Saturday, August 03, 2013

That Tuesday Thingy Review - Lootera.

I had to get back to serious blogging somewhere and when I kept seeing prompts for book reviews and movie reviews in the Blogeshwari group I joined recently (Yay! - Thanks to Afshan and Blogwati G for making me a part of the group) I had to chicken out - Books, I read many of - but unfortunately these days, their charm leaves me almost immediately so reviewing  them becomes a task. As that is not enough,  my partial amnesia kicks in pretty pathetically. Movies, I don't watch many to even think about reviewing. But recently, the IMax in our neighborhood started screening Bollywood movies and Bolly enthusiasts in my friends/family attempted successfully to drag me to watch not one, not two but 3 films in a three week span, out of which Lootera made the most impact. To mark my debut blog after becoming a part of the IndiBlogeshwaris, I try my hand at reviewing in my minds eye, the movie named Lootera - Please bear with my extensiveness or lack there off and back out right now if you plan on watching it and can do without a narration of the story :-P - Fair warning!!

Hmm...where do we begin???

The feel  - I am a big sucker for films that depict the past laden with a good dose of dramatics. The sepia tones of old classics had a magical effect on me ever since I was a child probably because the only genre my 'literary hero' dad enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) were those old classics. I remember how we always used to stay up late to catch on the "Purani Kalatmak feature films" aired on DD1. One reason why I loved Lootera is because it recreated the charm of an old story being told on celluloid. I was transformed back to the 50s - a decade in which my parents were babies and got the  feel of a Zamindaari estate - the costumes that would have been the vogue of that period, the way people would have carried themselves - the hospitality, the language - you name it and Lootera depicted it for me. I loved how the protagonist drives around in a vintage Chevrolet, clad in hand-loomed sarees of bright hues, presented with the aid of garishly yellow gold jewelry. The simplicity just struck me with great impact and that got me latched on to the narrative skills of the director Vikramaditya Motwani.

The Characters - Pakhi, the only child of a filthy rich Zamindaar, is a very well rounded woman (no pun intended) with interest in all things fine and fabulous from painting to writing. She is often seen hanging with her childhood friend, the daughter of their munim jee - and is shown doing the antics of a seven year old. All of which is very convincingly depicted without making them look forced or cheesy. Varun Srivastava - a young archaeologist with his good boy looks, tailored wardrobe, immaculately gelled hair (or is it oiled) and shaven face makes his way into the estate and the heart of Pakhi. I am not giving out more than the title does - which is the fact that he is a Lootera both literally and figuratively. The supportive characters are Pakhi's dad - two friends , one each for both the lead characters and odds and ends that appear fleetingly in the course of the lengthy movie.

The Actors - I didn't watch much of Sonakshi's works, except bits and pieces of her portrayal in Dabang 1 - as I was forcefully tied with my seat belt while flying the proverbial seven seas. I caught Ranveer singh on Netflix - again, not seriously enough to appraise his talent. Both the leads took me by surprise given their relatively 'new comer' status. Both of them, I think, stepped out of their almost typecast slots and delivered amazingly understated performances. Their chemistry is worth mentioning given the limitations of their proximity with each other during the storytelling process. Reinstates the fact that a couple could look like they belong together without falling all over each other. The other characters fit in with perfection, making me wonder if this was shot on candid cameras while people actually lived their lives. I think casting makes up for the better part of the movie and the director got it right on all counts.

The Music - And I mean the Lyrics and the music. For me, personally, the movie takes the 'off beat' status because there are no sing/dance sequences like our typical bollywood romantic movies. The music does its thing in the background, adding that magical allure to the visual being shown. The literature enthusiast in me was left devouring the lyrics as the scenes unfolded themselves on the screen. And as we speak, the numbers play in the background as a gentle reminder of the 'smittenness' I walked out with as I left the theater. For me, the music is what would stay with me, long after the feel of the film is buried in my unfathomable subconscious (poor memory). I hear rumors of the tunes being 'inspired' by some western numbers - which I care less about. Aren't we all some sort of 'inspirations' or the other? which brings me to my next sub heading incidentally.

The Inspiration - My biggest pet peeve - lack of originality! And I stumble into it more often than I would ideally prefer. It is the inborn critique in me (Virgo) or it could just be a coincidence - that I find most things a repeat of what was already read, felt or seen and Lootera didn't spare me from that encounter. When I was a child, I loved short stories with a vengeance. They are probably the reason why this bolg and this yearning to write exists today. Anton Chekov, O Henry, John Updike, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, our very own regional writers Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Raja Rao, Gurram Jashua etc left their permanent imprints on my passion for writing. O Henry's Last leaf haunts me till date. Lootera succesfully fits that piece into an unsuspecting screenplay. I don't know how it fits, or ties up to make the length of the movie acceptable, but it does with similar magic O Henry had created over a century ago and that redeems my loathe for 'inspirations' or blatant copies in the name of just that! On retrospect, I left with a feeling that 'inspirations' are not all that bad - when served with the right amount of originality of your own. So life does continue - as an inspiration or a concoction of creativity and inspiration. Either way, I didn't, for once, crib about it.

The Technicalities - Costumes - check, locales - check, casting - check, cinematography - check, screenplay - check, stunts - check! Anything else that I must have left out - Check, check and one more check! :)

The Consensus - I'll now tie it all up with one visionary - and don't throw rotten eggs and tomatoes at me - cause the visionary in question is none other than our telly queen Ekta Kapoor - Ever watched her talk? I do ever so often and fall in love with her personality. Yes, the confident, unapologetically arrogant personality. I think Ekta thinks beyond her years and whether one likes her or loathes her, one cannot ignore her presence in the entertainment scene today. Balaji did hit the bulls eye with Lootera as far as I am concerned. Ekta managed to produce a film without any commercial elements - no sub plots, no steamy item numbers, no comedy track and no bells and whistles that today's movies demand. The journey from remote Bengal to Delhousie holds the interest of the viewer sans all these ammunition. That my friends, is a feat in itself - Go watch it with a loved one. It is a breather from your run of the mill bollywood movies and is an original wrapped in an inspiration through and through! :)


  1. I am going to watch it now. :) I had dropped the idea of watching it earlier because of Ranvir Singh :-P but your review of the movie, kind of, compels me to watch it :D

  2. I did love this movie completely and the songs play on my loop till today. I came to your post because I did a review for this movie myself, on my blog. Thanks :)

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