Out Now On-Demand
Set in 1953, this Bollywood romance follows archaeologist Varun (Ranveer Singh), who excavates the temple grounds of the local Zamindar (Indian aristocrat). His knowledge and experience impresses the Zamindar’s only daughter Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), triggering a romance. But when Varun’s past rears its head, he disappears, leaving Pakhi to struggle with the daunting task of moving on.
Rating: M Violence
Hindi with English subtitles
Lootera is director Vikramaditya Motwane’s second directorial effort after Udaan which debuted at Cannes in 2011.
It is a love story inspired by O. Henry’s short story The Last Leaf and set in the early 1950s in West Bengal. Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), the only daughter of a rich zamindar landlord, falls in love with a visiting archaeologist Varun (Ranveer Singh) and they almost get married before there is a betrayal.
As if in protest against the current trend of young, fast love stories set within urban or small town India, Lootera goes back in time to tell a slow-paced, old-fashioned romance in a painterly way. It pays tribute to the pop culture and politics of the time - or tries to, because not only is this approach superficial but because after its intermission the film goes downhill like a heavy rock from a long cliff.
Beautifully-shot frames and a half decent score do not equal a good film if it cannot engage the audience emotionally. There are many things that don’t work from gaping loopholes in the script to costumes, jewellery, music that do not fit the era, bad CGI and, most importantly, utter lack of subtext. The slow pace is not to blame at all.
It is a pity because the Indian audience is ready for experiments within mainstream commercial cinema provided filmmakers do not undermine its intelligence.