Vikramaditya Motwane responds to our criticism of Lootera

Posted: July 9, 2013 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, film, News
Tags: , , , ,

I got to watch the film on Tuesday. This was amidst too much hype, too much expectation, pressure to like/dislike instantly, and too eager to react. By that time reactions from the film fraternity had already started pouring in. And as a member of the crew told me during the screening, honestly, it’s impossible to make out anything from the pre-release screenings. Also, if one has read the script, one might be reacting differently from others.

In terms of reactions, Lootera has turned out to be strangely divisive films. The reaction of critics and audience going in extreme directions is quite obvious for most films these days. But here the critics rating varied from 2.5 to 5 stars. I can only think of Dev D which went further extreme and got ratings from 1 to 5 stars, and everything in between. But strangely, the audience reaction have also been extreme with Lootera. To give an example, as this twitter friend tweeted – “In our theater, about 15 ppl walked out. And about 15 broke into applause at the end. Strange. Didn’t think Lootera would be so polarizing.”

Anyway, after watching the film i told Motwane that i will mail my reaction, all in detail. Can’t react so quickly. And VM has responded to the criticism. Much thanks to him as most filmmakers in B-town run away as soon as their film releases. Also, thanks for agreeing to make the mail public.

Actually we wanted to do a post-release Q and A with him and his DoP Mahendra Shetty. But as the joke goes, Sonakshi is spreading her Lootera disease quite fast. So me and few others have been coughing like her since the film released, and hopefully these few answers are better than having absolutely nothing else.


What worked for me

– as i told you i loved the second half. I loved the way it’s shot, so dark ( i hope it’s visible in theatres with bad projection. i remember problems with Kaminey, Gangster), the mood it creates and almost meditative in its space and silence. it’s GORGEOUS!

– as expected from you, it’s very well directed. well mounted, well captured.

– acting across the board is good, from leads to small roles.
– the pace is slow or leisurely which goes well with the mood and setting. good you didn’t hurry anywhere – consistent through out.

– the romantic village portions with so much brightness was looking tacky to me in the trailers. Thankfully it doesn’t feel so in the film. Right rustic touch with a FabIndia colour palette , if i can say so 🙂

– BEST part – you didn’t hit the excess notes for melodrama, perfect balance, didn’t even try to cash in on deaths on screen. That’s GREAT!
i was actually waiting to see if you will go Bhansali way with the father and friend’s death 😉 but you didn’t even go close there. Smart! and smartly handled.

what didnt work for me (and VM’s reply below each point)

– i think people will love the 1st half more but i didn’t feel that romance or passion in the first half. i am not sure why. or was it the heavy  background that you were using to make the point which was distracting me.

VM : It’s the same issue I have with the script in it’s current form. Though when I tried to think back to my original intention when writing the screenplay, it was pretty intentional to make it a love story that wasn’t quite a love story. It’s wasn’t supposed to be the achy type of love story and wasn’t supposed to become that way at all, even towards the end. I always wanted a lightness to the film throughout. So can’t say whether this is better or that. It is a flawed screenplay. Willing to live with that.

– actually the sound design at two places in 1st half was very odd, i felt. when the father starts narrating the story to Sonakshi in the beginning, the music suddenly fades in and goes so high. It was very out of place. i know you might be trying to make the easy connect with the sound so that it can be used in 2nd half with Sonakshi and tree. But it was too loud and so suddenly.

VM : The intention wasn’t to connect the music with the second half. It was a background piece. Maybe it was too loud. Didn’t seem that way when mixing it.

– similarly the use of that old hindi song that goes through all the montage when they are at the site and many such odd things, as in not romantic stuff but the song goes on, and just stops with the news of zamindari over. again very out of place.

VM : It stops with the zamindari news because that’s where the plot changes a little bit. And it feels loud because it’s mono and it cuts through the rest of the dialogue. Something we discovered too late and only at the final mix stage. No matter how soft we had it, it cut through,

– why so much grainy footage in 2nd half?

VM : Aesthetic call that me and (Mahendra) Shetty took. We both like grain and purposely went for a high grain stock. Wanted to give an aged, period feel without making it glossy or sepia tinted. In fact, there is more grain in the injection scene in the first half, which is just an under-lit scene. Mistake on our end.

–  And this might be nitpicking – when he climbs the tree, and the climax sequence – when he is walking, she is coming out of the house – at few places one can see the (VFX) jugaad – foreground and background not in sync especially when Ranveer is walking towards the police, the light, the things you have cheated – i mean it’s nice but not pitch perfect. similarly with snow and when he falls from the tree, you can make out it’s fluff. maybe if you are watching minutely then only.

VM : If you’ve seen the making video, you know what we had to go back to shoot snow sequences in summer with fake snow. Which means VFX work. Work that we have shot on grainy film, without green screen, with handheld camera. It’s the worst kind of situation for a VFX team and under the circumstances, they did an amazing job. The whole tree climbing and shoot out is VFX created. There are shots and mattes and snowflakes that make me cringe every time I see them but it’s just something we have to live with. Will do better next time.

– Basically, overall another good film. But you are so strong at filmmaking aspect, the craft, why tell a bollywood story. I hope you go beyond it now that you have done your conventional part. a more non-conventional/interesting/out of box idea/tale to match up to the talent of your craft.

VM : So the indie world thinks i’m telling a bollywood story. And the bollywood world thinks i’m too indie. You think this is conventional, they think this is too out of the box. So I can’t win…

Fact is, I went to tell a story that I believed in, warts and all. I can make all the excuses in the world about not having enough time to fix the script before shooting because we only had two months of pre-production blah blah but it’s pointless. This is the film I chose to make and I stand by it. Nobody knows and feels and understands the flaws of the film better than I do but that’s a discussion for another day.

I don’t want to get stuck making 4 crore films for the rest of my life because that’s what happens in this industry. It gets very easy for them to slot you into a ‘type’ of filmmaker. For better or for worse, this film was my attempt to break out of that.

– Posted by @CilemaSnob

(Pic courtesy – Lootera FB page)

  1. Koi kuch bhi kahe, dont think I have seen a better tale of love in the last 10 years ! What mood, and what detailing !

  2. Kuch maangna baaqi nahi, Jitna mila kaafi hai ………….. #PerfectLootera

  3. tony davis says:

    nice answers by vm… but i felt that grains were too much in the night sequences… and i think the vfx team has done a pretty good job in the climax sequence… congrats mr. motwane and thanks mfx for publishing the mail 🙂

  4. Rahul says:

    I simply loved the second half. Their chemistry and Sonakshi shined in there. Ranvir could have pitched in a better performance (a fixated frown on his face in the first half annoyed me). Relieved to see him improve in due course. The supporting actor (V Massey) was noteworthy. Motwane’s response is candid and I respect him all the more. He’s a gifted filmmaker! And yeah, you guys at moifightclub simply rock! Those who criticize your blog unfairly should read this.

  5. Akash says:

    Awesomest!! I want to kiss your bald head now for posting this. I had the exact same issues with the movie that you have pointed out. It’s great to hear from the director himslef.

    Just wanted to add that I loved the movie.

  6. J.M. says:

    Reblogged this on Chasing the Script and commented:
    Vikramaditya Motwane responds to criticism of Lootera.

  7. thepuccacritic says:

    ” So the indie world thinks i’m telling a bollywood story. And the bollywood world thinks i’m too indie. You think this is conventional, they think this is too out of the box.”
    Well put, Motwane. But good that he’s riding it so good on this line between mainstream and indie.
    ” I don’t want to get stuck making 4 crore films for the rest of my life….. this film was my attempt to break out of that.”
    Now that he said that, I’m excitedly waiting for his next, than anything else.

  8. Gyandeep says:

    “It is a flawed screenplay. Willing to live with that.” Massive respect. Motwane is a different level of awesome.

  9. Jammi says:

    I didn’t like the film much.

    But I think this response from VM is fantastic. He doesn’t sound defensive at all unlike other Bollywood filmmakers. Kudos to him – he is both a talented filmmaker & well spoken man.

  10. cokacola says:

    I had too many problems with Lootera and i sincerely cannot understand what ‘genius’ is being celebrated here. I have utmost respect for the filmmakers and the team for all their handwork
    but the film has way too many flaws to even qualify as a tell-able plot line!

    1. the incessant use of background score was jarring to the dialogue and annoying throughout the film-
    2. the characters have no sense of history, Pakhi’s father who is supposed to be a stubborn man comes across as plain dumb but without reason . The nuances that the director was trying to bring out fall flat with the each characters graph. each actor has a range of THREE expressions that they use to emote throughout the film .
    Pakhi who has shades of being a feminist pisses me off with her constant scowling and if not that her eyelids fluttering-
    for a woman who is a writer using an ink pen in the 50’s- i was cringing as she pressed the pen so hard on paper- she mustve destroyed so many ink pens= it was painful for me to see. anyone who writes exams with ink pens knows that you have to be gentle with the nib! that was like nails on the wall moment for me.
    Varun, ranvir, has simply gone from dude to subdued in this film and thats about it. it doesnt seem like he did much.

    3. storywise- there are so many points where the actors come together and the situation conviniently falls in place to take the ‘story’ forward.
    there is no explanation as to why ranvir moves into the family home with such ease- the situation wasnt fleshed out enough for me to understand the ‘looteras’ slickness. and why does the imbecile father accept everything about the man without anyone having to vouch for him and then conviniently dies of a heart attack to make the story more tragic?? the relationship between ranvir and his chacha is also too one note and flat – except for some dialogue there is no reason for me to believe that the chacha has a control over ranvir or manipulates his life.

    4.the chemistry between the two main actors just seemed like a mutual attraction instead of deep love.
    the constant injection scenes made it come across as though pakhi was a heroin addict. all that is done to show her illness is her gentle cough and wheezing and some make up blood and some fake dark circles that keep disappearing. . adil specifically tells pakhi that he shot varun, when pakhi returns she doesnt even inquire about his wound or check it? what kind of love is this? or does she like to hurt him!! (that was probably establish as she runs him over and delibrately burns him in the beginning)
    everything from the tota story to the tree is forced and then repeated in the end to make the connection, like the audience is an idiot and won’t make a connect that he didnt know how to make leaves, and his masterpiece would be a leaf in the end. the metaphors fall FLAT. the tree looks fake.

    why does adil who is presumably a dalhousie policeman go to sonakshi regarding a case which is happening in kolkatta, then she tells him something about a statue, then he puts out an ad in the paper to entice ranvir and conviniently he comes and takes up her guest house!? its a bit of a khichdi for me as no enough information is given and too much is left for me to understand without it making any sense.

    what happens to both of pakhi’s maids and seeming confidantes? what was their point in the story.
    just because there is use of incandescent light in the film are we automatically supposed by a sense of romance. Fanaa was a better film than this and had an eerily similar storyline if you think about it.
    Lootera was too much like a commercial film trying to pass of as Indie and fresh- there is nothing new and for me it is forgettable to say the least( i have forgotten the criticisms i had! maybe i will follow up in the next comment)
    . the only redeemable factor that everything looked good, but it is not enough.
    the grain of the film is a very secondary issue.

    i know i will attract alot of haters- but i thought the film was pretty random.

    • Siddhartha Chowdhary says:

      I don’t need to know exactly what happened between Varun and his Chacha. Not important. For me, the backstory would have killed it. Glad there is no spoon feeding in Lootera.

      • cokacola says:

        on the contrary there is too much spoon-feeding! i meant the impact of the chacha scene and not facts about their history which are irrelevant. if you’re only spending time on one scene with these to characters it better establish their relationship with impact. it was lost on me. maybe i am impaired.

        • Siddhartha Chowdhary says:

          i think i know what spoon feeding you’re referring to. The whole ‘Last Leaf’ act. I believe the voiceovers in the second half were necessary to bring that story on screen.
          As far as first half is concerned. There is no spoon feeding at all. Just Vikram and his craft at it’s best!

    • shiva says:

      hey man, as a student of cinema I respect your views but I think credit must be given to motwane and team for not turning this into a balaji 1000 episode saga for the sake of catharsis. there is a section of audience that doesn’t need explanation for every damn incident in a 2.30 hr film. and I also want to confess that I stopped reading your detailed analysis of the flaws of the film. let us know if you at all found anything to take home from the film?

    • Super says:

      Still Pyar Mohabbat wins on Coca Cola!! 😀

      • cokacola says:

        nah.. i respectfully disagree with all of you- it always takes as much hard work to make a bad film. a bad film is a bad film but at the end of the day! honestly its been two days since i watched the film and i have forgotten every bit of it. i haven’t taken anything back! those who are talking about romance should perhaps re watch in the mood for love and compare lootera with it. i am sure things will come in perspective as to what standards one should be aiming for!
        this critique is specifically mentioned in a comment and not published in any journal because im certainly no expert- i just hate going to the cinema and being so flatly bored.

        • cokacola says:

          i don’t need explanations about every incident in a film, although there should be a valid reason for showing whatever is being shown on screen. it has to atleast make logical sense no?

        • abeyaar says:

          1. The background score wasnt loud everywhere.. only the scene where the father tells the story.

          2.That zamindar was the epitome of the era gone by..he was stubborn but innocent in his way of viewing things.maybe that was what vikram was trying to achieve.You should watch Ray’s Jalsaghar
          Feminism? Maybe you read too much between the lines.

          3. That con man thing wasnt the focus of the story and hence is not emphasized upon (which is great).. also such things werent common in the era the film is based (and also a fake archaeologist is a dream) hence the the slickness.
          The chacha scene was good without the back story. That way the actors got to portray better.

          4. During that gunshot scene, as you would have seen, her feeling were mixed and also she didnt want to make conversation with him but her reaction was evident on the phone itself. Didnt find the tota story forced but well placed. It wasnt loud and was consistent with the film.
          If you are searching for a thief, you have the background of who he looted and all that. The people in manikpur knew about pakhi’s whereabouts in dalhousie and there would have told about there wedding that never happened. Now connect the dots.

    • Rahul says:

      1) The background score was an annoyance only during 2 instances; Once, during the dialogue between the Zamindar and Munim at durga puja. The other being when the father is telling the Bhil Raja story to Pakhi.

      2) Pakhi’s father is a Zamindar who is living in a denial that the Anti-Zamindari bill is a glaring truth. The range of THREE expressions applies just to Ranveer’s Varun. He appeared to be somewhat of a miscast in the first half. About the scribbling on the paper scene; Wasn’t it very obvious that Pakhi was venting out her deep anger for Varun’s cheating in that particular scene? That his deeds haunted her so much that she is unable to jot down a story on paper. Sorry but I wonder how can that be so difficult to comprehend!

      3) The fact that the film is based in the early 50s, it had that unhurried pace. An added explanation about Varun’s upbringing and motives would have slackened the pace all the more. I personally think that it was wise to do away with a detailing of that part. Pakhi is the only child of the Zamindar who is spoilt by constant pampering. He sees no harm in marrying her off to a decent looking Archaeologist. Also, Zamindar’s death was not made out to be some big tragedy. Looks like you missed that.

      4) I agree with you about the chemistry part. But the last 1 hour of the movie had a redeeming quality to it. It was possible because the actors bettered themselves, the scenes where they confront each other make it pretty much evident. Also, the chase scene was shot really well, I think it was the best since the chase scene from Shaitaan. Pakhi is a wronged heroine and she just cannot bring herself to forgive Varun. But then it is love that makes her say to the police that her father died because he was heartbroken and not because Varun robbed him of his wealth. It is love that stops her from informing the police that Varun is staying at her guesthouse. How is it then that not enquiring about an invisible wound makes one doubt Pakhi’s love for Varun? And yeah, are you kidding us when you draw parallels by mentioning the running over by car and deliberate coffee spilling scene????

      The make-up artists did a good job. Pakhi looked like an ailing woman in every frame of the second half. I did not see any disappearing of the dark circles. Trust me, I have been to the North and to be specific, Dalhousie as well and I have seen trees like that over there. It does not look fake at all. A stupid leaf ends up being Varun’s masterpiece because that leaf makes his lady love to come out of her deep notion that with the last leaf gone, she will breathe her last. Thanks to his little masterpiece, she comes out of that belief and wants to live again. He makes her step out of her self-imposed confinement to start living again like a free-spirit that Pakhi once was. The metaphor still falls flat for you?

      5) The case happened in Calcutta but the only family member has moved to Dalhousie now. Open case ki investigation ke liye jaana banta hai, nahi? With the zamindari and zamindar gone, out go the munim and confidante. Their presence or absence wasn’t that relevant really.

      Yes, the movie had its flaws and the maker has owned it up. But just looking beyond all that, Lootera is still a beautiful film and had the potential of turning out to be a masterpiece. If only, the chemistry between the leads was more palpable and the first half was more interesting.

      Vikramaditya Motwane, if you are reading this, here is one fan of yours who is eagerly looking forward to see your next craft. Best Wishes!

      • cokacola says:

        looking forward eagerly to see his next too! 🙂

      • cokacola says: was too obvious that pakhi was venting out her anger- especially since we know she was angry. i am just again discussing the nuance of a craft

        2. are all things based in the 50’s supposed to be slow. can there not be a slow romance in 2013? i know the zamindar wasn’t made out to be a tragdy- almost like it wasn’t a tragedy at all i think the understated balance that was trying to be achieved got lost in trying to be to subte about it

        3. yes i was kidding when i was drawing parallels to that masochistic angle it was just me bign bitchy

        4. if there presence or absnse wasn’t relevant why were they given specific;ly divyya dutta so much footage? it misled me into believe something might happen with them

        i have utmost respect and love for vikramaditya and all the handwork his team put in. being from the industry i know how much blood sweat goes into the making of the film. but that cast aside when i spent my money going to the theatre. i do reserve the right to ask questions regarding loopholes in the film. i expected too much perhaps and was disappointed.

        • Rahul says:

          A slow romance in 2013 will also generate polarizing opinions just like a Lootera set in the 50s 🙂
          Other than Dev (Varun’s friend) they really weren’t given that much of a footage. In fact, I feel sad that Divya Dutta was wasted in an inconsequential role. Sometimes we end up misleading ourselves 😛
          I went to watch this movie with great expectations and was a bit disappointed just like you. However, I would like to revisit it just for the sheer brilliance of the 2nd half (As per my opinion).

          All said,it was great discussing about Lootera with you here. Keep posting 🙂

    • dinesh says:

      Agreed… but really want to add some more points.
      1, I thin Deepika has done a good job as an editor by not showing such bad acting from all the characters ( spacially lead once).

      2. Dnt knw why director was so influence by Bhansali and Anurag you can see similar shots of running (PARO in DEVDAS) and A shot from Dev-D which looks ugly in Lootera.

      3. the repetition of shots when Pakhi is looking outside irritats too much bcoz of same camera angle, (sm ppl says thats art).

      4. Songs and BG Music really helps smtym to watch an “ Ordinary Leaf”.

      Its nowhere in front of Udaan.
      and please it was not even melodrama. just bad storytelling.

    • Avipsa Sengupta says:

      to justify your 1st point let me tell u..background score is one of the best part of the film that actually changes the ambience…
      secondly, Pakhi’s father was actually a stubborn man who never listened to Mr Majumdar and continuously believed that Zamindari will never fall.. when it happened he agreed to sale all his properties..he believed Varun because he was working “for him”.. and let me tell u if a man from archaeological who came into his property to find out some old civilisation he wl obviously get interested..
      Three expressions point is not clear… and is it necessary to show that a character has only one expression throughout the film?? dont u think it cud turn to be monotonous.. according to u Katrina is a good actor as she has only one expression for every emotion..

      Pakhi was not a feminist so your analysis was very very wrong.

      The inkpen part that you wrote was simply ridiculous. it was just to show Pakhi’s mental condition..she tries but she couldn’t write a single she was alone and disturbed..that was a very good portrayal..

      in each and every film situation falls conveniently.. Go for u think its too easy to find out a terrorist,.didnt u feel that every situation was pre planned..and mind it..Lootera was a not a suspense thriller that every situation will arise in a tensed was love story so the suspense part was just an element that has been used to bring the lovers together again..
      even the scene between Chacha and ranvir was adequate to show the dominance of chacha on him..nothing more needed to explain it to the audience..

      Asthma Patient needs those injection frequently.. I being a patient know it very that point was also very irrelevant.

      Pakhi doesnt inquire about Verun’s wound because they two dont share a comfort was not easy for pakhi to ask about his wound as he pretends to hate him.. so it seems that you simply didn’t understand the film.

      Tree part has been used from Henry’s last leaf..I hope u know that. anyway, Varun was a man who was responsible for the death of his close ones..hence, at the end, he gives a reason to his beloved to the tree part was also very poignant..and if u talk about audience..let them make a connect.. again to mention the director didn’t want to make a suspense thriller that he will reveal it at the end..let it be predictable..

      the inspector goes to Sonakshi and said that Varun looted many zamindars and she is not the only one to suffer means that the case was not limited to Kolkata.. he was investigating the case and hence needed Pakhi’s this point is also wrong.
      varun said about the ‘ganesh murti’ to pakhi because he has a eye on that reading the news of its shifting to museum needed quick action for varun to loot he came to dalhousie..he took the guesthouse because inspector said that he closed all the places of its very simple that varun would arrive to Pakhi’s house..
      Maid used to look after Pakhi..she leaved because she understood that both of them needed to be alone..
      Fanaa is a better film..this line proves that what sense u have regarding was a dumb melodramatic piece of shit.. anyway..Lootera wasa poignant intense love story..

  11. M says:

    Lootera was a very good film and a great love story. I genuinely don’t get why some people are negative about it. It’s without doubt one of the best films of this year, technically excellent & has wonderful performances. I- and my whole theatre- loved the film. Really hope to see more films from Vikramaditya soon. For some reason, whilst watching Lootera, all I could see in Sonakshi’s (who was still brilliant) role was Rani Mukerji, and a lot of people feel the same. So it’d be cool to see him work with her

    • cokacola says:

      nobody is being negative. we are just being critical. we love cinema and would genuinely like to see the standard of art go up in this country.

  12. siddesh87 says:

    The film worked for me as a whole..Gorgeously lit and shot, almost poetry on screen..
    My main problem was with the fact that the cops didn’t come and check for Varun in Pakhi’s house for a few days despite knowing their history and no responses to phone calls..:)

    • siddesh87 says:

      That being said, kudos to you for responding to criticism and acknowledging the flawed screenplay…Looking forward to your next, Vikramaditya 🙂

  13. ruhi says:

    the film was a mediocre bollywood tale cloaked in nicely shot visuals, with tight technical execution. anyone who thinks this is a “classic” just hasn’t watched enough cinema. But his answers are beautiful though – not defensive, just great. I’m not convinced about not wanting to make 4-crore films – if they are better films, why not? Bigness is never better, not when it comes to filmmaking anyway.

  14. Vivek Gupta says:

    Absolutely. Not many films have flawless screenplays and so many imperfect screenplays make for films which are worth watching. And I believe you just cannot force perfection on a script. Perfection just happens (ofcourse more people spending more time helps, but that’s rarely a guarantee).

  15. cokacola says:

    why is my comment not being published?!?

  16. arti says:

    While Ranveer feels guilty about being responsible for Sonakshi’s father’s death and also for accidentally killing his friend, he seems to have no regret whatsoever about killing the cop.
    I mean- that cop- he doesn’t have any personal dushmani with Ranveer- he is just doing his job- for the country, for the society- he is innocent- and he is killed. And Ranveer feels totally ok about it. That makes his character very selfish and lowly.

    • Avipsa Sengupta says:

      @arti Ranvir was a u really think that he wud regret for killing a polceman who wanted to kill him?? quite pointless..he was regreting the death ot DeV and zamindar because both of them were his close one..So..

  17. meta337 says:

    In what sense is this a bollywood film? Because it has music and it is a love story?.I wish lootera had showed at film may be? 🙂

  18. Siddhartha Chowdhary says:

    Okay two things bothered the hell out of me.
    First, the use of VFX in all the latter scenes. (Great job in mentioning it in the interview)
    Second, @moifightclub, did you really think there was less melodrama?!? The Scene when Ranveer and Sonakshi are fighting about how he killed Deb and that constable, i found it so melodramatic. Maybe it’s because Ranveer’s dialogue delivery was too weird in that scene. Didn’t work at all for me. And the scene when he walks in wounded and furious, yelling at Sonakshi “Police ko tumne bulaya tha..” blah blah, WHYYYY was it done in slow motion?!?? Ruined the dramatic effect completely. Same issue of slow-mo when he falls from the tree.

    Despite all this, Vikram is still a genius! He really did paint a masterpiece 😉

  19. 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… Udaan and lootera two first movies anyone 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..

  20. I have no idea why someone would like to criticize a film at such an extent,there are so many bad films made this year but no one wants to speak about it.VM is at least honest in his craft and story, for some the film must have worked and for some it must have not.The good and bad thing about Anurag Kashyap produced films is that everyone expects so much from his production house,most of them are who watch world cinema,that the film has to be out of the box for them.Come on guys VM must have worked his ass out for this film,he just a film maker and not a god that every film he makes would go to cannes or be a masterpiece at least he is trying to deliver some quality cinema.He must have failed or won but no one has the right to criticize so much(as we all pretend to know so about cinema but have not guts to make any).If u have liked the film spread a word about it and those who haven’t nevermind just hope the next one would meet your expectations.

    • cokacola says:

      criticism is important if one is asking logical questions to an intelligent filmmaker. we should expect a lot from good artists. we don’t expect anything out of the ones that have already decided that they are going to be bad.

      • cokacola says:

        also perhaps it would be interesting to get filmmakers views on their definition of the word masterpiece. what do you think moifightclub about an article on it. terms like these should not be used loosely

        • shiva says:

          in your opinion which film in the last couple of films merits being termed a masterpiece, lets hear it 😉

          • cokacola says:

            let me narrow down the discussion in the context of lootera- the last masterpiece in the same genre would probably be hum dil de chuke sanam. which is cinematic, typical bollywood, with a similar storyline that makes sense that made complete sense and romantic. internationally i think the same mood as in the mood for love was trying to be created.
            i could name a long list of films for an earlier era of hindi cinema and a long list of international films that are definitely superior in terms of story telling techniques and can be put in the category of masterpieces, but i do not wish to contrive the debate or suggest showing that i have a superior knowledge of cinema.
            masterpiece- should be a confluence of art and craft of storytelling for scene and should be completely flawless- that shows the care the director has taken to deliver a flawless product.
            you cant say that a film has its flaws and still accept it as a masterpiece because thats a paradoxical statement.

            • Shiva says:

              Ok this is getting a little pointless now! Lootera whether or not a masterpiece has been enjoyed and appreciated by more than just a handful of people, despite all the flaws! The average audience couldn’t care less if the music was blaring at some point of the film or ‘this and that’ scene was grainy or a relationship was left unexplained. Nah!

              But on an aside, the mere fact that we are discussing ‘such a film’ (sarcasm) beyond its expiry date (first three days collections!) is no mean feat! Don’t you think? Can’t imagine such discussions for lets say Bhansali’s Rowdy Rathod or TP Agarwal’s Policegiri. So putting everything in perspective Lootera did have some soul in it, for the fact that its making lovers and haters engage in a healthy debate.

              • cokacola says:

                i respectfully disagree- a lot of films are enjoyed and disliked by many people. ultimately its about ones personal choice! all this is merely pointless because ultimately box office counts. critics just criticize because we cant make films ourselves.

  21. If that’s what I get from him in bigger budgets.. I’m sorry. Any day prefer a 4cr Udaan then a 12cr Lootera.

  22. MusicallyManu says:

    Absolutely loved the second half. And just when I thought things couldn’t get better, came home and read this. Massive respect Mr Motwane and thank you CilemaSnob for sharing this.

  23. Baba Nagarujna’s Kavita was master stroke for me, after that scene, Sonakshi’s father was impressed and asked Ranveer about his home and family …Any way it was trillion times better than traditional Bollywood love stories…

  24. Jesal says:

    Maybe as a 40 year old I can appreciate love’s inequitable gradation. Not all love is not riddled with visible chemistry, Varun enters Pakhi’s lonely crumbling world as a strapping somewhat sober, occasionally charming young man. No doubt she was going to be irresistibly attracted to him. But Varun’s desire comes across as raw physicality and surprised, flattered affection, the con man seems stunned by Pakhi’s sincerity.

    The entire first half is simply Pakhi falling in love. Varun doesn’t allow himself to truly fall in love with her — he is groomed to be distrusting. When his uncle threatens to reveal his truth to his father-in-law, Varun takes a calculating decision. He leaves Pakhi not so much out of loyalty to his uncle but because he is not completely convinced that Pakhi can love the un-Varun him, the thief con man.

    It is not until the second half after he reads what Pakhi has written about him when he realizes that despite the inescapable hurt he has caused her, she still loves him literally to a miserable death; that moment is when he truly emerges out of suspicion to express that grand impractical gesture of being in love demands. It’s in those early moments of first love’s epiphany, Varun fears nothing, not jail, death, or rejection. Love is asynchronous too and its expression need not hinge on reciprocation, just belief. I totally fell in love again. Thanks Mr. Motwane for the allowing your brain to be picked and Mr. CilemaSnob for the forum and effort.

    • Rahul says:

      You have put it so beautifully!! Thanks for posting this comment 🙂

    • Anthead says:

      Jesal – what a lovely, lovely comment. You have summed up what the film conveyed to me and made it worthwhile for me to scroll down through all the baal ki khal nikalna. I’ve realised that when it comes to films, I’ll like what I like and laying bare technical nuances, screenplay flaws, acting shortcomings yadda yadda would do nothing to change my mind.

      This is a film that I just liked because I felt I got what was being said. I like it for the same reason I like say Pushkin’s Onegin – I just like love and redemption themes and there isn’t anything in the Hindi film space lately that comes even close. I like stories that inhabit a small, detailed canvas – no grand ambitions, no pastiche of themes layered on. Just a simple story. Bas ek kahaani.

  25. @Cokacola … read through your entire comment and then the line “fanaa was a better film than this” … kind of killed it for me … but then to each his own …

    1) i really like the music and bg score … there were a couple of moments when i thought it was louder than it should have been … can live with that …

    2) characters sense of history … have you seen jalsaghar ? (i am not for a moment considering the this movie is even anywhere near that) but the zamindar’s character and his false pride in that movie bankrupted him … there was no logic to it … how does andy garcia (the seemingly brilliant casino owner) get fooled by Daniel Ocean and his team ? how does Manoj Bajpai miss the tricks in Special 26 ? Barun Chanda as a zamindar never did seem to bother with the nitty gritties which has manager took care of … he lived in a rarefied world … he was used to people worshipping him … a slick conman just needed to know the right levers to push and the team built by arif zakaria had been doing that … this was not the only zamindar they looted !!!

    3) going back to point no. 2 … the zamindar was proud of his family’s heritage … proud to a point he wouldnt listen to his managers’ practical advice … in comes varun the archeologist who would dig and find “history” in the zamindar’s back yard … wouldnt he be interested in that ? he had a huge mansion and it was really common in the earlier days for “unknown” people to be staying in a zamindar’s house … it was his hospitality to a guy who was working “for him” … if you think his death is convenient , how do you explain people dying of heart attacks during india pakistan cricket matches ? his life was literally snatched away from him by people he trusted … his daughter was stood up at the altar … was he supposed to have a beer and chill ?

    4) the chemistry … chemistry is a uniquely personal thing between couples … what you may think of abuse , maybe someone else’s idea of passionate love … (not to justify domestic violence) … yes … their’s was an awkward chemistry … after all here was a girl used to being worshipped … someone whose father used hand fans to put her to sleep … but she seemingly lived a cloistered life … and he was a wordly wise cynical guy who is used to fooling people and has a practiced charm … with such polar opposites , chemistry would have been awkward … how do you define the chemistry in ishaqzaade ? would you think of anyone taking daily insulin injections as a drug addict ? after all even they would look absolutely fine on the outside !!! i may be wrong on this but maybe those injections were predecessors to inhalers used during asthma attacks !!!

    and i dont think of the film as a masterpiece at all … but i loved it …

    • cokacola says:

      thank you for going through my comment- maybe the Fannaa comment was typed in a bit of a huff but i still maintain that it has an eerily similar storyline. i can retract the part that it was a better film.
      1. i do understand that the father was supposed to be stubborn and all that but the minute nuances with which it was trying to be explained dint work for me. i understood what was TRYING to be said. but thats like interpretation no? the actions and motivations of the characters were not clearly defined- it was too haphazard and choppy for me.
      2. the fathers heart attack was more one of convinience for the story. as a human being i do understand that death happens suddenly. the impact wasn’t emotional for me. i wanted so desperately to be sucked into this film but i just couldn’t
      3. chemistry very rightly as you said is a personal thing between two people. but the way the awkward chemistry was to play out was too bland for me- it didn’t have to be electrifying. like i said throughout the film it was too flat ..
      i didn’t dislike the film. i didn’t like it either. it was random forgettable and not worth so much debate also actualy!

      • cokacola says:

        i am sorry that my comment is bland in return. but i must confess i haven’t read and seen a lot of the texts and films that you have quoted. 🙂

        • Manas Sahu says:

          @cokacola: you have raised some real issues. I concur with some of them, there were too many inconsistencies. What I really despised was how weak the character of Sonakshi Sinha was- tragic, dependent, spineless, mindless, childish. The less said about her acting the better, may be she should stick to Dabanng and Son of Sardars.
          Btw, since you sound like a connoisseur, I would like to know- whats your view about the lead actors?

        • @CokaCola … you havent seen Special 26, Ishaqzaade , Ocean’s Eleven or Jalsaghar … the 4 movies / texts … but you have seen In the mood for love … Hmmm … interesting …

          Also … just have a thought … it would be nicer if we were to refer to the films as whether i liked it or didnt like it … rather than as good or bad films … who are we assign the adjectives … at best what we can and should do is state whether we liked it or not !!!

    • Rahul says:

      You said it borther, you said it!!

    • Rahul says:


  26. I guess by Indian standards Lootera was a good film. But the plot had several holes in it: why didn’t the cops go immediately to her house since they knew she was in love with him and was shielding him?

    I’m sorry but this is not a great film by any standard. And yes even at the show I attended people started exiting the theatre before the end. Just because a movie is shot well or in an old style (nostalgia sells) and is aesthetically pleasing doesn’t mean it’s a good film. The critics just went berserk in my opinion.

  27. Super says:

    The questions asked to Vikram seem as flawed as the flaws of the film…you are doing some unnecessary nitpicking on VFX etc. where some huge flaws havn’t been asked…that two are specially in the second half, the one you loved… for e.g. If the filmmaker sets the whole first half with classic music such as ‘Sawar Loon’ (Ripped from ‘Suhana Safar’ from Madhumati minus the beats), ‘Monta re’ and some old songs…why the second half songs are suddely ‘contemporary Rock’ (50s was not even era of elvis or beetles so forget rock n roll)…and as we know the controversial 2012 track of ‘One Day’ is not SO classic too.

    Though I liked the film with all its flaws.

  28. PEPSI says:

    With the kind of logic CocaCola is giving, she seems to be a girl for sure who wants to cry when someone died on screen but coudnt since it was not as much melodramatic as she expected ! Go and watch Kuch Kuch Hota Hai first scene ! This ones not for you darling !

    • cokacola says:

      kuch kuch hota hai was better crafted. and i don’t wish for melodrama but there are a lot of ways of being understated- i don’t understand your line of attack here though i am trying a rebuttal. all films are for all darling- which is why we can trash them!

  29. Jahan says:

    Not directly related to Lootera, but just a question I wanted to ask Vikram: What is with characters (in all your films/scripts that I have seen/read so far) reading poetry? 🙂 Deliberate thing or just coincidence?

  30. liked the film in parts. vikramaditya motwane created a great mood. but sadly the script was very week. still far better film than most other indian love stories. but i expected far better film frm motwane.. n they lifted inception score in one scene. why wud they do tht ? very sad

  31. Very well written indeed… your thoughts seem to be in sync with my own thoughts. The biggest compliment that I can give is that there is nothing “Bollywood-like” about it… Lootera seems to carry the stamp of a quintessential art house product from European cinema.

    Here’s the link to my blog’s review of Lootera:

  32. […] write this after this blog post at F.I.G.H.T C.L.U.B, which contains Vikramaditya Motwane’s very candid and supremely awesome […]

  33. Rakesh Joshi says:

    It is one of the finest movie I have seen during the last few years.The subject has been handled with complete sensitivity.Cinematography is outstanding.The director has done a fabulous job. Music is excellent and the performances need a special word of appreciation. While leaving the theater I had a feeling that in a world of 20-20 cricket still 5 day cricket has a place…

  34. Subrat says:

    Didn’t know where to put this. My obervation about Manmarziyan mathematics (or lack of it).

    Now, there’s a metre in most poems. The classic Sanksrit metres are Anustup and Tristhub which often get used in Hindi poems and sometime in film lyrics. The most used metres in Hindi film lyrics are the half-line and the ghazal which follows its own strict definition (can explain sometime). But in Manmarziyan (to put in Masterchef patois) too many things are happening which is why it caught my attention over the weekend and I sat and wrote it down.

    So, if you strip away everything from the song, the basic poem is this:

    Yun to solah saawan, aaye gaye,
    Gaur nahi kiya humne,
    Bheega man ka aangan, is martaba,
    Kya jaane kya kiya tumne;

    This is a prelude. Half-line with the even numbered lines rhyming (humne, tumne).

    Then the poet launches into the poem

    Dil mein jaagi, ishq waali,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Zid ki maari, bholi bhaali,
    Mannmarziyan, mannmarziyan;

    Half-line again. But the odd numbered lines are rhyming (waali, bhaali) and the even lines are all manmarziyan. The poet is hellbent on using Manmarziyan (plural of manmarzi which I don’t think technically should have a plural).

    Ab talak se, kuchh alag si,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Hum zameen pe, toh falak se,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyaan;

    Again, half-line and odd numbered rhymes (alag si, falak se) and the even lines are all manmarziyan.

    Sikkon jaise, hai uchhaali,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyaan,
    Zid ki maari, bholi bhaali,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan;

    You get the picture. Same thing

    Be-adab si, par gazab si,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Hosh khoya, par sambhali
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyaan

    For no rhyme or reason (literally), the poet has ditched the rhyme in odd numbered lines. Gazab si is like Alag si in the previous stanza and should have ideally had another si or se ending. That’s not difficult but he picks up sambhali which is the rhyme for the other stanzas that have uchhaali etc. Now why would he do that?

    For that you need to see how the song actually plays out. This is how the song is actually song. Pls note the parts that I have made bold

    Yun to solah saawan, aaye gaye,
    Gaur nahi kiya humne,
    Bhiga man ka aangan, is martaba,
    Kya jaane kya kiya tumne;

    Dil mein jaagi, ishq waali,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Zid ki maari, (Yun to Solah) bholi bhaali (saawan),
    Mannmarziyan,(aaye gaye) mannmarziyan;

    What the poet and composer have done is picked up the first line of the interlude and broken them into 3: Yun to solah (A), saawan (B) and aaye (C) and used them in the 3 and 4th line of this stanza. What this does is takes away the hammering monotony of manmarziyan that you notice in the original poem.

    Ab talak se, kuchh alag si,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Hum zameen pe, (bheega man ka) toh falak se, (aangan)
    Manmarziyan, (iss martaba) manmarziyaan;

    Here they have picked up the 3rd line of the interlude and broken them into 3: Bheega man ka (X), aangan (Y) and iss martaba (Z) and used them in the 3 and 4th line of this stanza. Interesting.

    Sikkon jaise, hai uchhaali,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyaan,
    Zid ki maari, (Yun to Solah) bholi bhaali (saawan),
    Mannmarziyan, mannmarziyan (aaye gaye);

    Again, you have A, B and C coming in. But notice C. Last time it was placed between the two manmarziyan. This time it is placed after them

    Be-adab si, par gazab si,
    Manmarziyan, manmarziyan,
    Hosh khoya, par sambhali
    Manmarziyan, (Yun to solah) manmarziyaan (saawan)

    Major random stuff. Ideally, they should have been having X,Y and Z repeat here with (maybe) Z coming after the two manmarziyan. But no. They have got A and B in new places. And, this seems deliberate because if you go back to the original poem and my comment on why they don’t follow the rhythm in this stanza of ‘gazab si’

    And then, they repeat

    Zid ki maari (aaye gaye), bholi bhaali,
    Mannmarziyan, mannmarziyan

    C makes an appearance and Zid ki maari repeats itself which isn’t how the poem would have been written

    In conclusion, either they are genius and really know how a song sounds when they play with metre like this or I have gone mad

  35. ankita says:

    THE MOVIE WAS AWESOME !!! its a cult, and i can say that with utmost pride..why is everyone nitpicking flaws?? as if motwane is a god’s angel n he can’t make mistakes?? the most geniusly captured films in this industry r flawed yet they r well remembered for all d good things they camouflaged with. okay,so yes lootera was flawed,so was yeh jawani hai deewani,ashiqui 2 wid its crapy story line ,bad acting and nonsense script,where d man drowns himself bcoz he is a bloody alcoholic n he cant leave alcohol but quits life,telling his girlfriend he is joining a gym and jumps into a river?? dats so genius na?? flawlessss.nyone for a detailed handpicking of flaws for them here?? none??..wat a predicament !!! lootera with all its flaws is a piece of art,its a master piece,the ones who dont think so are probably those who never read a classic neither know who d hell is O HENRY !

    where do u find such director who accepts his flaws but is proud of dem?? u ask any other director,dey wont feel sorry abt presenting bad films to us,here this man who has produced a gem of a kind and we are all handpicking minor flaws..wat snow flakes n vfx visible?? i was so immersed in d emotions,i saw nothing,i saw purity handwork and magic on screen..something really wonderful has happend to indian cinema,and we dont realize it.

    looetra is a cult classic and it shall win all d awards dis season. “WITH ITS FLAWS”..flaws make it more perfect and raw..i agree dis muvi can get either outstanding reaction in standing ovation or complete flop reviews,people in my hall where crying n refusing to leave until dey dont listen to ankahee song in d end credits,while some over twitter were cluless as to wat was so big abt dis muvi dat went over dere head,its not a commercial masala movie wid decked up cheap item numbers,its a pure attempt and newness..i respect this man for udaan now i love him for LOOTERA..critics call it a masterpiece,and i can’t agree more..IT IS A CULT CLASSIC MASTERPIECE with its flaws..:)

  36. ankita says:

    POINTLESS ,COMPLETELY POINTLESS discussion above,on vfx,lights,stupid snow flakes and background being loud u see each movie released every year with that much detail??u dont,but here,everyone is a professional prodigy on indian cinema,everyone knows so much yet u all end up watching policgiri rowdy rathor ashiqui and dabangg n wat not,where does dis “detailed” analogy goes while watching utter crap n making dem hit?? wher was her hair,her lipcolor was too bright,dress was not ironed, ,stain on d glass??? seriously???? next il see u people wid such crap[y details

    some of d most stupid questions were asked to motwane,abt lights,fake snow n vfx,why dont u ask salman khan where has he left his brain??? ask dat n we’l talk here again.

    watch lootera widout thinking abt any of it,wid a purity ,it bowls u over. who thinks so much while going into a theater anyway?? wat u see ,u love n thats jst abt it..WAT I SAW IN LOOTERA WAS AN HONEST EFFORT,AND IM MADLY IN LOVE WID THIS MOVIE,THE BEST IV SEEN THIS YEAR ..:)

  37. […] The content in Vikramaditya Motwane’s “Lootera” isn’t its strongest point (the film-maker admitted later that it was a flawed screenplay), but it is to his credit that he makes even a weak story […]

  38. Jamuura Blog says:

    […] film blogs for a long time. Be it first person accounts by filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap or Vikramaditya Motwane or brilliant pieces on music or unique perspectives on films & filmmakers, they've their own […]

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