Coming to a film without any prior knowledge of the director’s earlier work sometimes can truly mean that ignorance is bliss. Whilst the rest of the world holds Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera sternly under the microscope to compare it to his debut film, I bask in blissful ignorance having not seen his earlier film. I have nothing to compare it to and therefore reflect on the Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh starrer only on the basis of its merit and nothing else.
Motwane brings to the screen a lesser heard analysis of life post independence. In particular he highlights the life of the zamindar’s who were the most esteemed personalities in society during the British Raj and who in the face of independence now surrender everything they’ve earned in their lifetime. Lootera explores the life of these zamindars, their families, the posing threats to their livelihood and the emerging illegal private markets that take advantage of post independence India.
Embeded amongst all of the above is an innocent love story that finds itself lost amongst all these calamities. Two people find themselves in love at the worst time possible. Their trials and tribulations and of course, the ultimate destination of their love story is what Vikramaditya Motwane attempts to bring to life.
Two young actors step far out of the comfort zone with Lootera, into a world of cinema unknown to them, and perhaps unknown to the majority of audience members. One succeeds more than the other in their bold foray and that would be Sonakshi Sinha. She delivers a completely uninhibited performance that sweeps you away into Pakhi’s world. The role is hardly about screaming dialogues and loud body language. Beauty of how Pakhi has been written lies in the subtleties. Her body language and her expressions do most of the talking, literally because Vikramaditya seems to favor the lack of dialogues in a scene. She’s given a mere 1/2 sec shot to bring across her disdain or confusion or some other emotion, with no words to aid and nails it each time. The same cannot be said about her co-star Ranveer Singh how excels mostly when aided with powerful lines but fails to make the same impact Sonakshi does when left with no words. No doubt he delivers his finest performance till date but it definitely cannot be denied that the portrayal left a lot to be desired. Although it is to be noted that he was marginally better in the second half especially in the sequences leading up the film’s conclusion. Vikrant Massey of TV’s Qubool Hai delivers a stellar performance in a supporting role ans steals the scene at numerable times.
Although not qualified in the slightest bit to comment on the technicalities of the film I cannot help but mention that cinematographer Mahendra Shetty painted a beautiful picture that you simply wanted to get lost inside. In addition one cannot overlook the phenomenal contribution to the film that was made by Amit Trivedi in the form of a flawless background score. As I mentioned earlier, Vikramaditya Motwane favored the ability to get his message across to the audience without the aid of any dialogues which he does effectively for great lengths of time however it wouldn’t have been accomplished as smoothly had their not been the background score that the film had. And whilst I emphasize on the brilliant ability of the film to move you with its lack of dialogues, that is definitely not to take away from the brilliant job Anurag Kashyap did in writing them. His grasp of the Hindi language continues to blow me away.
Apart from the shortcomings of Ranveer’s performance the film could have benefited from a tighter screenplay in the first half. In essence a very profound love story, the development of Pakhi and Varun’s character perhaps didn’t require so many scenes in the first half. You feel this more so because it is the second half that truly highlights the beauty of their relationship and also the chemistry then is to a new level altogether. To pick faults in Lootera is truly a nifty task and whist they are no doubt present in the film, they hardly prevent the film from doing what it set out to do. The impeccable second half that ensures that.
Like anything Lootera too has room for improvements but I cannot negate the fact that at the heart of the film lies quality. Every element has been well thought out and presented which makes the viewing of the film a rewarding experience. To just say that this one comes highly recommended from my end would be an understatement.