Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan was the film of the year for me.
However, I had known before watching it that it was adapted from the story of Anurag Kashyap, and with him involved in the writing, I knew that it wouldn’t be bad at all. Also, Udaan was an unconventional story, and when you make an unconventional story in a cliched industry like Bollywood, you have the entire world open in front of you.
I was curious to see Lootera because I have always believed that it is tougher to make a genre movie. Especially when characters break into songs every half an hour – be it out of love, lust, anger, or depression. Would it be possible to create a romance (having set it in the 50’s, to boot) that will not seem asinine?
And I am not really a fan of romantic films. Barring Annie Hall and Notting Hill, I have never really connected with a romantic film, as I find the lines too corny, and the premise laughable.
But two minutes into Lootera, I slipped into my seat comfortably.
When Varun, an archaeologist arrives at a zamindar’s house, it is not his boots you see first. His boots, his pant, his belt, his shirt, his neck, his eyes, and his face. No.
Lootera begins on sound footing, drawing you into its world. A world that is captured lovingly by Mahendra J. Shetty. A world that is untouched by democracy and its many benefits and failings. A world that is independant, yet dormant. The world of the zamindar who knows that times are changing.
Before we know it, we smile at what is frothing – a slender romance. Like the ones we felt at high school. The soft tickle of a glance, the victory of a snide remark reaching its target.
Amid the loud exaggeration that we are used to, here the magic lies in chemistry that arises from smart dialogues, just the way it should be.
The film benefits from performances by the cast. While Ranvir Singh and Barun Chanda play their roles to perfection, it is Sonakshi Sinha who stands out.
She has very distinct looks, and Lootera uses it to the hilt. There are no shots attempting to cover her forehead, or make her look chic in shorts. The camera grazes over her sensuously at times, and hopelessly during others.
Much is being said about Trivedi being the next Rahman. There are years to go for him, of course. But there is a clear difference between the two.
Rahman’s music is like powerful and gigantic. It looms over the film like a colossus. If the film lives up to the music, it is a spectacle. If the film doesn’t, it cuts a very sorry figure. Like Sachin hitting a marvelous century, only for India to lose the match.
Amit Trivedi’s music, however, is never larger than the film itself. When it works well, the music makes love to the film, blending together to form moments of cinematic magic. Like in Udaan, the greatest thing about Amit Trivedi’s music is that you don’t really notice it after a point. It is part of the narrative, part of what is unfolding.
And yet, it is not overbearing. Moments of silence are interrupted by beautiful pieces of music – from the Sawaar Loon to the ektara in Monta re. For the connoisseurs, the film doffs its hat to the film of the era.
Lootera is a Bollywood romance that doesn’t make you cringe while watching it. Making DDLJ and Dil Toh Pagal Hai seem like badly done Doordarshan soap operas.
Go watch Lootera. Before it gets outcharmed by Despicable Mitu, or run over by the Flying Sikh next week.
Some will complain that it is slow. But then, not every film has to be fast paced. It’s not a race.
At least, Lootera doesn’t seem to be running in it.