When I first saw the trailers of Lootera, I was elated at the fact that a period romance is finally being made by a director whose credentials are appreciable. Vikramaditya Motwane had engaged us thoroughly with his beautiful debut film – Udaan. His second venture, Lootera seemed equally different and interesting. With the picturesque beauty of the locations, music and the very tone of the movie, Lootera looked very promising in the trailers and songs that made their way to me until I saw the full movie.
Despite the melancholic beautiful cinematography of the movie, Lootera disappoints. And it disappoints at levels. The trailers, music, characters and settings – are all reminiscent of everything vintage, beautiful and subtle. But the movie offered nothing more than a few lovely songs and beautiful locations. For me, the narrative fails if a “tragic period romance” can’t evoke a sense of loss and brooding in me.
Also, the movie is inspired by O Henry’s The Last Leaf. Having read the short story, I feel the lack of depth in the presentation of that story in Motwane’s adaptation. There are a number of cinematic liberties that a director needs to take in order to adapt literature into film. But that does not include the liberty to rob the original story of its feel! I do not doubt Motwane’s calibre as a director but I feel it needed a more mature treatment in order to come up with a film rendition of such a sensitive story like The Last Leaf.
As far as the characters in the film are concerned, the protagonists have given fine performances but there’s a dearth of chemistry between the duo. (They look incredibly lovely only in the movie posters!) Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha) and Varun (Ranveer Singh) instantly fall for each other. They are deeply in love and yet there’s no moment in the whole movie when I could feel that longing in them. Even when Varun betrays Pakhi and leaves without any notice, one doesn’t feel her grief or his tragedy as lovers. The movie feels superficial even after being backed by very appropriate melancholic music and gloomy cinematography. The film couldn’t move me to tears even when both the protagonists are on the verge of dying and their love meets a tragic end.
I’ve heard people praise Lootera by calling it a beautiful “wet painting” or “poetry”. Have we become so used to the clichéd Bollywood films with loud dramatic sequences that anything subtle that comes our way is compared to being poetic or lyrical and thus good cinema? Lootera for me in a nutshell was – stunning locales, a strong supporting cast, charming characters, lovely songs but a very slow and drab love story. Having said that, I don’t have an issue with the pace of the movie as I went to watch Lootera with this aspect in mind since it is supposed to be a period romance. Why it disappointed me badly was even though the movie had most of the essential ingredients for the making of a peerless period romance, it went flat because the character built up and treatment of the story were very weak and so the movie wasn’t able to reach out to its audience. Being a drop dead romantic at heart, it takes immense courage for me to write so brutally about a love story I so wanted to love!
Image Source: IANS