Vikramaditya Motwane has painted this film in West Bengal and Dalhousie and set it in the ’50s era. Yes, I used the word painted because this film is more than just a film. It is more like one of those beautiful paintings that you get mesmerised by when you come across them in old palaces or museums. Those sublime paintings where the detailing is so painstakingly crafted that they almost transport you to the era that it was painted in.
The year is 1953. Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), a young vibrant girl is the apple of her father’s eye. Father is a Zamindar and he is so comfortable in his aristocratic world that he chooses to ignore that times are changing and he might soon lose a lot of his property to the government’s new rules.
In their outwardly idyllic world, enters Varun (aka Atmanand played by Ranveer Singh). Varun claims to be an archaeologist and soon wins the heart of the Zamindar and Pakhi. However, Varun is not too keen on taking his romantic interest in Pakhi forward, much to her frustration. After a huge revelation, Pakhi and Varun are torn apart.
Nothing in this movie is hurried or in your face. Simplicity and sincerity of Pakhi’s character and the unique language of her eyes grow on you slowly. Varun’s initial awkwardness and then the easy charm creep up on you unawares and the beauty of the surrounding holds you captive without you even realising it.
In a case of fabulous casting, Sonakshi and Ranveer give their career-best performances. While Sonakshi surprises with the range of emotions in her repertoire, it is Ranveer who amazes you with a character that he plays with such aplomb that is in complete contrast to his real personality. He is someone to watch out for. Motwane, who debuted with the excellent 'Udaan', proves once again that sensitive story telling is his strongest forte. While in 'Udaan' he spoke about a father-son’s delicate relationship, in 'Lootera' he deftly presents the heart-breaking story of true love lost. Motwane’s love for the script and his confidence comes through in every scene.
The second half, which is heavily inspired by O Henry’s short story, has a few jarring loopholes but you want to give that poetic liberty to Motwane, and perhaps say thanks to him because love, thankfully, is not just another four letter word in this film.
The hummable songs (music by Amit Trivedi and lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya) add to the overall old world charm of the film.