Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Luck (2009)

Luck, the second film by Soham Shah, is not the debacle that Kaal was. In fact the movie, although it is not, feels like a "White Feather Films" production, having been cut from the same fabric as Plan and Musafir. The one factor that links them all is obvious - Sanjay Dutt, typecast in his usual role, though this makes the movie more entertaining as a result. That is all this movie aims to be anyway -- entertaining.

"Kehte hai Luck jitna ghista hai, uski dhar utni hi tez hoti hai"

Karim Moussa (Sanjay Dutt), after surviving numerous brushes with death, realizes the existence of a "luck" factor that some people have. He goes on to create and run an underground gambling racket, one which bets on people's "luck". Tamang (Danny Denzongpa), working for Moussa, scouts for lucky people and recruits them for a 20-day challenge that pits them against death. If they survive, they do so with enough money for a life of luxury. Ram Mehra (Imran Khan) is one such lucky person. He joins Major Jawar Pratap Singh (Mithun Chakraborty), Raghav (Ravi Kissen), Ayesha (Shruti Haasan) and Shortcut (Chitrashi Rawat), among other lucky people, in the game to cheat death.

"Na Luck badalta hai, na insaan ki taqdeer. Bas Waqt badalta hai"

Soham Shah, as a director, has little to do with what makes this film work. Soham as a dialogue-writer though, does a better job. Yet, it is this films novel concepts that drive the linear story from scene to scene, with only a few pauses for songs. The main reasons though behind Luck's watchability is the spot-on casting, quite obvious in the roles that Sanjay Dutt and Imran Khan play, but equally effective in the castings of Danny Denzongpa and Ravi Kissen. Playing yet another standard "cool" gang-leader, as we've seem him play ever so often, Dutt manages to give his character a winsome charm. Imran Khan is a potential star in the making, this being his boy-next-door-turned-hero transformation. Shruti Haasan, veteran actor Kamal Haasan's daughter, in her film debut, is gorgeous to a fault and adds the requisite and obligatory glam factor.

"Raghav blind khelta hai. Saamne wale ko double aana padta hai"

A lot of the film's charm lies in two actors rarely seen in modern Bollywood films. Danny Denzongpa has, without good reason, not been very active recently. In this return to mainstream Bollywood, he infuses the role of Tamang with his own unique style. Tamang is neither a good or a bad guy, he is just an opportunist out to make the best use of his time. He exudes a sense of authority over the players, respectfully steps aside for Moussa, yet mentors Ram when needed. Similarly Ravi Kissen, a star from regional cinema, brings a slant to his obnoxious character that makes Raghav as intriguing as nutty. He has a way of grabbing our attention, and without the likable charm of Dutt, Kissen colours his role in darker shades. It is for these two characters, Tamand and Raghav, that Soham writes the best lines. Witty one-liners are peppered throughout the script, as both these actors sometimes deliver them to explosive verbal effect.

"Maut se wo darte hai jo lakeero me jeete hai. Raghav tho khud maut ki talash me phirta hai"

Upstart mainstream directors backed by a big budget are often susceptible to the suspension of logic in their movies. Soham Shah is no different. The required quota of melodrama and suspension of belief reaches questionable heights in the last act. By then though, the movie has garnered enough points for its entertainment value, to let the closing become an excusable, minor groan. With the amount of fun the film provides, viewers should have no hesitation in hoping for an equally obnoxious sequel, with a new set of players.

My rating --> 3 of 5

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