What could possibly be the level of dysfunction of a world in which people leave a bag full of 100 bundles of 2000 rupee notes near a public washroom? Lootcase is the answer to that absurd question. Albeit rife with absurdity, the film makes for a decent watch nevertheless. Why, you ask?
Well, with its highs and lows of the narrative, it surely opens up a different world altogether, where the city of Mumbai plays a character in itself. In his feature debut, director Rajesh Krishnan comes forward to tell an unusual story of a missing suitcase, around which the entire plot revolves.
As more people join the rat-race for the bag, we get deeper insights into the corruption inherent in the system that operates underneath. In that sense, the film works out more as a reflection of the society than a comedy at times, and the many tragedies are masked by the comicality of their expression. The underpinnings of a flawed society that produces the comedies and the characters that make up the film, are the primary concern of the filmmaker as well. It is more a comedy of terrors than one of errors.
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By portraying the divide between the middle classes and the privileged politicians, the film proceeds to satirically show the difference between both sides of the spectrum. The corrupt politician who wants the suitcase because it contains revelatory documents. And the simple common man who has desires for his family that he wishes to fulfil. The latter’s wishes to safeguard the money and spend it without anyone finding out are constantly thwarted by other people who come in his way. The politician-police-underworld nexus hunt him down, eventually.
With all characters created with care, the eccentricities and vulnerabilities are portrayed well by the cast. Including the likes of Kunal Khemu, Rasika Dugal, Gajraj Rao, Vijay Raaz and Ranvir Shorey in pivotal roles, the film surely relies on the shoulders of brilliant performers for its comic timing and satirical affect. While these are the key performers, the entire ensemble cast delivers with perfection, and renders with amicability, the many shades of this upside-down world.
It would be an understatement if one would call Khemu a comforting presence for the screen. The chemistry between him and Dugal centers around Chinese food metaphors, funnily so. Gajraj Rao plays the passive-aggresive politician, and as he comes to embody the villain figure for the first time (at least for me). He is an absolute rarity, emboldened with brilliance.
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Despite leveraging some of the finest acting talents, Lootcase wastes a lot of it through its loosely structured plot, that lacks fluidity and flow both. On the qualitative front, the film also does fail at multiple points. It leaves too many threads unbound, leaving too many stories without a definite resolution of sorts.
The technicalities of the narrative aside, the film scores on other fronts. The production design for one. It sits well with the requirement of the story. Besides, it manages to fit songs into a somewhat simplistic narrative with ease, livening up the milieu of the film.
All in all, with all its drawbacks, the film still works out well as a comedy, and is sure to make one smile. There is not much we can ask for in these times. Go watch Lootcase, and tell us what you liked about the film in the comments below!
Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar
By Sanghmitra Jethwani
Director: Rajesh Krishnan
Writers: Kapil Sawant, Rajesh Krishnan
Cast: Kunal Khemu, Vijay Raaz, Rasika Dugal, Ranvir Shorey, Gajraj Rao
Producer: Fox Star Studios
Cinematographer: Sanu John Varghese
Editor: Anand Subaya
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