There are films that leave such an impact on you that one wonders whether he/she should even write a review for it. Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘Lootera’ is one such film. Calling it a film would probably be a deep injustice to it – it is nothing short of poetry on celluloid. ‘Lootera’ puts a dagger through the heart, makes it bleed profusely and then smears the elixir called love all over it.
Adapted from O’Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf’, Vikramaditya Motwane renders his Midas touch to ‘Lootera’, and like so many of his film’s frames, bathes it in the golden rays of the sun. Motwane has proved with his second film after ‘Udaan’, that he is here to stay – and forever.
Set in 1953, in a small village called Manikpur in West Bengal, ‘Lootera’ begins. And from the first frame of the film, a spell is cast. With Durga Puja in the backdrop and scenes from the Ramayana being enacted a la Jatra (a form of folk theatre prevalent in Bengal), the Roy Chaudhuri family is introduced to us.
Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), a young, beautiful girl lives with her father, the erstwhile Zamindar (played by Barun Chanda). Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh), an architect, comes to Manikpur with his friend Dev (Vikrant Massey) in his quest for finding out a lost civilisation. Pakhi and Varun’s stolen glances metamorphose into love – but Varun faces the inevitability of breaking her heart and going away. The journey of these star-cross’d lovers is what forms the basic premise of ‘Lootera’.
Casting two actors who are known for anything but subtlety is a huge risk that the director had taken. And it pays off – every bit so. If Sonakshi has to her credit films like ‘Rowdy Rathore’, ‘Dabangg’ and ‘Son of Sardaar’ – each one of which is known for only its masala content, Ranveer is known for his brash, Dilli-da-launda-ish roles in ‘Band Baaja Baarat’ and ‘Ladies vs Ricky Bahl’. Nobody – I re-assert – nobody might have been able to believe that these were the two people playing Pakhi and Varun. While the former is at times shy, revels in stealing glances and gazing at her beloved, the latter is soft-spoken, respectable, the epitome of chivalry.
Sonakshi Sinha steps into the shoes of Pakhi and lets her character overpower everything else. Ranveer Singh leaves innumerable jaws down at the navel-level with his performance. Never for a moment does one feel that these are actors who are just about a handful films old in the industry. For both the leads, ‘Lootera’ is that life-defining watershed that every actor sees himself/herself achieve somewhere in the course of his/her journey to stardom.
The supporting cast is extremely commendable and helps boost the acting of the leads. Veteran Bengali actor Barun Chanda plays Pakhi’s doting father to excellence. Vikrant Massey, Varun’s friend, with his love for Dev Anand, plays his part really well. Added to that, is the impeccable performance of Adil Hussain as the police officer. Divya Dutta and Arif Zakaria, in their short roles, are very impressive.
Coming to the most beautiful part of the film – the cinematography – Mahendra J Shetty deserves a standing ovation. From the rural landscape of Bengal to the sun setting somewhere on the boundless fields to the pristine white snow in Dalhousie to the last leaf on Pakhi’s tree – every frame of ‘Lootera’ is a delight to the eyes. Without the DoP, a lot of the film would have been insipid.
Amit Trivedi’s music is utterly charming and numbers like ‘Sawaar loon’, ‘Monta re’, ‘Shikayatein’ – each of the songs, to be precise, is lovely.
However, there are those extremely overlook-able glitches and a few moments where the pace drops a bit, but the film is alive in the beauty of its silences.
Four and a half from me for Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘masterpiece’. And this one – to be honest, transcends even his hero’s one – the last leaf!