Vikramaditya Motwane
Direction & Screenplay

Anurag Kashyap

Bhavani Iyer

Movie Review
Lootera:A treat for the senses, and classes

We are into the last ten minutes of the film. He’s wounded; physically and emotionally. As he dares to do his final thing that would be his biggest accomplishment and his masterpiece; you sigh while realizing Ranveer Singh is actually capable of overwhelming you with emotions. Same goes for the girl. She is sick and in agony. Whether or not she will survive this turmoil, is a dreaded question. This is Sonakshi Sinha and you forget that she has also danced as a Bollywood diva in other films. The lead pair evokes sizzling chemistry on screen. This is the triumph of great direction. 

With his first film Udaan (2010) writer-director Vikramaditya Motwane proved that he possesses distinguished capabilities. He passes the litmus test with Lootera. Everything is superlative with wonderful cinematography, uplifting music and impeccable detailing. 

In Bengal, there is a reputed Zamindar, Manik Babu, whose daughter Pakhi is full of life despite suffering with a crippling disease. Enters Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh) accompanied by his partner-in-crime, literally, Devdas (Vikrant Massey, very impressive) who is on a mission of his own. For the records, he is an archeologist. Before he charms Manik Babu he has already won over Pakhi. She arranges to learn painting from him, only he doesn’t know how to paint. She reverses the deal and asks him to learn from her instead. Sparks fly. Everything that you would anticipate, happens but not in the usual manner. It all unfolds with a visual brilliance and in a calm laid-back environment where every moment is choreographed with great care. There is a big twist before the interval which, again, you would have known because the title gives it away. 

The second half of the story is another chapter which takes place in picturesque Dalhousie. The climax itself is a poignant surprise even if you have known that the film is based on O. Henry’s short story ‘The Last Leaf’. There is solid cop and thief drama amidst stirring confrontations rendering a complete arc to the love story which was left incomplete in the first half. 

The absolutely gripping screenplay (Vikramaditya Motwane and Bhavani Iyer) is a fine piece of writing and the best thing it does is not to fall prey to any usual Bollywood pre-requisites. It brings back the charm of classical storytelling. Dialogues (Anurag Kashyap) and lyrics (Amitabh Bhattacharya) are befitting. 

The moviegoer who judges movies as ‘time-pass’ and considers an item-song as a value-for-money feature may find it slow or dragging. Today’s audience has almost forgotten to savor an unhurried pace. Second half could have been shorter by 15 minutes but if you are enjoying the detailing; the historic context to the political developments of the 50’s, references to old Hindi film music, the beautiful production design and the masterful con-plan of Varun, you would relish it to the core. 

Watch Lootera for all the reasons you can think of. Give yourself a chance to let its pace sink in. This is rare old wine, in a brand new bottle.

   Dinkar Sharma


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