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Lootera – Timeless Love

When your debut film goes onto win universal acclaim and is one of the most loved films to have come out in recent times, expectations are sky high when you release your second film. Vikramaditya Motwane‘s first film, Udaan, is one of the most loved films to have come out in recent times and is pretty much assured of a place in the folklore of Indian cinema. In Udaan, he dealt with a teenage boy coming of age and the realistic portrayal won him and his crew many accolades. In Lootera, his sophomore film, Vikramaditya Motwane moves away from the modern setting, the boarding school and travels back in time to the early 1950s and has a doting father – daughter relationship and a love story to contend with. 

Sex Scenes in LooteraLike a fable that unfolds in front of us when someone is telling us a story if the ages, the movie unfolds itself in Manikpur, a village in West Bengal. The zamindari system is still in vogue but as we come to realise a bit later, it is under threat from the newly independent country and its politicians. We hear a fable within what looks like a fable as the doting father, the zamindar (Barun Chanda) recites a story to his indulgent daughter(Sonakshi Sinha) and you have your first smile in the movie, a smile of nostalgia, of old memories, of wonderful times as a child. Lootera has many such moments in store where you have a smile when you are remembering what it used to be like or in cases of people newly in love, what it feels like to be in love. With everything that it has in it, Lootera isn’t a con movie, it isn’t a period drama but a love story and it more than has enough love to see it through even with the little missteps that might make you groan at few places.

When Varun Srivastav(Ranveer Singh) comes into the life of the the zamindar and his daughter, he is instantly trusted and liked by the father and the daughter falls in love with the man, I mean, who wouldn’t when the man is spouting poetry , looks as good as he does and has an intelligent mind. Entering their life as an archaeologist, he becomes an integral part of their life in his one month stay at the place. When love blossoms, you see the difficulty in romancing in the 1950s. Flirting wasn’t as easy as it is today and Vikramaditya shows us the 50s with a delicate beauty that is mind arresting.

Based on O’Henry‘s beautiful short story, “The Last Leaf”, Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera has a love story that The Last Leaf didn’t.  Motwane’s Pakhi is O’Henry’s Johnsy and Sonakshi Sinha has done her best work to date. Fragile, intelligent, coy,  irrational at times and wonderfully beautiful when her eyes shine with love. Ranveer Singh is equally brilliant and he brings out the street smartness of his Oliver Twist kind of character to life. Vulnerable at times, intelligent, the confusion and the love for Pakhi are masterfully showcased by Ranveer Singh. The movie belongs to these two people, if we are ready to ignore the technical aspects of the film. We aren’t going to ignore the technical aspects of the film so let’s just say that these two actors pretty much make the movie their own.

Sawar Lo From LooteraBarun Chanda is brilliant as the zamindar who is used to certain style of living and the vulnerability that comes when he loses everything to the abolishment of the zamindari and the pompousness of being a zamindar are well etched by him. It has  wonderful set of actors, though most of them are underutilised. Be it Adil Husain who plays Inspector Singh or Divya Dutta who plays the housekeeper/maid or Vikram Massey (who looks a lot like Joseph Gordon Levitt in some frames) who plays Deb, the sidekick who throws in a wonderful impersonation of the late Dev Anand. You wish they had more scenes to showcase how good they are but the script is good enough for the story it is telling. The film is about Pakhi and Varun and this is what we get. Everyone else is there to fill in the space of characters required to put the love story in place and there is no point complaining why Divya Dutta bothered taking sucha  short role or why Adil Husain wasn’t given  more screen space. The police – conman sequence is essential for the story to develop and Vikramaditya Motwane doesn’t extend it for the sake of commercialisation and stays true to the love story he is intending to tell and the actors have got the due screen space their characters deserve in this film.

is lootera inspired by O' Henry's Last leafThe film shifts from Manikpur to Dalhousie after the intermission and for a moment, you sense a change in pace when the characters reunite. The change of pace involves a police – conman chase that is masterfully executed that it can turn out to be anything but it is rather disconcerting in its pacing. Not for one moment do you feel that the visuals are out of sync or place with the period or mood, such is the lovely work by Mahendra Shetty. Be it the green and brown of Manikpur or the blue, black and white of Dalhousie, Mahendra Shetty’s camera captures everything with the kind of love Lootera talks of. Coupled with Amit Trivedi‘s brilliant music, even a little piece of background music that seems to be copied but I am not able to place where from, it works wonderfully well in the film. The visual and sound design of this film are almost the best I’ve seen all year.

The story appears average because this isn’t any different from most of the love stories of film from old but what makes Lootera stand above almost everything else is the treatment and its ability to make us feel indulgent about it. If you just take what the story is about and it is easy to dismiss the film and call it an average film and walk out but when you see the style, the treatment and the craft that has gone into making this film, you can’t help but appreciate the film.

There are scenes which are jaw dropping-ly good and these are scenes where there is no dialogue at all. When the actors speak, there’s a cuteness to the whole proceedings in the first half that it might not really be a comfortable watch for some people but these are the ones that brought a smile to  my face. The ones where there are no dialogues are simply breathtakingly beautiful with both the symbolism and the photography and music at hand.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera largely triumphs because of the craft at display and the unspoken words between the actors. I loved the experience of watching the film. If I had to ponder a lot and try to find fault with the film, I could find a few and write about them and not just point out the cheesiness or sluggish pacing at some parts but then the experience of loving the movie when I watched it is what matters here. Lootera captured me with the craft it showcased.

Lootera isn’t the masterpiece that most people were expecting but it is certainly no slouch of a film either as some of them are claiming it to be. It is a well crafted film with some wonderful acting by its actors, filled with beautiful images and wonderful music. Vikramaditya Motwane is here to stay, this is just the beginning of what looks like an extremely promising career.

Language : Hindi | Running Time  : 140 Minutes | Director : Vikramaditya Motwane 
Rating : 3.5/4


By: Hithesh Devasya
Posted: July 6, 2013, 10:06 am


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