Do all youngsters who go bad do so because they lack a firm, upstanding, and loving father figure? That seems to be the case with our Lucky Singh. You can sense that Lucky’s father (Paresh Rawal) is up to no good with his aunt, who is not averse to hitting on the teenager Lucky (Manjot Singh), and relations between father and son are strained at best. Always wanting the limelight and more and more, Lucky (now grown up into Abhay Deol) turns to a life of petty thievery that escalates to a full blown habit! Thrown out of the house, he sleeps in cars and and his partner in crime, Bangali (Manu Rishi), introduces him to Gogi Bhai (Paresh Rawal II) who acts as the fence for Lucky’s stolen goods. Lucky is asked to drop the dancer/escort Dolly (Richa Chaddha) home and winds up meeting the sister Sonal (Neetu Chandra) and falling for her.
Gogi Bhai exploits Lucky and when he reacts, he and Bangali are “fed” to the police. Lucky manages to escape and his capers continue unabated. Along the way he meets Dr. Handa (Paresh Rawal III) and his wife (Archana Puran Singh), is exploited yet again and taken for a ride by the duo and his friend Bangali.
On his trail are the special branch police and he is finally caught with all the stuff he stole – this time betrayed by Bangali. Of course he escapes yet again – as we are told by a narrator.
The parallels to Catch me if You Can are palpable – there the boy runs away from home as his father is a crook, and his mother in an adulterous relationship. Eventually he is saved by a father figure who was also the one to catch him.
We see shades of the same in Bunty aur Babli where the young couple go on a crime spree, and are captured and saved by an avuncular policeman.
Dibakar Bannerjee sets us up twice with father figures, indeed nicely manipulates us by having the SAME man play the father figures, but in each instance they betray Lucky just as much or more that his real father did, thus leaving him stranded with no compass and no direction. Even Sonal is unable to shake him from his path of crime! Indeed, by the end she does all but actually take money from his hand. So does Lucky get redemption in the end? In what was probably supposed to be a bold move, the director leaves us unclear on the fate of Lucky. Neither is he caught and punished nor redeemed. This purgatorial fate prevents closure in the end and left this viewer a bit unsatisfied.
It is hard to not compare this one to the debut venture by Dibakar Bannerjee. I had thoroughly enjoyed Khosla Ka Ghosla and this is a lesser film because of its often repetitive and in the end somewhat pointless story line. But like KKG, OLLO also brings Delhi alive for the viewer. Though it is not the side of Delhi we have often seen or frequented, yet it is still very real. The chases are thrilling and the mini heists hilariously well done. The music has full on Punjabi flavor and suits the film very well. The title song adds punch to the narrative with its hyper beats.
Abhay handles Lucky competently but does not do too much to bring out the insecurities and uncertainties one would expect in such a character. He is mostly playful, angry or serious. The teenage Lucky is played by Manjot Singh who totally rocks! Richa Chaddha has a small role which is competently done. Neetu Chandra is excellent as Sonal – only let down somewhat by the poor finish to the character. She is luminous and slowly grows from insecure to assured in the film as her character spends more and more time with Lucky. Paresh is great as Gogi Bhai and Dr. Handa and does not do too much as Lucky’s father. Manu Rishi is a find as Bangali. All in all OLLO is a decent effort, though not at the same level as KKG by quite a bit. However, after OLLO and KKG one does expect more now from Dibakar Bannerjee, so here is looking forward to his next one.
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