Well-crafted opening credits act as a hook that instantly pulls the audience into the movie. However, filmmakers must ensure to blend these with the theme and tone of their film, else they can feel out of place. And a movie that used opening credits to its advantage is Luck By Chance. Director Zoya Akhtar uses the credits as an artistic tool to express her point of view, and the end product is a captivating and thought-provoking sequence for the ages.
I remember watching Luck By Chance in a comparatively empty theatre on a chilly Delhi evening. It was a time when I'd be late for most movies. But luckily, I made it in time for this one. Or I'd have ended up missing what, in my opinion, is one of the best opening credits sequences of the 2000s.
It features beautiful montages of individuals as the melodic 'Yeh Zindagi Bhi' kicks in. We see junior artists, costume designers, sound recordists and painters of hoardings. We also witness catering executives and even the men guarding the Filmistaan Studio. These are the men and women behind all the glamour and fame. The people who make everything happen behind the scenes. It's almost like a homage to the support functions that help bring stories to screen.
Cinematographers Carlos Catalán and Alvaro Gutiérrez have a knack for capturing portraits in their most legitimate form, and they do it sublimely here as well. There's a certain warmth on the faces of these people that is highly infectious. That is why you can't help but smile as the camera shifts from one frame to the other. But the melancholy is palpable too. In a way, this sequence is like a discreet meeting with the unsung heroes of cinema.
And what better way to elevate the impact than a dulcet track like 'Yeh Zindagi Bhi' that is truly the heart of this movie. Composed by the iconic trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and written by the multifaceted Javed Akhtar, the track propels you to analyse all the deepest desires of your heart. It addresses the ramifications of unrequited dreams and how life takes us to numerous destinations as we chase these desires so adamantly. Every day hundreds of individuals come to the 'City of Dreams' in search of glory. But what happens when these desires don't get fulfilled? Should these people keep chasing these dreams, or should they convince their hearts otherwise? Should they be cautious and more self-aware when it comes to these tangled yearnings? Sung by Loy Mendonsa and Shekhar Ravjiani, this track explores all these aspects both purely and poetically.
There are also wide-angle shots of white buildings with movie posters displayed at the top featuring the individuals who've made it. But have they really? We on look as the gaze shifts from the portraits and billboards to the spot that's more tangible to us: the cinema. What's also praiseworthy is that the frames have been juxtaposed with the relevant credits that ensure cohesive storytelling.
Zoya, who's been very vocal about providing technicians and artists equal screen time at award shows, amplifies their importance beautifully and in the distinct way that only she can. The 2015 Sriram Raghavan-directed Badlapur had the tagline 'Don't miss the beginning'. It also fits perfectly in the case of Luck by Chance. Zoya Akhtar has made a memorable opening credits sequence that individuals will appreciate and cherish incrementally with time.