Lootera – Sanwaar Lo Sanwaar lo

Posted: July 5, 2013 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, film review, movie reviews, reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap did AMA on Reddit yesterday. Someone asked him about the state of Indian film criticism. His reply in one word was “terrible”. Well, it doesn’t take much brains to figure this out. Open the papers on Friday and you can see it all over. Not to mention the reviews by trade analysts which industry endorses most vehemently, and who then manipulates box office updates accordingly, the ones with agendas other than films, and then there are the paid and the plugged ones. It’s routine now. Nobody is shocked or surprised. And that’s the worst thing to happen – to get used to it.

With social media getting prominence and becoming at least some kind of parameter to get audience reaction, the game of making a “perceptive hit or classic” starts days before the release. You are blinded by the blitzkrieg, a kind of emperor’s new clothes. And journos who are suppose to tell you otherwise, they are happy to get their pictures clicked with the stars. Well, why am i ranting? Because today is friday. Because a bigger rant follows this one. And because we have always been accused of being biased for/against some films and filmmakers. Not to mention being branded contrarian for the sake of it. From saying Talaash works best when you know the spoiler to defending Shyamalan’s latest to liking Raanjhanaa’s 2nd half more to Ghanchakkar being not that bad what critics are saying. Here’s the latest one in the series – on Lootera. And am saying this even though i liked lot of things in the film, especially the 2nd half. And you have to watch it because it’s made by the same filmmaker who gave us Udaan.

So watch the film and come back to the post. Though it’s a spoiler free and you can read before watching the film too. This one is by a new author called Nicolas Bourbaki. Familiar? You will get to know him soon.


Warning – this is NOT a review of the film. This is a rant. A wannabe brilliant piece in support of brilliant cinema and stemming from the rangat of self conceit. And even though it doesn’t have spoilers, it is recommended to not read this piece of crap before watching the film.

It’s 1.30 am in my bedroom. I’m alone sitting by the almirah with the king sized mirror. I look at my reflection. I have pain anguish angst remorse guilt redemption realization hope despair despondency writ all over my face. The fan whirls 7 ft above my head. It’s a second hand cheap 800 rupees fan which makes a whirrring noise. No PSPO unlike the film I saw. Bedbugs trouble me. I look at my freckled face. Time stands still unhealed by pain and unfettered by the nocturnal twists and turns of a solitary night. Half a drop of tear rolls over my eyelid, brimming over, somewhat reluctant to fall down. Yet it knows, and it can feel my melancholia. It knows it must fall down. But will it or will it not ?

आँसुओं की किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ता हो तो ऐसी हो

Please bear with me dear reader. This is not another synopsis of Ship of Theseus.

What a brilliant film!

Brilliant cinematography. Such gorgeous frames. Color schemes which would guarantee taciturn unconditional approval by Kie-slow-iski. Yellow when the mood is prosperous. White when characters are fighting inner demons. Dark interiors for people with dark circles. Transitions from Puja/Ramleela fervor to fever-ish asthma attacks that Baradwaj Rangan would love to write thesis & books on. Aesthetics which are carefully calibrated to the exact precision so well that Light appears to meticulously obey both Particle & Wave theory simultaneously at the director (and DOP’s) will.

When the characters come to kiss each other in a Terrance Malick-ian way, there is just about enough background flare to make the moment surreal, yet real without the hyper reality of the scene underscoring the cinematic liberties. Equality Fraternity. That’s the French revolution all the way till 2008’s Entre Les Murs (Class) – maybe the director’s favorite film that year. Sheer class!

Breaths. Pauses. Stays. Beats. Playback songs. Measured. Sure. Nimble footed. Sometimes hurried. Sometimes slow. Asphyxiating. Liberating. Gesticulating. Pontificating. Prepossessing. Repossessing.

“चार बाल सामने चाहिए. सिर्फ़ चार बाल! मुझे एकदम Natural look चाहिए. बिल्कुल made up नही”.” – Steven Kapoor said.

“मैं पिछली picture का print Tirupati (Balaji) ले जाना भूल गया था. इसी लिए नही चली थी” – the producer from Ludhiana reasoned with him.

I suddenly observe. Snowflakes are falling on me. यारी रोड में बर्फ बारी ? हौले हौले धीमे धीमे. I quickly wear my color co-ordinated sweater and stand up with my arms folded out like Andy Dufrene. Epiphany striked, symphony plays – Costume Design and Art Direction should have had top billing over writer/director’s credit.

I scribble my review on a piece of paper with a Chinese fountain pen dipped in a दवात. Then tear it apart. Then do a for-next loop until fade out.

What a performance by the father (Barun Chanda). Ranveer Singh restrains in restraining himself while Sonakshi Sinha has all the reasons to have my sympathy. But for some strange reason my sympathies lie with my bums, which have been lying motionless for over the 2 hours, uninvolved, dis interested, dazed, waiting for a jump in my seat moment, a lump in the throat, a mournful sigh. They perhaps demand too much as they get only assiduously created multi-textured verisimilitude along with a velvet touch of a fabric. Kora kagaz tha yeh bum mera…..

I wanted to cry, to laugh, to be angry, nervously bite my nails, fight with the irritating uncle with the kid asking them to shut up instead of searching for adjectives to define the craft. Even some of the later films directed by Santosh Sivan were … (space left intentionally for background music).

Even a gunshot wound has been brilliantly (decorated) created with 50 shades of grey. Nerolac Nerolac Nerolac! Waah miyaan Henry! Life is a tale told by an idiot. All sound and fury. Signifying nothing. Like this rant perhaps.

As the song goes – (har ek frame ko) Sanwaar loon, Sanwaar loon.

(PS – And now the media blitzkrieg begins. All I can muster up is this –

लबों के सिलवटों से उप्पर सिकुड़ी हुई छोटी सी एक नाक है

रूह ही ना डाली पिक्चर पोस्टकार्ड में तो फिर खुजली मज़ाक है)

(PPS – what’s well shot, needs editing, slow pace and blah blah blah? Here you go.

  1. Rohwit says:

    Ok now let me narrate something here. Was about to post it but then not even 2 ppl read my blog so here it is

    Once upon a time, I got a call from “some company guy” who wanted me to ‘review’ their own film music before they made it public. I agreed. Then that ‘someone’ said…(before giving the music)…hey you know it sounds very S.D. Burman-ish and blah blah and hey you can meet the composer (I love that composer) also and then review the music. I smelled fish and backed out. Pehley music do fir baaki baat.

    Cut to

    I read a newspaper article that spoke of ‘same’ film ka music as very S.D. Burman-ish!

    So bachchon, kya seekha humney?

  2. Only article on Lootera that makes sense..
    I was going to watch the movie before I glanced through the review of Raja Sen.
    Changed my mind after reading his mumbo jumbo. Not going to spend money on this. Internet zindabaad

  3. tejeshwar says:

    I agree with what all is written in the review or the rant as you called it……. Saw the film this morning, the first show itself, had been eagerly waiting for it. Beautiful Film and aesthetically so well made …The second half has that kieslowski kind of feel to it with all that coldness( tone ), blues focussing more on the inner world of the characters rather than the intrusion of the external…Feels like a totally different space..

  4. Rohan Singh says:

    The director of the film has a ‘Script Club’ where he helps (allegedly) filmmakers make their script better along with many of his famous friends. Clearly he did not send his own script to the club.
    My biggest grouse with the Director is why did he have to go back to making a script written in 2005. Why will you want to tell a ghisi piti love story. Sure there is some great craft at display but Hindustan kay cinema mein kahaani craft sey zyaada important hai. I just hope all the negative comments make Vikram not make a film IMRAN can’t Act Khan.

  5. duke says:

    In this not so subtle dig at ak and phantom and craft vs content.. Frustrated observers like snob and his ilk could have included another comment from ak in the amA yesterday.. Pre release blitz is prostitution , he hates it but still does it.. And why drag him into it and not motwane? Its his film right… Khamkah ak ko ungal kar ke footage khani hai.. Tum picture dekho unhe banane do..Srk kjo film pimp kare to p&a strategy and roi, yeh kare to twitter overload..bhak

  6. Vivek says:

    ‘Good performances, superb art direction / cinematography, poor writing / direction, boring film. But this is not a review, its a rant because I can bitch about it in ishtyle. And take so many people’s in one post. Also I have a right to judge and opine but cannot believe others liked it so much, that HAS to be agenda, especially as powerful people are backing it.’
    Arre kaunsa chaar reviewers ke bolne se ya box office par kuchh kar dikhaane se koi film ‘classic’ ho jaati hai. You and me, we all have our own ‘classics’.
    Anyway, all the negative reviews lowered my expectations and I ended up liking the film. Connected emotionally and lingers still. That’s all I want for myself from a film.

  7. Di says:

    LOL review! Mast hai.

  8. niranjan shah says:

    lovely frames does not a love story make.

    this was one of the most boring films of the year, and one of the films I’ve felt the most disengaged in. just because it has beautiful production and is paced deliberately (read slowly) doesn’t make it an epic. this terrible, contrived script is an unworthy follow up to the organic & powerful udaan.

  9. Amit says:

    Spoilers ahead – Just saw the movie and don’t know where else to rant.. loved the frames, camerawork, lighting, aesthetics.. the second half is surreal with all that snowing.. have been to kalatop but its a different beast in snowing conditions.. beautifully captured..anyways couldn’t understand a few things – why would Motwane decide to divulge the background of Ranveer much earlier than required with all that Chacha talk (which I thought was one helluva lousy excuse!). Interval would have been an ideal point to reveal his true intent. That would have much more impactful. And I’m not even going into their actual plan (treasury department, fake currency, tunnel, etc. – looks like all Oceans from 11 to 14 combined). And second half wasn’t convincing for me. Took a few too many easy way out. And why would you unnecessarily drag in O. Henry’s short (and that too literally!) when Sonakshi towards the end is not even bothered to check the last leaf (she just happens to look at it casually!). Looks like she herself wasn’t convinced about the simplistic life-in-a-parrot fuss. However, the movie kept me engaged and it was anything but boring to me.

  10. Vikram says:

    Seems like I’m only coming on this blog to clarify and defend…

    Rohwit – Humney ye seekha ki when the director introduces you to the company guy and the company guy tries to fuck you over, you tell the director so he can sort it out.

    Rohan Singh – yes, me and a few of my ‘famous’ (really?!) friends run a script club every sunday. It’s open to everyone who’s willing to get their script read and given feedback on. None of the feedback is force-fed, it’s just an opinion that you can use or lump. Some have loved the sessions, some have hated it, some have hated it first and then loved it later, and some don’t accept that they have flaws in their scripts. Each to their own.
    As far as Lootera is concerned, I chose the ghisa-pita bollywood story (again, really?!?! – you should hear the bolly types describe it) because I believed in it and wanted to tell it. That’s it. Yes, it is a flawed script and I wish I had put it into the script club because it would have been better. But it wasn’t active then. Started only 6 months ago.

    Amit – good points all and I have reasons and rebuttals for all of them but too long for now, some other time.

    Bourbaki – I know who you are. You should have posted under your own name. At least you’d be able to look me in the eye the next time we meet. Don’t mind the criticism. Hate the pretence of innocence.

    • Nicolas Bourbaki says:

      guilty as charged completely. glad of you to have commented here. But unlike everyone else… wish you look beyond the name…. we work in an industry where not everyone is cool when names are taken. Sometimes Discretion is the better part of valor….it was NEVER about hiding from you because the usual suspects have known it all along

      • Vikram says:

        AK slamming Black in his own name, knowing the repercussions, is valor.

        This isn’t.

        Nobody knows you Bourbaki. Continue to do this and you’ll become ‘THAT guy who wants to make films but doesn’t have the balls to criticise openly’. Nobody will trust you. Nobody will respect you.
        Grow a pair and get your head out of your ass. Stand by what you believe in. You will make enemies but you will also make friends who believe in what you have to say.

        I don’t know Fadnavis at all but atleast I trust him to be critical of me to my face. I respect that a lot.

        You I know. That makes this worse.

        • Vikram, I haven’t seen the film yet so can’t comment on whether i agree with Bourbaki or not.

          But the idea here is to have a collective of writers, all writing under the name Bourbaki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Bourbaki) just to be anonymous and criticize without getting into too many bad books. There is no heroism in this name, just a bit of cheap-thrill, a bit of saving-the-writer from the wrath of this mostly humorless industry, and a collective responsibility of editors and major contributors on this forum.

          The plan is to continue with this ‘character’, and anybody who has a well-reasoned contrarian view on any cinema, can submit under this name.

          In this particular case, as Bourbaki said, there was no intent of hiding from you. The intent was hiding from the rest (no heroism as i said earlier), and starting a new character for all such future posts. We are all Bourbaki. Or we will be someday.

          • Vikram says:

            “There is no heroism in this name” —> “We are all Bourbaki”

            You answered it. I’m speechless.

            So you guys are the Alan Smithees of critics…

    • Anonymous says:

      @Vikram – The script club is a great thing you have started however there is a flipside to it. Suppose someone you don’t like(or really know well) comes to you and your friends, will you guys be able to be objective? From all the stories I have heard it seems you people ‘also’ react to the person rather than ‘only’ written material. I’m glad you accept the script could have been better. The next film I believe you are making has a great story. I’m sure the writing will be Udaan level now that Lootera is a success. (Im sure that buys you a lot of time). Even if there is a remote possibility then do reconsider the casting of Imran Khan. Agreed he is a star who is earnest and hardworkig but im sure you are also aware of his limited acting capabilities. It may be tough to make it without hin but trust me there would be enough people ready to put money just on your and AK’s credentials. You Don’t need IK. Make a film with the other IK I would say :p

      • Vikram says:

        Stop listening to stories and try it out yourself.

        There are only two guys who walked away bitching – one who had been working on a script (that was ripped off the back cover of a novel) for the past FIVE years with TWO writers, and still didn’t have a complete first draft.
        The other who came with a half baked story and thought he had a masterpiece.

        And both of them were guys I knew pretty well.

        We’re not judgemental on people, only on scripts. There are a bunch of others who’ve walked away very happy and have decided to come back with their second drafts. Yes, we are tough on writers, but if you can’t stomach criticism you shouldn’t be a writer.

        Not going to get into the IK issue. Wait for the film.

        • Rohan Singh says:

          @vikram Aah well..I guess i’ll have to hope to be proved wrong. He proved me wrong once with a good performance in EMAET. I hope the same happens here (now that you have made up your mind)!
          And about the club..well..in an industry where no one wants to read scripts at least you people make an effort to actually read..that in itself is worth praising. As per me. No thanks. i’d also want to make my films without taking to the club. #LikeLootera 😉 (You can smile Vikram, for a change. You don’t always have to be serious :D)

  11. rahulandrd says:

    Now @cilemasnob have an agenda against Anurag kashyap. Please grow up guys.

    • moifightclub says:

      @rahulandrd – this is the problem. i/we go gaga over any film that AK is associated with, we are his mouthpiece. We don’t like anything that AK is associated with, then we have an agenda against him. what’s this agenda for and against someone? Heck even AK thinks that just because the industry thinks we are his mouthpiece or close to him, so we criticise his films intentionally just to show off that we are not really his boys, we got balls to show. this is utterly frustrating. why is it difficult to understand that the only agenda is cinema. also, MFC has about a dozen authors who all have the login and password and can write anything they want – for and against. Nobody stops anyone. Like me and Fatema never agree on any film. And she has all the freedom to write whatever she feels like. As for outsiders also, anyone can contribute, anything that’s interesting and worth putting on the blog, we put it. again no one man show.

      as for AK, The Lunchbox co-produced by him is one of the best films of the year. So, go figure if i/we have an agenda for or against him.

  12. felinei says:

    how to get access to the scriptclub???

  13. @Vikram … since you do visit this blog … taking a chance … did you ever think about making this film in black and white ? i know you would never have found a producer possibly … but did you as the story teller ever think so ?

    also … your interview in pune times did explain the bengali connection … but going back … why jamshedpur ??? never got that answer !!!

    Have written a long rant about Lootera … really liked the film … but completely loved it for bringing back some personal memories …

    • Vikram says:

      Would have loved to do it in black and white but I think my producers would have shot me first. Me and Shetty kept joking through shooting that we will just surprise everyone on the first screening with a black and white print but we never followed through.

      Jamshedpur happened because of Imtiaz Ali. He read the script and insisted I go there and check it out. I did, stayed with his parents, loved the place. Therefore…

  14. Santosh says:

    I think some of you hurling accusations against the script club is highly unfair.i did take my script to the script club and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. i didn’t exactly get rave reviews so I am not biased towards them. Infact all the criticism I got helped me a great deal to tighten the screenplay.It’s just how you process it.Here are a bunch of fairly busy film industry professionals who spend a couple of hours first reading a screenplay then spending another 3-4 hours on a Sunday giving a filmmaker/writer constructive criticism. The best thing about it..It’s free!!! Maybe if they charged a bomb for it,like what script consultants in LA do, they might be given more credibility.

  15. duke says:

    Sonakshi is a rock star .. Not a note wrong I’m first half.. Ranbir could not shed his carefree persona though he tried so hard.. Second half could have been edited a little bit.. And the rant in this article is full of agenda.. Udaan and lootera two first movies any of these wannabes will kill to have on their cvs, something like this in a film festival they will see and go gaga, u test their patience a LITTLE bit on a Friday night buggers start complaining , chrome nahi tha, grainy tha and whatnot..

  16. AA says:

    Speaking of the state of film critics. You guys been blaming them for being ‘bikau’/sold, but I have yet to see anyone blame the filmmakers for being a sell out. The whole movie ‘Yeh Jawani….’ is a sell out and people were taken on the ride all the way to the bank with it, but does anyone care? I could not find a single authentic dialog or scene in it. It was all a sell out for the tourism industry and the corporate business of a certain web venture selling travel accommodations to the young and recent rich diaspora of Indians. A shameful entity out of Bollywood. Critics are not the only bikau entity out there.

  17. abhishek says:

    Bhaiya koi yeh bhi bata do ki is there any chance of getting this movie on some online platform like iTunes Store anytime soon? Kab tak bina dekhe backchodi padhte rahenge

  18. @ Vikram … thanks for responding … should have guessed the Imtiaz ali angle … his brother arif was a school senior of mine … have been watching films for so many years now … never saw anything on jamshedpur ever … its just not a glamourous location but then 2 movies … Udaan and Bubblegum … made me fall in love with my home town again !!!

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