Filmmakers the world over are enamored with the idiosyncratic cinematic style of Quentin Tarantino, who’s made a career out of extracting beauty from brutality and inducing delight in darkness. More discerning viewers have discovered such guile in the works of the Coen Brothers, too, as also the maverick British filmmaker, Guy Ritchie. Truth be told though, excluding Gangs of Wasseypur, Kaminey, Delhi Belly and Phas Gaya Re Obama, I haven’t come across a single Bollywood film that has not lost its own identity in imitation, ending up as cheap knockoffs if not anything else. Now, Director Rajesh Krishnan’s feature debut, Lootcase, is closer to Ritchie’s penchant of balancing dollops of laughs with quirks of the crime world. Well, at least that’s what Krishna aims for, but only manages to achieve in sporadic moments, having to rely on his talented casr to pull the rest of the film through.
Scroll down for my full Lootcase review…
What’s it about
As apparent from the trailer, Lootcase revolves around a bag full of illicit cash that providence lands in the lap of the unsuspecting Nanadan Kumar (Kunal Kemmu) while also setting a motley group of nefarious elements upon him, including rivals ganglords Bala Rathore (Vijay Raaz) and Omar (Sumit Nijhawan), an unscrupulous encounter-specialist cop, Inspector Kolte (Ranvir Shorey) and the malevolent politician, MLA Patil (Gajraj Rao), behind them all. It doesn’t help either that Nandan’s wife, Lata (Rasika Dugal), is too sanctimonious too be swayed by the lure of extra zeroes.
If the above premise sounds hot, that’s because it is. Alas, the execution is tepid. Some of the dialogues do extract spontaneous laughter, but they appear too few and far between, and gangster-comedies really do thrive on their dialogues. Additionally, the narrative does have some scenes, which draw you in and make you wonder how our lower-middle-class will enjoy his monetary graces with his family when he’s so out of his depth. Once again, whatever happens between these scenes is what dilutes the overall impact. Hence, and without an iota of doubt, Rajesh Krishnan owes a huge debt to his entire case, with everyone from his two leads to the supporting players to the side actors, pulling their weight and lifting the film above a level it had no business reaching.
No two ways about it — Krishnan squanders the bristling potential that Lootcase had, and just like his chief protagonist, you feel he bit off more than he could chew. The idea is there, but barely the surface of what could happen to a simple family, happening upon a pot of gold, with an assortment of wily rogues behind them, is touched upon. The dark humour, quirks and edginess are all there, but somehow neither gel together nor rise above their limitations. Compounding matters further are Anand Subaya’s unimaginative cuts, Sanu John Varghese’s pedestrian camerawork and Sameer Uddin’s lackluster background score, and Rohan-Vinayak and Amar Mangrulkar one totally unnecessary and extremely bad song.
They say comedy is hard work, and making a gangster-comedy is probably the hardest of it all — merging violence with humour never easy — and Lootcase tries really hard, but only manages a to scratch the surface of this sub-genre, thanks largely to its committees and highly talented ensemble cast. That being said, Kunal Kemmu, Ranvir Shorey, Rasika Dugal, Gajraj Rao and Vijay Raaz’s efforts dearly merited a better script, and honestly, that script is there somewhere between the underachieved potential of Lootcase. I’m going with 2.5/5 stars.