Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

08 Dec

Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! is rather like a fist of iron clad in a velvet glove  applied directly to your chin. Directed by Dibakar Banerjee (Khosla ka Ghosla) and starring Abhay Deol and Paresh Rawal, Oye Lucky! is a story about pretty much everything human and what it all means.

The movie opens in the narrow lanes of the lower middle class in class-obsessed Delhi where a young Sikh boy named Lucky (Manjot Singh) is coming to terms with the fact that if he wants to live up to his name, he’ll just have create his own luck. His father (Paresh Rawal in the first of three roles) is a crushing disappointment, his mother is a doormat, his elder brother stays out of the house as much as he can, his younger brother is just a kid and his father’s fat mistress has moved into their home and has less than wholesome designs on his young self. To complicate matters further, he is obsessed with the “gentry” – rich/upper middle class kids who’re usually up to no good but have everything he wants and look down upon him.

All Lucky wants is to be able to live their life, romancing their women and beating down their men and he isn’t really sure how it all works or why it’s so important but it’s the greenest grass he can imagine and he really wants to play in it.

As Lucky grows up (into Abhay Deol), things seemingly begin to look up. He’s not just a smalltime punk pulling a smalltime scam to impress some girl in the neighborhood; he’s hanging out with real movers and shakers, and moving on up himself. A born hustler who instinctively understands the power of the image over reality, he embarks on a brazen career of crime.

Along the way, he loses his family, tries to buy them back, loses his friends, tries to buy them back, loses his substitute father figures (Paresh Rawal in roles two and three)… and tries to buy them back. Sadly for him, he just ends up spending a lot of money.

On the surface, this is very much a story about Delhi and the impulses that drive that city, but at a deeper level this is the story of modern India as well. Although Lucky is rooted in the city of his birth, his aspirations are the kind that infect millions.

It all sounds rather depressing when you think about it, and in many ways it is as you watch Lucky scratch repeatedly, desperately at the surface of the life he wants, begging, demanding to be let in and trying to deal with the disappointment of it when he fails again and again – yet Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! never loses its sense of humor. There’s nothing particularly funny about either the dialogues or the situations the characters find themselves in – it lacks the kind of zany comedic value that Ranvir Shorey imparted to Khosla ka Ghosla, for example – so if you’re expecting the usual slapstick, this isn’t the movie for you. What it is, is clever; a black comedy that recognizes the futility of race it’s tracking between all the serious little hamsters on their wheels.

I can’t end without a special shoutout to Abhay Deol, which is not to say that the ensemble as a whole wasn’t excellent right from Paresh Rawal to Neetu Chandra (Traffic Signal) and Manjot Singh. However, if you’d told me just a couple of years ago that I’d actually see the day when I’d find myself looking forward to the movies of a second-generation Deol, I’d have laughed myself silly. Well, the day’s arrived and I don’t find it in the least bit hilarious – he carries the film.


Posted by on December 8, 2008 in Entertainment, Movies, Review, Video


27 responses to “Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

  1. Amey

    December 8, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Nice enjoyable movie. Although, I don’t agree with the synopsis that he surrenders because he repents etc etc. Did I miss something there?

  2. naren

    December 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I’m just back from the movie, to which I went with wife and kids. All of us LOVED the movie, and Abhay Deol, who really carried the movie. Paresh Rawal is still a poop container. Almost anyone else would have done a much better job. Still, the director kept him in tight control, and didn’t let him ham away at all. Credit to Dibakar Banerjee. Easily the best movie I’ve seen all year

  3. shweta

    December 8, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Abhay Deol is magical- he tops Sunny/Bobby in the acting corner any day, and is verging on looking a heck of a lot like Dharam- there’s nothing better 🙂

  4. Mamma Mia! Me A Mamma?!?

    December 9, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Sounds lke a must-see. Well then, I guess I must, see.

  5. Orange Jammies

    December 9, 2008 at 3:26 am

    I’ve always loved all of A. Deol’s roles, right from Socha Na Tha to Manorama Six Feet Under. There’s something about the boy and thankfully it’s not his family!

  6. Amrita

    December 9, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Amey – nope, I don’t know where people got that impression either. He surrendered because he didn’t have a choice and then he finagled his way out of it. Did they leave before the movie ended?

    Naren – better than Dil Kabbadi? 🙂 I’m planning to see it either tomorrow or day after.

    Shweta – and that too the best Dharam: the early one with the vulnerable look in his eyes and the charming smile. Eeee!

    Mamma – lolz!

    OJ – me too!!! And yeah, he seems like the only Deol who can actually read. A script that is. 😛

  7. sachita

    December 9, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Abhay deol’s choice of movies might be great, but when he appears on screen, he doesn’t do much to me. I can’t really pin point what it is:(
    I found him decent in Manorama six feet under though.

    Dibakar Banerjee and another good Delhi story, Is the movie that good? did I wrongly credit Khosla ka Ghosla solely to Jaideep Sahni?

  8. Nida

    December 9, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Well, that settles it. I’m going to have to see this film! This is the second review I’ve read today giving it a thumbs up–and praising Abhay!
    Thanks for the review!

  9. Amrita

    December 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    Sachita – awww, Abhay cho cute! He even made that moustache look less than awful. I think this is actually a more complex movie than Khosla ka Ghosla but yeah, there’s a definite Delhi flavor to this. I enjoyed it tremendously.

    Nida – do! and then write about it! I’d like to see how Delhi comes across to you. 🙂

  10. Vikram

    December 9, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    Hmmm … this movie was an interesting premise, but the execution was not up to the mark. Btw, I thought Paresh Rawal was excellent.

  11. Amrita

    December 10, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Vikram – Enjoy it while you can, I hear Hera Pheri part 4 is coming out. 😦

  12. Aroon

    December 10, 2008 at 10:37 am

    saw it last night.. brilliant stuff.. totally got me thinking about my chandigarh and delhi days.. loved the treatment of the film and also the soundtrack.. simply kickkasss. after khosla and this dibakar sure has some stuff.. afterall advertising waala banda hai.. heheheh.. and ya abhay deol rocks unlike his robotic brothers… this week rab ne is releasing (will be one more melodrama)..

  13. Amey

    December 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Exactly, and his girlfriend wasn’t exactly hell-bent on “making him a better human being”, was she?

    Hera Pheri 4? Where was I when HP3 (umm, not Prisoner of Azkaban) got released?

  14. Aroon

    December 11, 2008 at 2:31 am

    another thing tht was done very well was the fact that deol was always on the lookout for a fatherly figure in his life, be it his dad, goga bhai and dr. handa.. and it was brilliant to put paresh in all these characters..

  15. Amrita

    December 11, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Aroon – I really liked the way he wrote it too. just really clever all around. I think a lot of people are disappointed that it wasn’t the comedy the trailers depicted but I bought it as it stood.

    Amey – I loved that girlfriend characters! Hypocrisy personified that one. paap ki kamaayi ko haath nahin lagayegi but she’ll take everything she can get out of it otherwise. 😀 Oh, so it’s HP3 coming out? One of them anyway. blech. I heard Akki is getting paid 30 crores to do it! when even he needs that kind of moolah to convince him, then you can imagine what it must be like.

  16. Rahul

    December 13, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I really enjoyed the movie but I have a few minor quibbles.There was a disconnect between the metamorphosis from “tormented middle class teenager” to “smooth upper class thorough bred criminal”. Perhaps it could have been bookmarked by a turning point kind of an event?
    Again,I totally enjoyed the scene where he bashes up those tourists.Its an intense scene which showcases Abhay’s frustation.He really lets himself go and its a welcome change from the Aamir Khan type well rehearsed cool guy way he has generally approached the role.There could have been a few more scenes like that;maybe one with his girlfriend.
    I think thats the thing that some people find lacking in Abhay,he doesn’t look vulnerable in front of the camera.He holds some part of him back,unlike Sunny in his Rahul Rawail days.Sunny, in my opinion is a better actor.
    Oh by the way,did you notice his uncanny resemblance to Mark Ruffalo?

  17. Amrita

    December 15, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Rahul – I didn’t notice the resemblance until now but now that you mention it…! I think the early Sunny was able to portray vulnerability very well but that was about the only emotion he could do well. And of late he can’t even do that. Abhay’s got a ways to go but he’s really choosing his scripts well. I can’t think of a movie of his that I didn’t enjoy.

  18. pitusultan

    December 30, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I rly liked this movie and I’m glad at least one Deol has some amount of grey matter :-p and chooses to do good piktures. I loved Abhay in Manorama 6 Feet Under as well. When you mentioned his family, you omitted the cringe-worthy maasi/stepmom :-p Ewww I was like Someone call Child Services asap! Neetu Chandra was surprisingly good! She could be the next Konkona who is the self-avowed queen of crossover cinema. Anyway, it was a fun caper. And Archana made me giggle 😀

  19. Amrita

    December 30, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    That was an esp nice touch to me – the pedo auntie ji thing. HAHAHHAHA @ Child Services. In Delhi that’s probably the name of a child escort service 😦

  20. Amey

    December 31, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    @Pitu: You forgot Dharampraaji in his “Chupke Chupke” days 😀

    @Amrita: Child Services? Really? To quote you: argh! make the bad pictures stop!

  21. pitusultan

    December 31, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Amey: That image is eclipsed by Paaji in a leather miniskirt in Dharam Veer. Gag. Although to his credit, he ain’t fallen as hard as Rajesh ‘Wafaa’ Khanna :-p

  22. pitusultan

    December 31, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Also, I saw ‘Apne’ whilst in India. The Deols were so horrendous, they made Shilpa Shetty’s acting look good in comparison!

  23. Amrita

    January 2, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Amey – 😦 I know. Have you seen Slumdog Millionaire yet?

    Pitu – omigod! I totally forgot about his mini skirt! I’m so glad I never saw that movie in the theatre – I would have sat there peeking through my fingers, waiting for his nuts and berries to pop out. ARGH!

  24. pitusultan

    January 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    “waiting for his nuts and berries to pop out”

    Thanks for typing that. I just choked on my walnut salad :-p

  25. Amey

    January 3, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    @Amrita: No, it sounds too much like “i want real India, poor people, hungry people!” kinda movie. Not sure if I want to watch it.

    @Pitu: And you will be one of those girls who go all dreamy-eyed when Russell Crowe or Brad Pitt steps out in leather minis 😉

  26. pitusultan

    January 3, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Amey: mmmmmmmmm thank YOU for that luverly image 😀

  27. Amey

    January 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    “Loverly” image?

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