3.5 Stars (out of 4)
If any Indian director can become a crossover success in the United States, it will probably be someone from the Akhtar family. Farhan Akhtar updated the movie musical with last year’s Rock On!!, and now his sister, Zoya, shows just how mature and sophisticated Indian storytelling can be in Luck By Chance.
Zoya’s directorial debut follows the careers and personal lives of up-and-coming actors Sona (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Vikram (Farhan Akhtar). As the two navigate their way through auditions and bit roles with titles like “Dead Sister’s Friend”, their struggles prove the adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
The world Sona and Vikram inhabit feels authentic, in part because the characters in Luck By Chance actually talk with one another. In many Bollywood movies, feelings and worldly truths are expressed via extended speeches — and not in the course of normal conversation, as happens in real life. Zoya & Farhan’s father, poet Javed Akhtar, wrote the movie’s dialogue, and he deserves much of the credit for its creative success.
The plot proceeds in unexpected (yet always believable) directions, further separating Luck By Chance from typical Bollywood fare. A smart U.S. distributor would’ve marked this as an Indian arthouse film and targeted it toward Western audiences. As it stands, it may not be in theaters much longer, so I recommend seeing it while you can.