When Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! opened in theatres on the Friday after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, theatres were deserted. The movie bombed. But now, the National Award jury has rewarded the film by calling it the the best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.
Those associated with the film are ecstatic. Actress Neetu Chandra says, “When the film released, we were all going through a bad phase mentally. There was not even one person in the cinema halls. Now, we all feel that we have got our due. We called up each other and congratulated.”
“Even when I got a best actress nomination last year, I knew it wasn’t enough because people had not seen the film, but after the national award, I’m sure they have.”
Director Dibakar Banerjee recollects, “The Wednesday before the release of the film, I was at the Goa Film Festival and the film received a standing ovation. I told my partner, ‘Yeh toh sab accha ho raha hai, yeh kaise ho raha hai yaar’. Then immediately the attacks happened, and we forgot all about the film.”
Now, Banerjee feels “intimidated” with the honour. “When you get a ‘wholesome’ film award, it’s an award for everybody. I’m quite intimidated because the best popular films were giants in that category. In the company of those giants, this is huge.”
As for plans of re-releasing the film, he says, “I really wish that the National Awards were set up in a way that we could release the film after the awards, like the Oscars. So if they get nominated, that’s a sure-shot sign of good collections... I’ll be very happy if it’s re-released.”
— Inputs from Neha Sharma