Rating: 4/5 stars (Four Stars)
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
What’s Good: Meticulously detailed, gently woven, beautiful film that boasts of its overpowering performances.
What’s Bad: Perhaps the calamity could be enhanced, but art films with its quality of minimalism works for it.
Loo break: None
Watch or Not?: Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera is sheer brilliance, poignancy and magic woven on celluloid. With a sinewy narrative and prodigious performances, especially from Sonakshi Sinha, this film can easily claim to be a plush masterpiece!
Set in the 1950s, a con-man Varun lands up in Manickpur, Bengal to steal an ancient idol from the local temple. While carrying out his operation, he loses his heart to the Zamindar’s beautiful daughter Pakhi. On the day of their engagement, Varun along with his ransom goes absconding. Years later, fate brings the estranged lovers face to face in the most peculiar of situations! Bubbling with the aftermath of being cheated in love, how does Pakhi react to Varun? What follows is an overwhelming story…
Lootera Review: Script Analysis
Based on O. Henry’s trenchant short story ‘The Last Leaf’, the plot is typical of Henry’s essential simplicity and existential dynamics. Beginning with a fable that later surface its relevance in entirety, the film plays on myriad hues of relationships and people! There is a genuine heartwarming love between a father and his ailing daughter, the brewing romance between absolute strangers and how they get estranged. Filled with lofty amounts of tenderness, the story’s beauty is in its simplicity. The essence of O. Henry’s story has been used well as Motwane’s Pakhi converts into Henry’s Johnsy. Ranveer, at the story’s outset claims that one day he will paint a masterpiece and indeed our Behrman attains it!
It is Pakhi’s character that is essayed more vividly than Varun’s. The film’s strength emerges as Pakhi evolves from a vivacious young girl who is vulnerable and hopelessly in love to the ailing woman, who is fighting revenge and forgiveness together! It is striking how the film folds in tenderness to reach out to the cockles of your heart. You can literally feel every frame, from Pakhi’s gradual attraction to her heartbreak; her character’s relatable ability is ace! The scene where she feels dodged by Varun and asks, “Aap Kal Aayenge..Toh phir Parso… Aur Uske Agle Din…” (that reminded me of Sharmila’s dialogue from the Bengali film Antaheen) there is a melancholic sense of optimism and hope in it. In exploring the premise of sublime love, it eventually in all its beauty remains tragic and unrequited. The second part, rests on the film’s muted silences to encapsulate the magnanimity of the situation and her pain. It is the evident hint of empyreal in Lootera that triumphs all through.
Lootera Review: Star Performances
Sonakshi Sinha is the film’s most fascinating performer. Being so used to her playing arm candies to actors in 100 crore ventures, for the first time truly she has had the scope to put up a bewitching performance and she doesn’t disappoint! She looks elegant and does her part with great finesse and delicacy. With her perilous love and vulnerable state strikingly reminds of Shabana Azmi from Arth, for most of the second part she flawlessly enacted the ailing heroine from Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Taara. The wreckage of her heart is painted pristinely. With her spirited performance, she indeed is an integral part of the film’s soul.
Ranveer Singh, though sharp in his performances falls short by a few notches. Gauging his level of acting, Singh is capable of better. In his individual scenes, the actor is detached and lost which conspicuously hits. I won’t point this out as wrong footing because he manages to paint himself as Bronte’s Heathcliff, adapting the mores of that character!
Barun Chanda, given his veteran persona shines with a stellar performance and Vikrant Massey is delightful too!
However, the lead duo’s chemistry is way less dazzling than expected. Motwane handles the lack wickedly and doesn’t let that blemish get obvious.
Lootera Review: Direction, Music & Technical Aspects
Vikramaditya Motwane is back with another resplendent piece after 3 years and it is indeed hard to believe that this is merely the man’s second edition! Lootera brimming with confidence, Motwane reflects his inspirations with unabashed clear citation. The film is a direct and emphatic eulogy to O.Henry’s repertoire. How from the first scene where Ranveer paints a few ugly leaves to the climax where he ties the last one on the branch, is a journey that celebrates the beauty of love and the tragedy that entails with it. In parts, Motwane’s cinematic detailing is reflective of Satyajit Ray’s meticulousness. How he carefully captures every mood and caprice of the story and its characters by simple things like twist of facial gestures or simply sloping the camera in a certain way is commendable!
Amit Trivedi’s music is the film’s undisputed hero as it grabs every temperament with sensitivity. The crooning resounds and lingers for long. The camera work and editing is sublime. Cinematographer Mahendra Shetty is divine at his work as he brings out the most textured slides from his 35mm. The man’s caliber is sheer bravura! The crisp editing surpasses the pace which again saves the film from falling on the wrong ground!
Lootera Review: The Last Word
Lootera is one film that will overwhelm you. Vikramaditya Motwane has given a seraphic piece that glorifies cinema itself. The narrative is framed on a devastative tapestry and the film’s climax knots up calamitously that will keep one absorbed. Sonakshi Sinha’s smashing performance is first rate and the film’s tone and timber is scrumptious! I am going with 4/5 for Lootera! Films like these have the milieu of a classic that shall soar its way to glories!
Lootera released on 5th July, 2013.
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