Lootera ne band kiya muh mera!

No, No. Shotgun didn’t pop up at the screening to boom out ‘KHAAMOSHHHH’ at me! 😀 I’m just amazed that cinema at its simplistic best, with minimal dialogue but heaps of an intoxicating old-world charm, could weave its magic on a chatter-box like me and render me speechless.

Ok, so, Ranveer falls off his bike and glares malevolently at SonHATHI. 😆 He suspects the mini elephant and not her car is who tossed him into the ditch! 😆 😆 😆

Thus begins Vikramaditya’s second directorial outing, Lootera. A vintage romance set in the early 50s where India is not the only one who’s liberated herself 😛 There’s Sonakshi, the virginal daughter of a Zamindar in Manikpur, WB, who’s also mighty eager to liberate herself sexually with the charismatic stranger who’s stormed into their lives.

It’s all done in a nice way, though. Not wantonly…remember Vidya Balan in Parineeta? 😮 There was something so pure about their gentle lip-lock and when the leads consummated their relationship just as tenderly, it was nothing short of orgasmic! 😉 Painting by day and panting at night! 😆 😆 😆

Alas! Ranveer ditches Sonakshi at the altar! 😦 No wonder the ladies are still against Dicky Ball! 😆 But what I suspect happened here is he broke a bone or two when the heavyweight champion wrestled him in bed! 😆 😆 😆 He limps out of the plot having stolen what he’d come for. He also inadvertently robs Sonakshi of her capability to love and to live.

The apparent callousness of his gesture proves to be too much for her old father. He’s next in line to desert her by departing for a world that knows no deceit. To complicate matters, there’s a debilitating illness racking Sona’s violated body,but strangely, she feels no pain. She’s survived the worst pain of them all. That which arises out of having your heart broken! The clock is ticking and the warm glow of life is seeping out of her soul, slowly and steadily.

Overnight, the vivid hues of zestful Bengal become overwhelming – the azure lakes, the verdant forests, the golden fields, the dusty gullis. Life has been stripped of all colour. Now all that appeals to the defunct painter within is the starkness of Dalhousie. A La Jab We Met!

I might be digressing but the characters of Pakhi and Geet are almost like mirror images of each other. Both women child-like, both spurned in love, both scurry to the Himalayan foothills hoping to vanish into oblivion, both opt for a drab life as if to punish themselves for being jolly and vibrant earlier, both render gut-wrenching performances that make the audience root for them…..

Anyway, Dalhousie has been captured in the throes of winter, the stark white perfectly exposing Sona’s colorless existence. She’s working on a book, something to keep her busy in the last days. Like Johnsy in O’Henry The Last Leaf, she is painfully aware of the leaves that are fast disappearing and before the last leaf follows suit, she must achieve the very last goal of her life.

By a quirky twist of fate, a year later, the last person she’d like to see makes an unexpected reappearance and topples the apple cart one more time. Will the con artist turn into a master artist? Can he go out of his comfort zone to deceive a pro like her by painting a very believable likeness of the last leaf? That leaf that braves all odds so that she too will derive enough hope and a zest for life to follow suit. Can he make adequate amends in the life of the woman he faulted so gravely? This sets the course for the remainder of the story.

Coming over to the acting. I found Ranveer’s performance to be quite stilted. If you’ve watched how unrestrained he was in Band Baaja Baaraat, you’ll know just how inhibited he seemed in Ladies V/s Ricky Bahl. And that was a role he could have had so much fun with!

Sonakshi is first-rate as Pakhi. Heeding her father’s advice, she’s stayed ‘Khamossshhhh’ through most of the film. The strategy seems to have paid off as her silences have conveyed so much more meaning to the proceedings. I loved the vulnerability she exposed when she begs Ranveer to profess just a little love for her in return, when she pleads with him to meet her..achcha aaj nahi toh kal??? Accha toh phir parso??? For a woman of her time to disregard her dignity so is a big deal and it tugged at my heartstrings. This is Sonakshi’s film all the way. It really should have been named Looteran! This woman steals your breath away…and your heart…that effortlessly!

As for the cinematography, I have just two words for it. Top-notch! Lootera is to films what The Last Leaf is to prose! If that ain’t a compliment, I don’t know what is! It truly is one of the few poignant love stories that offers complete closure thereby satiating you fully. Watch it if you’ve ever experienced love in its truest form…or even if you haven’t!

BELOW: When life robs of you of everything worth living for, there’s still hope to see you through!