Loot of a different Era

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 reFor 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.

14 thoughts on “Loot of a different Era

  1. zee says

    Whats with everybody and the slow thing.Any movie which Don’t follow the cliched Bollywood pattern is sidelined as slow.May be Bollywood films have conditioned us such that anything which is a bit unconventional is sidelined.For example lunchbox.

    Its not necessary that every movie shud have punch lines,songs,colorful sets ,or double meaning jokes or anything of that sort.Movies can also be subtle and still be entertaining but you shud give it a try and try to luk beyond the matka jhatka.

    I know now whats going to come my way”Are yaar hum picture time pass ke liye jaate hain itna sochna hai to paise de ke theater kyun jayein”

  2. Wasp

    Trivedi’s soundtrack gave me the goosebumps at one point. His music is not at all the in-your-face kind, but it was strangely very similar to Hans Zimmer’s Inception soundtrack (time). Nevertheless created the required effect.

    What a pleasure it was to know that Bollywood was still capable of class. Sick of the masala-Dabangg-styled movies. Hopefully we churn out more of such movies and get recognized at festivals like Cannes or Sundance for the right reasons (and not for the the usual parade of “brand ambassadors” down the red carpet).

  3. interceptor4

    one +ve point : Cinematography. The location are extremely awesome. Perhaps the director has seen BARFI

  4. interceptor4

    Really?? it was a pathetic movie. Ofcourse every movie need not be running .. but literally this one was sleeping !!
    And behold people… don’t even think try to engage in logic of movie towards the end. From the car breaking down to the hero finding heroines house in a whole damn city by coincidence… everything is super filmsy and double dipped in usual romance template of Bollywood.
    As i see, super admiration of this movie can come out of two facts:
    1.either you are a paid critic
    2.you are a Bengali who loved the dressing of Zamindar Sahib.

  5. rawsh

    i first fell head over heels in love with amit trivedi when i watched aamir long ago… what you said about his music making love to the film is the best way anyone could ever accurately describe his work. <3 kudos bruv!

    and yes, THIS is romantic… not DDLJ and DTPH. those were "adventures of the annoyingly noisy raj/rahul". which were annoying and noisy.

  6. colorofthoughts

    Many people I know did not like the movie at all. They thought it was slow… It’s been years since I’ve stopped watching Hindi movies (exceptions are there) but I may go for Lootera soon.
    Nice review!

  7. Mohua Roy

    Thank you Heartranjan, you have just now given me enough reasons to go and watch it tomorrow. Will get back to you after viewing.

    Regards Mohua

  8. Revati Sukumar

    Totally echos what I felt about this movie. Very well portrayed movie.. excellently adapted O’Henry’s short story.. Brought a smile to my face at the end of the movie 🙂

  9. Interpreter of conversations

    I have been so used to reading you shoot down Bollywood, I almost expected something on those likes once again. And regardless of how you have moved away from what seems to be your ‘signature’ reviews, this is a very nice read, Heartranjan. Liked it quite a bit. The review, I mean. 🙂


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