By Movie Talkies, 29 November 2008
Dibakar Banerjee's second film, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! have some of same chutzpah and the energy of his Khosla Ka Ghosla, but does not have the recall value of his debut venture, which continues to delight with each repeated viewing. The ensemble cast of Khosla Ka Ghosla and its seemingly simple plot really raised the tempo of that film. A lot of that is missing in Oye Lucky, where the acting honors have to be shared between Paresh Rawal in a triple role, Abhay Deol and newcomer Manu Rishi. The whole beauty of Khosla Ka Ghosla was the ingenuous manner in which the common man takes on the land sharks. There is a lot to enjoy in Banerjee's second venture but at the end of the day, it is about a petty thief with delusions of grandeur. It has its quota of charm, but at no point of time during the film, does the audience engage with the protagonist Lucky, or even identify with him. His dare and cheek is enjoyable but it really doesn't touch one.
The film never really explains satisfactorily why Lucky becomes Lucky the petty thief, and to be fair to the director, it was probably never the intention of the director. All that they show is this very precocious kid, Lucky, who suddenly grows up to become this much wanted thug. The film relates his story, from his dysfunctional childhood, to his meeting with Gogi bhai (Rawal's second role, his first was as Lucky's sardar father). His third role in the film is as the very respectable vet, Dr Handa, who Lucky meets later in the film. Banerjee begins his film from the point where Lucky is captured by the cops and is given a hero like treatment by the cops, who have called a press conference to showcase their latest catch. The film ends with Lucky making his way out of the clutches of the cops and walking away a free man. In between is encapsulated the life of this thief, how he moves from strength to strength till he is finally undone by his own arrogance, Gogia, Handa and his partner in crime, Bangali.
What is brilliant captured in this movie is manner in which Banerjee captures Delhi, its denizens and the lingo of the place. The film has been very well written, specially the dialogues which are authentic to the core. Banerjee's masterly hold on his story and his dialogues hold is very much in evidence all through the movie. He is supported very well by his cast of players.
Abhay Deol is superb in the role of Lucky. He has a certain boyish charm which goes very well with the character of Lucky. He gives a seamless performance as the conman. It is natural, and he hardly ever goes wrong anywhere in the film. He is very well supported by Paresh Rawal, who is not quite in the best of forms in his triple role. A good experiment, Rawal's characters have a very promising introduction but unfortunately do not really live upto the promise. But despite that, he does display his prowess, in bits and pieces, in all three roles. Archana Puran Singh, who plays wife to Handa, does a superb take off on a certain brand of Delhi housewives. The actress, with her very expressive style of acting and her impeccable sense of timing, is a treat to watch in a small cameo. Another very well etched and well enacted role is that of Bangaali, played by newcomer Manu Rishi, who is very promising as Lucky's partner in crime. Neetu Chandra as Lucky's love interest too does a good job as well.
The film's USP is definitely its screenplay and dialogue and Abhay Deol. There is a certain kind of tongue in cheek humor in place as well through the movie as well. It expresses itself in the dialogues and certain sequences in the movie. Banerjee's keen insight into the human mind and its foibles is also evident in this movie as it was in his Khosla Ka Ghosla. If one compares this film to that one, then definitely it falls short in terms of entertainment, substance and acting. But on its own, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! has a certain kind of charm which is quite effective.