Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!
Cast: Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Neetu Chandra, Cute Pomeranian
Direction: Dibakar Banerjee
He’s brief: a thief who gives no one grief. Coolly walking into Delhi colony kothis, he exits with dhotis, golden lotis, TV sets, pet cats and poms, and even says, “Get well soon” to an ailing, rounder-than-a-full-moon grandmom. See videos:1| 2
Absolutely unapologetic about his petty crimes Dibakar Bannerjee’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! is inspired by a true-life life Plucky who, of course, eventually became Oye Unlucky! The outcome is as tasty as a sarson da saga smile-raiser which goes balle balle with the Punjabis living in the seamier sides of Delhi. It’s fun without ever being preachy or pretentious. In fact, it’s just delirious, wagging its tale away like one of those stolen poms. Ha ha OK Please. <b1>
Indeed, the opening reels evoke instant laughter peals. Note, for instance, a loony kid punching the air madly as if he’d just seen Sholay Bhature (not Mr Varma’s). And there’s Lucky, as a callow teenager (excellently played by Manjot Singh) who hangs around the bare-brick mohallas, buys a girl a greeting card on discount from her own store, takes her out for a date to a Delhi Gharbaar kind of restaurant only to be harassed by the waiter and is seduced by his stepmom from whom he escapes as if she were Anaconda. Ewww.
Lucky’s growing up years are lively and witty. They also suggest (subtly, for once) the elements that go into a criminal’s mind. Next, our no-gooder becomes a cocky young man (Abhay Deol), flaunting faux leather jackets and an attitude that would give Amitabh Bachchan , in his bygone days, a complex. Lucky’s into hijacking cars, has a permanently awestruck Mukri-type sidekick (Manu Rishi), and doesn’t care if he roughs up a minister’s son or a gang of boozed-out bozos. The guy relishes a strong fight. Bachchan without all his zanjeerein? Absolutely.
But Lucky can’t be a Bunty Jr without a Bubbly Darling for too long. Over to a college girl (Neetu Chandra) who’s as uncertain as any Laila would be on romancing baaaad man Gulshan Grover. Or Prem Kapoor or Shakti Chopra. Aawoooo. The villains here are the conditions around Lucky. If he has become a compulsive thief, it’s out of lack of education, upbringing and misguided narcissism. When he tries to go straight – by investing in a restaurant – he’s cheated. His father doesn’t want to see him, his kid brother is ashamed of him (a scene set in a hilltown depicts this with psychological acuity). And there’s the media which is just itching to make him fodder for sansanikhez news. Quite.
Throughout, Dipakar Bannerjee’s direction is as playful as if he were playing kho kho. Towards the concluding reels though, the energy flags, and the screenplay becomes predictable, a flaw that he had so deftly avoided in his debut-making Khosla ka Ghosla.
On the technical front, Kartik Vijay’s cinematography has a splashy indigo, consistently stylised look. Sneha Khanwalkar’s music is rockingly robust. The editing could have been less frantic though. Oh.
Of the cast, Paresh Rawal is seen in three different roles which do baffle you initially. There was no need really. He’s extraordinary, especially as the glib-talking vet who cons the con artiste.
Neetu Chandra is confident. Manu Rishi, as the sidekick, is the surprise packet; he was also responsible for the dialogue that’s as delicious as chicken tikka. And you once again get lucky with Abhay Deol. This actor knows his acting mutton chops and does justice to a succulent role.
Granted Oye..oye has its downers but at least it has the guts to be zany-`n’-zappy. Way to balle balle, thumka maar ke.