The primary tenet of capitalism is self-interest. All human beings strive for the procurement of resources. These resources range from survivalistic to luxury. It is a natural state of existence. Civilization was formed on the notion of common interest, on the ideas of trade and barter. Modern society is no exception.
Vikram Jaisingh and Sona Mishra arrive in the financial capital of India, Mumbai, hoping to pursue their self-interest of becoming an actor. Their approach differs from the start. Sona is honest, hard-working and innocent. Leaving her family behind in Kanpur, she puts her goal before anyone else’s and decides to walk her own path. Upon arriving, the point where Luck By Chance begins, she meets a second-grade producer who promises to fulfill Sona’s dream. But he requires a few things in return: an exchange. Their interests align partially, so the producer decides to tip the scales in his favour. Sona becomes a resource.
Vikram, on the other hand, is aware of the nature of a capitalist society. For him, everything and everyone is a resource to utilize. He uses his maternal aunt to arrange for boarding, friends for networking. He plays his part in social situations. The part of an actor. He is rarely himself, as he confesses by the end. He puts on a facade, being whatever is expected of him, to garner attention. Like a fisherman using bait to catch a prey.
The major criticism of a capitalist society is how it turns people into resources. Luck By Chance chooses the perfect world to express this criticism: Bollywood, an industry whose primary resource is human beings. It is a confluence of artistes and businessmen, an orgy of self-interests and dreams. A world where all want it all. The only way to reach the top is by gathering all the resources and employing them for your benefit. Naturally, the interest of the person at the top overpowers other interests.
Sona and Vikram are a part of this game. They are at the lowest end of this hierarchy. The challenge is to reach the top. Unfortunately, the rules of the game are twisted. As the poker cliche goes, one doesn’t play the cards; one plays the man. In a purely capitalistic society, like Bollywood in Luck By Chance, value judgements are made on anything but human values. Stars are valued for their monetary merit, directors for their name, audiences for their money, and producers for their wealth. It is a perverse web of conflicts arising from differing interests. The problem is not the competition. It’s the structure of the competition.
Capitalism stands for a society that is built on the human nature of self-interest. It stands for the natural right of all humans to be whoever they want. The question is: What is the ultimate goal? A resource is a means to an end. This begs the question: what is the end? Everyone’s end is different. But when my goal does not allow you to pursue your goal, society faces problems. That is where the ultimate goal comes into play.
In Luck By Chance, Vikram’s shrewdness grants him an entry into stardom. Along the way, he manipulates people, hurts them to get what he wants. He turns human beings into resources, since that’s what the industry does. The Bollywood in Luck by Chance, and Vikram, forget that their interests are not more important than the interests of other people. They have no right to use people for their advantage. An exchange must always be fair.
Honest, innocent and hard-working Sona understands the nature of her industry the hard way. In the end, she refuses to break under the pressure of an unfair system. She sees the good in it and decides to fight for it. The system might be too strong and old to change. But as long as she does her part right, there is hope.
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.