner voice type of movie still i wonder if there is some overlap .what do you say ?

  4. Once again, we share a brain, Jai! Loved all the same bits.

    And is it ever again going to be possible for Shah Rukh to play a role where the fourth wall is firmly in place?

    A very good point.

  5. My favourite films that deal with show business - Singin in the Rain that satirizes silent films and Stage Door a breathless comedy about Broadway. Never thought of Sunset Boulevard as a meta film. To me it was a film noir more than anything else.

    I find Bollywood scripts like LBC too ponderous and bereft of humour that one finds in say a Stage Door or a Singin' in the Rain.

  6. Shrikanth: I don't see Sunset Blvd primarily as a meta-film either, but what gives it that quality is the casting of Swanson and Von Stroheim (who did their best work in the silent era, including a great film together), DeMille and Hedda Hopper playing "themselves", and the other cameos. But then, you can't assume that every viewer will come to the film armed with this background knowledge. Sunset Boulevard is certainly a good enough film on its own terms - it can be appreciated by a viewer who doesn't know anything about the career trajectories of Swanson and von Streiheim. In that sense, being a meta-film isn't central to its impact. I don't think the same can be said about Luck by Chance, by the way.

    Prashant: Did you mean Pyaasa or Kaagaz ke Phool? Either way, I'm not too sure. It isn't the case that any film which deals with the moviemaking process (or with people who love watching movies) is a meta-film. There has to be some self-referencing. In the case of Kaagaz ke Phool, maybe, since it's widely believed that it's a semi-autobiographical film that referred to the real lives of Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman.

    Nightwatchmen: haven't seen Dev D yet, probably will in the coming week. Slumdog Millionaire I was completely underwhelmed by - such an insubstantial cotton-puff of a film, with so many awkwardly done scenes (the game-show ones, for example) and mediocre acting by most of the adults. Danny Boyle has done much better work.

  7. I really liked the movie as well - mostly for the reasons you noted in your post. This movie has one more attribute that sets it apart from most others that Bollywood churns out - the director is not blatantly selling you her perspective on life. The characters are who they are and the script refrains from showing them as all round poster boys or villains. Isha Sharvani was a revelation after her last outing - the godawful Kisna. Given the movie, I was wryly amused that it took a brother-sister duo with entrenched roots in Bollywood to make such a movie!!

  8. @pranav : AFAIK Zoya and Farhan are husband Wife .

  9. The characters are who they are and the script refrains from showing them as all round poster boys or villains.

    Pranav: yes, I thought that set it apart from the Bhandarkar films.

    Prashant: Zoya and Farhan Akhtar are siblings.

  10. Jai, I watched this movie some three weeks ago and needless to say I agree with most of your notes on the self referential script and the balanced (and more unapologetic) characters. But what has stayed with me the most (I found myself thinking about it on the train after work yesterday as well) is the central titular theme of luck. The thing that I want to hold on to is how similar morally nuanced protagonists land up in different placed all due to varying levels of plain luck. And how Atleast one of them gets to reconcile with that fact and grows up because of it.
    It probably holds a lot more relevance given the nature of our times. I see many of us with dreams and best laid plans but extraneaous events such as the financial crisis throwing a spanner in the works. Only a few when helped by some luck happen to be at the right place at the right time.
    In any event what also got me thinking about this is another recommendation by you. Ammi by saeed mirza. I finally got a hold of it and am enjoying it. There are references to the script of waqt where luck and destiny play significant roles.

  11. Sumit: yes, "plain luck" is a supremely important factor in all our lives, and many people I know are uncomfortable acknowledging this (perhaps because it doesn't fit too well with the human need to look for narratives and patterns in everything - and with that heart-warming idea about the "human spirit" transcending everything). Don't know how relevant this is, but take a look at this old post.

  12. Oh I lovvvvvvvvved the abuse scene the MOST in the movie- Dimple here was awesome,shouting at the hapless editor. She (DImple) was fabulous, mouthing such insults.
    Again, I loved loved loved it.

    Yes, of course, the movie was good. not a happy happy ending, which was interesting. And a really interesting take on SELFISHNESS!!!

  13. Enjoyed reading this.

  14. Speaking of self-references, I thought the Ranjit Rolly character (played by Sanjay Kapoor) was pretty interesting too.

  15. Great post. Though I have lost interest in bollywood now.

    Great blog. Keep up the good work!

  16. @Jai: Regarding your views on Slumdog Millionaire, penning down my thoughts on it also I used the same word, underwhelming!!

    And about acting performances I agree with you as well except maybe about Anil Kapoor who I thought did a decent job. And apart from the first scene of the cops chasing the kids the rest of the movie was very very mediocre. You say Danny Boyle has done better ? Care to recommend any, have not seen any of his other movies...

    By the way I got into this passionate debate with a friend of mine on him arguing that one has to look at the movie through the eyes of an American Citizen to understand why the whole world is going gaga over it and might help one to appreciate the movie better as well.

    P.S : Have you watched Passion of Anna ? Would that fall under the meta-film category, there are interviews of all the characters in the middle of the movie with their take on the characters they are portraying. Just curious though, I don't think a movie being a meta-film has anything to do with my (dis)liking it.

  17. Did you miss any reference to Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Guddi by choice? That seventies flick was an eye-opener to a teen girl obsessed with Bollywood as real. Utpal Dutt ruled the show. Loved Luck by Chance as much as reading this post (the sagely advice to Madhur was perfect; he is becoming unbearable). and I also loved Juhi's role too, as the jovial, Punjabi wife of a fat, unhealthy, emotional and shrewd businessman (so flawlessly played by Rishi Kapoor). ANd Zoya made even Hrithik act.

  18. Hi Jai,
    As usual briliantly analyzed. I especially liked the other movie references that you have stated.

    I was amazed by the deftness with which Zoya has designed and executed her emotional scenes. She seems at ease when handling 'real' emotions and does not play in to the trap of the typically cinematic emotional moments. You know what I mean? Eg: The outburst of Farhan and his friend after a couple of swigs of old monk at their bachelor pad. The way a seething Farhan bursts out and then almost cries. Good I say!:)

  19. Excellent review of a film that promises to be an equally engaging affair

  20. By the way I got into this passionate debate with a friend of mine on him arguing that one has to look at the movie through the eyes of an American Citizen to understand why the whole world is going gaga over it and might help one to appreciate the movie better as well.

    Nightwatchmen: I'd be interested in knowing more about this debate. It touches on something I think a lot about - i.e., the completely different perceptions brought to a work by two viewers, of whom one viewer is intimately familiar with the milieu being depicted and the other viewer is not. I experience this sort of thing on another level when (as a non-Bengali) I discuss Ray or Ghatak's films with Bengali friends who have grown up with them. Think there's scope for a long and interesting discussion here - though not necessarily one that will yield definite conclusions or tell us what the "right" approach should be.

    But I don't see how it's possible for an Indian viewer to magically get into the head of the average American viewer and "see" what Slumdog looks like from that perspective. The best we can do is speculate.

    Hill Goat: Guddi, yes, though I saw it a very long time ago and don't remember details.

  21. Nightwatchmen: Passion of Anna - definitely a meta-film. Little chance of a viewer being allowed to sit back and even temporarily forget that this is a movie that was put together by a director with the help of paid actors!

  22. Hi arjun,
    Spot on review but i guess you missed certain points. The way luck/chance plays a major role in an industry as capricious as bollywood has been depicted quite poetically.

    Konkona unwittingly becoming the cause of Farhan's stardom (photographs, encouragement and support...) but is still left without any trace of recognition or acknowledgment. And also on a unrelated note, i felt that the farhan-isha romance was a inevitable consequence - she being the starry-eyed. and may i say bored starlet and Farhan being the opportunistic person who pretty much laps up everything favorable.

    And the movie was also touching on many other aspects, konkana's belief that her work, however insignificant it may seem in the greater scheme of things matters more to her than lowly pandering as farhan's trophy wife.

    Finally, i doubt that Mr. Bhandarkar will ever understand the spirit, let alone make such a beautiful film :)

  23. I'm glad someone else also found the 'sinister' undercurrent to the Karan Johar & SRK cameos. As for the rest of Luck By Chance, while I was entertained by it throughout, I can't say it's a good movie.

    The comedy was good, but the drama almost consistently fell flat for me. I never quite saw why I was supposed to find Farhan's character repulsive, and why Konkona's deluded loser was suddenly the main character after 2 hours of not being there and not doing much. Also, I found the dramatic dialogue to be as corny as the comedic ones, but somehow we were supposed to take them seriously.

    On the strength of its many performances it will find a place in my DVD drawer, and I'll remember many of the scenes, including the ones you mentioned.

    They just don't add up to a good movie.

  24. My Dear Jabby,
    you really really MUST watch Dev D. It definitely gets my label for best of 2009. Blew my mind away.

    BTW, don't take any kids or prudes to the movie...or anyone who was a fan of the previous Devdases....

  25. This is the best review you have ever written and trust me I have been reading your blog almost from the time you started.

    You are becoming the intellectual's intellectual. Heh.

  26. Nice analysis about the movie Jai. Although to be quite frank it was not my kind of movie anyway ,I like your classification of LBC as a Meta film and to be quite fair never expected that the movie would be worth watching.

    The movie is worth a watch , I liked the movie but it also left me cold over some issues. Why were Akhtar and Sharvani being directed in a movie that no longer gets made in bollywood ? The whole look of the movie they were supposed to be acting in was from the eighties. Scenes like the Hero and the Heroine rolling down a hill are certainly not a part of today's movies. Farhan Akhtar needs to get his acting right , I know many people would disagree but his dialogue delivery is of a man with a bad case of Phlegmatic Bronchitis. The scene with Konkana where he screams at her about not letting him go on in life made me cringe. These flaws apart the movie undoubtedly was well made and certainly a relief from the idiotic , supposedly dark and realistic Madhur Bhandarkar films.

    I liked your refreshing take on Bhandarkar , the man is overrated to the extreme and keeps on piling you with real or imaginary ills about a certain entity, the process of filmmaking be Damned. Don't be surprised if he now comes up with titles like 'Government', 'College' , 'Cricket' armed with a frying pan intent on beating you on the head and saying the so called organisation is Bad ,worse and horrible.

  27. Thanks for the review Jai. Saw it last night and really enjoyed the film. One of things that was nice was the reference to the industry as the Hindi film industry rather than Bollywood. The Saurabh Shukla character calls it as the Hindi film industry in his class and the Dimple Kapadia character goes on a rant when someone calls it Bollywood. Calling it Bollywood demeans an industry that has been around since the 1920s and implies that all that is done in India is derivative.


  28. Hi Jai,
    Nice blog, very funny at times. Just wanted to say that 'Billu' sounds like a remake of a malayalam movie 'Kadhapararaumbol', a very successful movie in kerala.

  29. Krishnan: well, Amitabh Bachchan and others have been protesting the word "Bollywood" for decades - it's an old complaint. Personally I think the Kapadia rant in Luck by Chance was meant to be slightly ironical - especially after that scene where the Rolly character tells his highbrow writer to lift a foreign film scene by scene from a DVD.

    Phoenix: have seen Dev D. Loved the first half but it kind of lost me in the second.

    Mini: yes, Billu is an acknowledged remake (as opposed to the other kind!).

  30. I never quite saw why I was supposed to find Farhan's character repulsive, and why Konkona's deluded loser was suddenly the main character after 2 hours of not being there and not doing much.

    allVishal: I'm not sure about either of those assumptions. As Pranav says in an earlier comment, the characters are who they are - I don't think the film is particularly judgemental about Farhan's character. (I certainly never got the sense that we were meant to find him repulsive.) Nor did Sona magically become the main character, even if the film ended with her - I think more than anything Vikram and Sona represent two possibilities.

    Rp: yes, I liked the way Sona becomes an agent for Vikram's success at precisely a point where she has her own dreams shattered.

  31. hey i really loved this post! u've put in words so beautifully what i was thinking and feeling about the movie, and i completely agree with your take on it! i'd buy business standard just to read your movie reviews! :)

  32. Madhur bhandarkar will make Cricket!

  33. Wonderful post, Jai, and now I want to see this movie (and I never watch Bollywood movies unless at gunpoint!). Is the movie in Hindi or English or a mix of both?

  34. Each vignette was so cleverly crafted. The opening credits were a work of art in themselves, as was this polished, nuanced, finely crafted film. We watched it with our teenager who couldn't quite engage with it, sadly.
    Somewhere, each viewing of a film is such a subjective experience. And yet we still do need reviews:)

  35. I agree that its a meta-film but not sure if it brought down the fourth wall. The movie never referred to or showed in anyway presence of the audience.

    In a way you conclude in the very first line, that its a meta film and hence broke the fourth wall.

  36. Isnt it any irony though that all those of significance connected with the film (not just Sen Sharma)are from a 'filmi' background.

  37. all said and done, i do think we should give her credit, this being her first attempt. atleast the number of entries in the category of 'non-inane' movies is growing...mebe she'll get better ...given a chance..!

  38. I havent watched that movie yet, but i think i will go for it. nice analysis

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  39. Nice one Jai! With this post you have officially joined the ranks of great filmy writers like Nikhat Kazmi and Khalid Mohammed.

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever acted or worked in a film or written a screenplay in your life? I am really curious to know this.

    Forgetting all the points in this post (because they are as trivial as a Kazmi/Mohammed/Verma article), I do like the point you raised about Shah Rukh Khan though. And absolutely agree with your point about Madhur's 'method' (that is if it does exist) of filmmaking. There is however something more about Bhandarkar and his way of approaching that I was going to discuss with you but unfortunately I read something you wrote in one of your comments about a recent film and a good director and was wondering whether I should continue the thread. I decided against it for whenever I come here, I read about movies and not films. :)

  40. this Akhtar family has got real talent and yet are so humble in their media appearance( no controversies...........all their films are too good be it DCH, LAKSHYA, LUCKBYCHANCE...........kudos to AKHTARS

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  42. JCVD arrived in my mail last night. Speaking of breaking down the fourth wall and/or meta-film this is a definite dekko. Could be in Being John Malkovich ilk.

  43. Is the fourth wall broken by the actors or the audience? Seems to me that it's almost always the actors who take the initiative, so I'm wondering whether the example of 'Sherlock Jr.' would qualify where it's someone from the audience who breaks it.

    One of the best examples of breaking the fourth wall is in Greenaway's 'The Baby of Mâcon.'

  44. kaffir: The Baby of Macon is a different beast, I think, and possibly a more complex one. I don't remember the film too well (apart from the sex scene between Ormond and Fiennes, the subsequent High Drama with everyone on stage and that shrill child-voice) but I don't think it was drawing attention to the movie-making process as such; more like a play-within-a-film or something.

    Is the fourth wall broken by the actors or the audience? Seems to me that it's almost always the actors who take the initiative...

    I was confused by this question, but then I realised you're defining the "audience" as Buster Keaton's projectionist character who walks into the screen. But he is, after all, an actor playing a character in the film that we (the real audience) are watching - and he's doing something that makes us acutely conscious of the movie-making process.

  45. I liked this post.I liked the movie. The beginning credits were shot bootifully giving some idea of what was to follow as well. Great script, acting and thank God not the usual ending!

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  47. It is certainly interesting for me to read the article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

  48. I really like reading your post and I have watch this movie. Thanks for the post.

  49. Its great to find such an actor, director and story writer in India's bollywood Industry. So far as Luck by chance is concerned I must also appreciate Konkana to give the best of her talents. She has always played such roles effectively and honestly.

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  50. I don't see Hindi movies religiously, but watched this film recently based on strong recommendations from friends. I liked everything but the lead actor who had little going for him in the looks, voice, physique, or performance departments. It was the performances of all his costars (KonKon Sen and Dimple were great!) that carried this film.