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Luck – Movie Review

Cast: A whole lot of good actors
Writer & Director: Soham Shah

Soham Shah makes movies like Paris Hilton – Occasionally good to look at but full of crap. The torture of Kaal, though I watched it in 2005, was still fresh in my mind when I ventured into the theatre to watch Luck. Why did I go? Well, the promos seemed promising; there was Sanju Baba who is any day a better actor than John wooden Abraham and Vivek irritating Oberoi; and most of all I thought Soham would’ve grown as a Director in 4 years. Unfortunately, some things never change.

The opening sequence tells you what the movie is all about – Interesting premise with larger than life characters but let down by fudgy camera shots and tacky computer graphics. The movie starts of introducing the main characters and their LUCK. Moosa Bhai (Sanju) was extremely lucky to have survived a building collapse, floods and falls from high rises during his life and once he discovered this trait of his, he made fortunes playing by his luck. He then takes this game of Luck to a whole new level where people blessed with awesome luck will play games involving life and death while bidders would bid on each of them. Surviving this 20 day game would give the winners a chance to win the jackpot but it would also make a lot of money for the betting syndicate run by Moosa Bhai.

The characters are equally interesting – Ram Mehra (Imran Khan) – a bank employee who’s in big trouble but extremely lucky though he doesn’t know it yet; Major Jawar Pratap (Mithun) – who has been in numerous wars but has never been shot once; Shortcut (Chitrashi Rawat ‘Bhains ki punch’ fame of Chak De) who’s a camel jockey and has never lost a race; Raghav (Ravi Kishan) who was the first person who escaped death sentence because of a faulty noose; and Ayesha (Shruti Hassan) who had won the first jackpot and has returned for the second season of the game.

But that’s where the fun and thrill ends. First of all, the movie takes awfully long to introduce each of the characters with major screen time given to Imran Khan (which sort of tells you that he’s gonna win at the end). Finally when the game is set to begin, you see a number of faces from other countries but none of them is a character. They are just plain sideys who are there only for a minute or two. It would have been really thrilling to get a few unknown foreign faces involved in the act here. In the first game, there is a Pushto speaking actor who has a dialogue and it seems, the movie might get interesting with all these other characters but alas, he lasts only for 2 minutes. Then onwards, the movie becomes horribly predictable as far as the storyline goes. But one thing you can never predict is – How dim is the director gonna get?

In the middle of all this, there is time to sing a few songs, sit around a camp fire, go fishing at beautiful locations, fall in love, the bad guy attempting a rape but the hero appearing at the right time, everything that you would otherwise see in a typical stupid Hindi movie, and the funny part is all of this is without a purpose – it doesn’t take the story forward at all. All of this could’ve been edited without losing the story. When that is possible, it means there is something seriously wrong with the script.

And just when you are waiting for the movie to end, Soham takes ‘stupid’ to a whole new level. The final game is set which is basically an action sequence on top of a train, good guys vs. bad guys, and which has got nothing to do with LUCK. To top it off, the execution is horrendous, a lot of new sideys enter the game just like that, Ravi-Kishan goes on a video game rampage, firing bullets with a weird face, Imran Khan runs dodging bullets which were anyways being fired somewhere else, land mines which explode minutes later behind him and sword yielding Kung fu fighters who just fall and die once he looks at them.

Shruti Hassan definitely has her mom’s good looks but is far from her dad’s acting talent. The other actors are good in what they do but they are sadly let down by a paralyzed script. And yes, there is Mithun da reliving his ‘Koi Shak’ days.

I went to the movie with expectations of amazing stunts but was hugely disappointed. People diving from the sky look like they’re standing in their balcony leaning down. Imran Khan said in an interview that they had to do a Scuba diver’s course but I’m wondering where did he Scuba dive in the movie. There’s a tacky stunt where they’re under water for 30 seconds and then they show whales sharks (edited, thanks Anon) following them in a different shot. Where the whales sharks appear with the actors, it clearly seems like a computer generated graphic, but there was no scuba equipment, not even a diving suit, what was he talking about? It is really frustrating when actors and directors underestimate audiences expecting them to lap up whatever crap they dish out.

Movies like Luck, Tashan, Tasveer etc. are becoming part of a disturbing trend where a nice subject is reduced to an unwatchable torture. The songs are good, catchy tunes, the title track has Sanjay Dutt dancing in the middle of a few women with a huge belly but nevertheless, the entire package looks good. This along with the initial hour or so of the movie is good. But that’s about it. After building momentum in the first half, the second half is nothing but all masala clichés loosely put together all with cheap video game effects. Disappointing mainly because, being someone who knows how Luck behaves (I’ve tried a lot from cards, cricket, matka etc.) there was definitely an engaging story to be told here. Though not entirely original (premises have been borrowed from ‘The Running Man’ and ‘The Condemned’ but still, it was given a nice twist bringing in the Luck factor. In a movie about gambling, there isn’t a single scene where you feel the rush of betting and winning or losing big money (except maybe a short lighter sequence which is Ok). I wonder who allows Soham Shah to write and then direct such crap. Where is Rajkumar Santhoshi?

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