CAST & CREW
“ Lootera” can be termed as a period film, set as it is against the background of rural Bengal of the 1950s. It, however, draws, at least partially, inspiration from the famous American author O’Henry’s short story ‘The Last Leaf’. The inspiration is, however, restricted only to the analogy of the last leaf and a dying girl, with the rest of the story being conceived by director Vicky Motwane himself, which also includes adding the role of the male protagonist itself.
Plot: The female protagonist in the film is Pakhi Roy Chaudhary played by Sonakshi Sinha, who stays with her Zamindar father (played by veteran Bengali actor Barun Chanda), in their ancestral home in picturesque Manikpur. One day Pakhi literally bumps into Varun Shrivastava (the character played by Ranveer Singh), who is an archaeologist wanting to explore the temple lands owned by the Roy Choudhury's. Impressed by his erudition and manners he is invited to stay with them. Varun is also an exceptional painter, and soon love grows between Pakhi and Varun with their common passion for art and literature. Varun also helps the family with the sale of family artefacts, necessitated by the dwindling economic conditions of zamindars.
While Varun is about to leave, he expresses his desire to marry Pakhi to her father, to which he readily agrees. Things do not, however, go as expected, as Varun leaves unexpectedly and without informing the family. The family finds out that he has decamped with all the treasure in the temple and also handed over all fake money for the artefacts sold. With the death of her father, Pakhi shifts to Dalhousie and is seen suffering from tuberculosis, but refuses to take up the case against Varun although the police plead with her.
Coincidentally, Varun and his friend land at Dalhousie at Pakhi’s premises for their next robbery. Having accidentally killed his friend and a policeman in the encounter that ensued, Varun seeks shelter at Pakhi’s house. Although not handing him over to the police, she resists his advances, explaining that she would die of tuberculosis once the last leaf has fallen from the dying tree next to her window. After seeing Pakhi’s plight, Varun decides against escaping and she herself also tends to forgive Varun. But soon Varun is shot down by the police, and it is revealed that each day Varun would draw an almost lifelike leaf and add to the tree just to boost Pakhi’s will to live. It was his final masterpiece.
Portraying a complex character, Ranveer performs excellently and not to be outdone, Sonakshi too has delivered so far her best performance. Adding to the overall brilliance of the film has been the very authentic performance of the entire supporting cast. However, the excellence of the film emerges from the skilful manner in which Motwane has handled the script, based on his own story line, and brought it up to a heart warming crescendo. The mood and tone of the story telling are compelling and almost on classic lines, ably accentuated by some brilliant cinematography of rural Bengal and picturesque Dalhousie. Not to be outdone, Arvind Trivedi’s musical score is outstanding for its authentic period flavour and haunting rural touch, completing the multi-dimensional virtuosity of the film.
Verdict: It is definitely a must see movie for all who like good cinema, and not necessarily only of the arty type.
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