Revisiting Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance: A lovely, timeless lesson on Bollywood and life


Farhan Akhtar in a still from Zoya Akhtar’s debut movie Luck By Chance.

Gully Boy, Dil Dhadkne Do, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara and Luck By Chance. Filmmaker-writer Zoya Akhtar has made four full-length feature films till date, and I have seen all of them barring Gully Boy (which is on my to-watch list). And while both Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara and Dil Dhadkne Do have been commercial successes and have even had their share of critical acclaim, I happen to love Lucky By Chance.

In an interview once, I think it was actor Ratna Pathak Shah who had said that a filmmaker’s ‘best’ creation is his/her first project, the one that sees the light of the day. And she went on to explain that the said film holds a special place in the heart because the movie happens to take the maximum out of the director. Maximum effort, maximum energy, maximum passion and of course, maximum perseverance. Mrs Shah is right. And Zoya’s Luck By Chance just proves her statement.

Luck By Chance, starring Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sen Sharma, had released in 2009, and it tanked at the box office at the time primarily because it was ahead of its time. We rarely have a realistic, entertaining film about a film industry, and when we do, it is, unfortunately, ignored. But I recently watched Luck By Chance again (in case anyone wants to check it out, it’s available on Amazon Prime) and was blown away by how openly it pointed fingers at everything wrong with Bollywood.

There were caricaturish characters of a successful producer (Rommy Rolly, played by Rishi Kapoor), a yesteryear diva mother (portrayed by Dimple Kapadia), a superstar (Hrithik Roshan), and two struggling actors with drastically different approach to life (brought to life by the talented duo of Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sen Sharma).

Nepotism, how hard it is to make it in an industry driven by glamour and riches, keeping your spirits up in the face of harsh reality and to stay close to your roots and be humble when the sun shines bright on you – Lucky By Chance throws light on all these important facets of life without trying too hard. And you end the movie with a sense of new learning — of not taking things for granted but also not taking them too seriously. How often does that happen?

Zoya Akhtar, daughter of popular lyricist Javed Akhtar and step-daughter of veteran actor Shabana Azmi, had failed to sign a reputed and familiar face as the male lead of the film. No one wanted to play the struggling actor, recounts the filmmaker in an interview with film critic Anupama Chopra. And so her brother and filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar ended up doing the role.

Bollywood, much like our society, is full of people who are superstitious, selfish, driven by only money, and Luck By Chance explores these subjects with intelligence. However, in case you were wondering, the movie is not cynical. No sir, it has that positive, uplifting side to it which we have seen glimpses of in Zoya’s other films. After all, the movie ends on a sweet note with Konkana’s character taking charge of her own happiness and reflecting on how we are always chasing, but never stopping and appreciating. A lovely, timeless lesson on both Bollywood and life.


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