Many a times, a small budget Indian movie will come along which you will not take notice off due to some big budget movie released alongside. You hear from others about this little said movie and you finally watch it to realize what a masterpiece it is. We often overlook these small budget movies, which we shouldn’t because sometimes these small budget movies can lead you to an experience never experienced before. One such movie is Lootera, which I happened to see last week.
Set in 1953 in West Bengal, we are introduced to the landlord and his daughter Pakhi, who suffers from an asthma attack. While being comforted by her father, he shares a story of a parrot in whom resides the soul of a king. He tells her daughter that she is the parrot in whom he himself resides. Words cannot do justice to this opening scene and you realize you are in for a treat.
Pakhi, one fine day, while learning how to drive a car accidentally hits an oncoming motorcyclist, who turns out to be a handsome young man visiting the area. He later introduces himself to the landlord as Varun, an archelogost looking to work on a dig around the estate.
Pakhi is intrigued by Varun and the twonstart to spend time together, slowly inclining towards romance. They bond over art and literature, in some of the most endearing scenes ever portrayed on celluloid. The old world charm, the simplicity, the elegance, all perfectly depicted in their mannerisms and dialogues.
A law is soon passed where the government is bound to buy off the artifacts from the landlord, which renders Pakhi and her father cashless. Varun helps the family with the purchases by the government. Along with this, he also asks for marriage with Pakhi, which delights both the father and his daughter. Wedding preparations begin, and as fate would have it, Varun disappears. The twist at this point is so insane that it pinches you.
We catch up with Pakhi one year later, where she is living in a hill resort after her father’s death. I won’t get into what happens, but Varun reenters her life and she fights him off because she is so spurned. The one question she asks him again and again is whether you loved me or not, to which Varun fails to answer.
Pakhi is sick and Varun is being scouted by the police The two spend their final moments together, where Varun knows Pakhi is dying and she has linked her death to the leaves that are withering away in the winter season on the tree she sees outside from her window. “When the last leaf withers and falls away, I shall die,” claims Pakhi. Varun, in an emotional display of his love for her, does an inexplicable act of love that will pull the strings of your heart.
Inspired by O. Henry’s short novel The Last Leaf, Lootera is that small gem of a masterpiece. The periodic details captured on screen is impeccable, the acting is restrained and natural, the cinematography and landscapes are gorgeous and the songs are truly heart warming.
Definitely one to keep in your DVD collection
4.5 out of 5