Friday, July 05, 2013

Lootera (लूटेरा) my 1 min review

First things first. Sonakshi Sinha is beautiful, and in this film, has delivered a performance that marks her out as the best actress among her contemporaries. Ranveer Singh is suave and brooding by turns. The film itself has charms that are rare in today’s Hindi cinema. It harks back to a world of grace that is no more. There is quietness and slowness, restraint and melody. It is lovely to watch.

And yet, I left the theatre disappointed. 

The words ‘film industry’ speak of the conjunction of two very different worlds: film, which is art, and industry, which is technology and business. Most of the big new releases these days get the industry bit right. The parts are all manufactured to high quality and precision; the locations are perfect, the sets are excellent, the cinematography is just right, and the sound is appropriate, at the least.  

But you can’t manufacture soul in any factory. And that’s where film after film falters or fails.

Lootera tried to borrow its soul from one of the greatest short stories of all time, a little gem by O’Henry. This was grafted onto another story, about the lonely daughter of a Bengali zamindar in the 1950s. That is a world whose cadences were captured masterfully by Satyajit Ray in films like Jalsaghar and Charulata. 

Vikramaditya Motwane and Anurag Kashyap have managed to bring back some of those cadences into Lootera. They have managed to infuse the perfect body of their film with some borrowed soul. For this, I am more than happy: I am grateful. My disappointment is about the failure of imagination that drives Bollywood’s best talents to go about their business like the Thieving Magpie - also the name of an opera by Rossini whose music has been used in Lootera - to build their films.

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