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Lootcase Movie

You know, more than underwhelming films, what hurts more? Films which squander their own, within reach potential. Hey guys!this is Film Companion, you're watching Not A Movie Review, and right now I’m not going to be reviewing Lootcase. Set in Mumbai, Lootcase is the story of a bunch of corrupt, politically motivated, greedy men, who lose a red suitcase full of 2-2 hazaar ke bohot saarey note, and some incriminating documents. The suitcase comes into the possession of our unwitting protagonist, Nandan Kumar, who, so far has been living a life of very limited means, but lots of love within his nuclear family, a wife and a son.

Like any McGuffin plot line, the rest of the film is about more and more people joining the hunt for the missing bag, while we get insights into how deep the rabbit hole goes in bureaucratic corruption, in this universe created by writer director Rajesh Krishnan and co-writer Kapil Sawant. Watching Lootcase was frankly...frustrating, because it kept touching upon genius comedy opportunities, and within a few minutes, would let go, like those opportunities never presented themselves. For instance, I'll tell you, the movie opens with a narrator, who like Arrested Development is used as a tool to create dramatic irony. This invisible character, voiced here by Ninad Kamat, is supposed to keep the audience one step ahead of the characters, keep us aware of what’s going on in the multiple parallel plots. and also is used as a device to poke fun at the absurd behavior of everyone on screen. 

 


Aur yahaan shuru aise hi hota hai. Par opening sequence, aur kuch scenes ke baad, yeh awaaz waapas hi nahi aati. Yaani, joh setup aapne banaaya tha, the promise of comedy through a narrator, who is in on the joke, is abandoned and at one point replaced, in lazy exposition, by Nandan Kumar’s own inner voice narrating the going ons. The McGuffin itself, the suitcase, has a whole song dedicated to its physical appearance, and a scene even builds up to show, how in a shootout, the suitcase is misplaced and a stray bullet takes off one of its wheels. Khojne jaate hain, toh sirf uss suitcase ka pahiya milta hai.

 

Now one would expect that this physical aberration in the suitcase, which the film spends a whole scene and a half elaborating upon, making jokes about, will come into play at some point, when the suitcase gets mixed up, or some such. But, that’s forgotten too. Nandan Kumar’s wife is always angry at him, because she has to run a house in a very tight budget, aur upar se Nandan jo hai, he keeps giving money to his older sister. Poori film mein "Beenu didi, Beenu didi" is mentioned, and I understand, while there might not be an actual necessity to bring a Beenu didi onto our screens, but the joke needed a climax, which never comes.

 That’s really what Lootcase felt like, missed opportunities, not just because many setups were let go without punchlines or conclusions, but, also because this cast is as fantastic as it gets. See, you have Vijay Raaz doing what he does best, playing a gangster with a weird quirk. This time, he’s obsessed with National Geographic, and it is hilarious how he keeps telling his gang members to get a Nat Geo subscription. I don’t know if this was a sponsored deal, but if it was, it's extremely well done. Gajraj Rao as Patil, for a change, is seen here playing the villain. A politician who excels at getting men to do his bidding, without ever incriminating himself. He is unfortunately mostly only a benign presence, who despite a good acting performance, is largely forgotten.

Ranvir Shorey again is splendid as Inspector Kolte. He works for Patil, and there's a Kolte-Patil joke in here somewhere, jisko phir hawa nahi mili. Rateesh U.K.’s production design is quite cool. Patil’s house, the gangster Bala’s house, Nandan’s home - these are all designed quite well. But, it's Ranvir Shorey’s Kolte who gets the best set. He’s built a lair within a bookstore which has been taped off by police, kyunki it was a crime scene. The crime has clearly been forgotten, kyunki inside the store, there’s still chalk drawings of bodies on the floor, but the bookshelves are collecting dust and cobwebs. It's built like a maze, at the heart of which is Kolte on his desk, trying to solve a maze of his own. Kunal Kemmu is one of the most likeable screen presences, in whichever film he’s in. 

 

 

 

Kalank mein, he stood out very tall. Even in the ridiculous Golmaal movies, I always enjoy him. Yahaan par bhi, his abilities as an actor are at display, especially his excellent comic timing. Go Goa Gone yaar, what a film! Go watch again. Rasika Dugal plays Lata, Nandan’s exasperated wife, jiske aas paas cheezein bas hoti rehti hain, and she’s left to play catch up. For what the film gives her to do, it’s a pretty good performance. Kapil Sawant's dialogue is so, so, so funny in places. A gangster points a gun to Nandan’s head and yells at him, "Bata tu kiska aadmi hai? Nandan, who seems like he may pee himself, says standard Lata ka aadmi hoon and hustles away. In the same climax sequence, Bala yells at Nandan pointing his gun, “Magazine de, magazine de!” and because this is playing out in a murder bookstore, Nandan hands him a copy of Nat Geo. Anand Subaya has edited the film quite cleverly, and has had fun with it. When the walls seem to be closing around Nandan and it seems like he might get caught, that scene is cut very effectively with a ridiculous office function, where he is to be felicitated as employee of the year.

 Some cuts between sequences also add to the comic effect of the situations. For instance, one where the family is watching a dumbass superhero movie, Super Maanav. Super Maanav throws a guy off screen, and Nandan comes tumbling out of the movie theatre in a swift match cut. Super Maanav also, a decent amount of time is spent creating this joke, another circle left incomplete. You know, I think Lootcase suffers from “audience ko samajh nahi aayega yaar".

 A scene where Bala is watching Nat Geo, an animal is about to go in for the kill, the narrator of the scene in the show is talking about jaanwar ki bhookh, while this villain character Bala is introduced in the film, which is already over simplification, Upar se, Ninad Kamat’s voiceover comes here to explain to you exactly what the scene is trying to build up. In another moment, Nandan’s boss cons him into doing night shifts at the printing press they work at. After this boss exits the frame, a coworker walks in to explain the structure of the joke the previous dialogue had just delivered. And because, despite having all the ingredients, the film never really challenged me, or got me to try and guess what the next twist might be, kyunki at the heart of it, hai toh yeh thriller hi na. I never got involved with the film, the characters or the universe.

 So, on a scale of 1 to 10, Lootcase is… 3 gaane bhi hain film mein, jismein se 2 hone hi nahi chahiye thhe. Especially that choreographed dance number ‘Pavitra Party’. It was SO unnecessary and jarring. It actively made me angry, I think.

 

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