After watching the promising trailers reminiscent of Satyajit Ray’s films like Charulata and Aranyer Din Ratri and of course Vikramaditya Motwane’s the legacy of a brilliant film like Udaan, I was all prepared to soak in the love story set in the early 50s, only to realize that the Lootera would rob me of my 250 bucks and 2.5 odd hours (the latter cost me dearly). Here’s a fictional account of what must have transpired between the two lead actors Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha after reading the screenplay of Lootera:
Ranveer Singh: Not again! This seems like some prequel to ‘Ladies v/s Ricky Behl’, ‘Fanaa’ and ‘Special 26’ set against the backdrop of Zamindari abolishment era!
Sonakshi Sinha: Khaaaamosh! This one’s a silent film, not those with eardrum splitting background score and I get to wear Bengali sarees, jewellery and drive a Vintage Chevrolet!
RS: But doesn’t this ‘I will last till the last leaf’ wala angle more of a ‘I will not marry him because I promised Jesus Christ’ oath in Jab Tak Hai Jaan? Why are all heroines so superstitious?
SS: Nah, it isn’t like that at all! It seems you haven’t read O Henry’s story, ‘The Last Leaf’…
RS: Well, I haven’t read it, but watched its adaptation on DD…Katha Sagar…
SS: What is Katha Sagar? Sounds like some mytho…
RS: It used to be a popular series on Doordarshan back in the 80s. Shyam Benegal had adapted the O Henry story as, ‘Kalakriti’ featuring Supriya Pathak and Neena Gupta. You can watch it YouTube
SS: Whatever…But think of it…you get to play the leading role of an absconding Lootera in an era where Zamindars like my character’s father to be played by Barun Chanda gleefully invited strangers to stay over at their place and flirt with their daughters…I don’t mind as long as I get to wear Bengali sareers, jewellery and drive a Vintage…(Smiles)
RS: Yeah I know Vintage Chevrolet….How about asking the director Vikram Motwane to tweak the story a bit and ‘Un-Fanaa’ it?
SS: It’s already ‘Un-Fanaa’oed by the director who also doubles up as the screenplay writer. Remember I don’t kill your character in Mother India, Vastav or Fanaa style…I am not playing a blind girl’s character here… but an Asthma-cum-TB patient…Not something I’d mind as long as I get to wear Bengali sarees, jewellery and drive a Vintage Chevrolet! (Smiles)
RS: Hey I suspect the director added TB to the already Asthma-suffering patient just to pay homage to Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara. Even the village in Bengal is called Manikpur – perhaps a tribute to Manik Da i.e. Satyajit Ray for inspiring the director to recreate the idyllic evenings of Charulata and Aranyer Din Ratri…
SS: You seem to know a lot about Bengali films, eh?
RS: Research my dear (Winks) Vikramaditya asked me to watch Ray films and try getting the nuances of actors like Soumitra Chatterjee and Uttam Kumar right… while my costar Vikrant Massey was busy watching DVDs of Dev Anand films.
SS: Now what’s that Dev Anand twist?
RS: Be it Shagird, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster or Bombay Talkies, every ‘meaningful’ film must have an old song, you see…Jokes apart, actually the character of Vikrant is obsessed by Dev Anand and jigs to the tunes of ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui Taqdeer bana le’ from the movie, Baazi.
SS: Oh yes…I read it in the screenplay…But I wonder how the radio tunes on its own accord in the second half when I am struggling to write a book and throw the paper.
RS: They wasted so much paper back then…no wonder we’re bombarded by ‘Save paper, save tree’ slogans, emailers, and ads on every 5th June. Ask the director, there must be an intellectual layer to the radio switching on automatically and precisely playing the song which evokes memories of your character Pakhi’s past. (Winks)
SS: How mean of you! But you know what…even I felt why my character lets my caretaker played by Divya Dutta to leave me alone when I was on the verge of dying. I also didn’t understand why the doctor disappears precisely the moment when I need him the most…and how on earth does your character know to give me a shot of Deriphyllin-like injection? Horrors of horror, you even force-feed the injection in the second half!
RS: Conmen know it all you know. It was again an intellectual layer you see…it indicates that my character Varun Shrivastav/Aatmanand Tripathi must have posed himself as a doctor in the past.
SS: Quite possible. But why does the cop’s character to be played by Aadil Hussain wait all night to hunt down your character?
RS: He didn’t have ‘search warrant’ you know…it’s mentioned in your dialogues written by Anurag Kashyap…see here it…
SS: (Reading carefully) Oh yes…got it…on second thoughts the cop didn’t have a search warrant to step inside my house but had complete freedom to gheraao my home and keep a vigilant eye all night. In fact, he even tells me that he’d retain his thollaas I mean police walaas around her home all night and hunt him down the next morning with a search warrant. But I don’t mind you know…as long as I get to wear Bengali sarees, jewellery and….
RS: (Laughs) Even I wondered why the cops don’t notice my character trying to tie an artificial leaf on a tree all night. The production designer showed me the ‘painted leaf’…Hell, it comes across as some snow-resistant material but definitely not a painting cutout…Reminds me of the white horses in Pankaj Kapur’s Mausam!
SS: I am sure the critics will love those ‘hidden layers’ and lap up the wafer-thin plot camouflaged by beautiful cinematography by Mahendra J. Shetty and awe-inspiring music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya. (https://prakashgowda.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/lyrical-musings-of-lootera/)
RS: Bingo! And we’ll laugh our way to the bank and bag trophies and accolades… perhaps the National Award too….
SS: Are you kidding me?
RS: Well, why not? If Akshay Kumar can win a National Award for ‘Singh is King’… then why can’t this original Singh?
SS: Hope so…Well, I don’t care as long as I get to wear Bengali sarees, jewellery and drive a Vintage Chevrolet.
RS: I know! Well, who cares if the audience ends up singing, ‘Mein to ainwayi ainwayi loot gaya!
SS: By this Loot’error’a! (Both laugh)