A ‘loot’ of good performances and an average script


STORY: Life takes an unexpected turn for a printing press staffer, Nandan Kumar (Kunal Khemu), when he chances upon a briefcase filled with cash sitting on a dingy street. Seeing this as a window to a better livelihood, Nandan takes it home. But, the money is big and seekers aplenty.Will this be the end of his woes or the beginning of new sorrows?

REVIEW: A worn out tiffin hanging from his shoulder, an ungrateful workplace, a nagging wife at home and a kid who wouldn’t stop with his demands – Nandan Kumar is one of the many million faces drowning in the burden of his middle-class life. But a big, glossy red suitcase – or ‘lootcase’, as they would like to call it – comes as a glimmer of hope and he knows he would be foolish to let this one go. So, before embracing it, he makes this somewhat of a naïve announcement: “Last time poonch rahaan hoon, kiska suitcase hain?” Once Nandan realises there are no takers, off he goes! But the man is a chawl dweller and his neighbours are a bunch of noisy, pesky people. And his wife? A ‘poojari’s beti’ who wouldn’t accept this unwelcome guest although she’s always giving him grief over the family’s dire financial situation.

And the fact that the money was stolen from a top-notch politician, who was getting it hand delivered to another top-notch politician’s wife through a gang of goons, doesn’t help either. Rajesh Krishnan’s ‘Lootcase’ is a satire, a cinematic stareback at a poor man’s insatiable quench for wealth pitted against a rich man’s obsession to amass as much as he can – by fair or unfair means.

The plotline is intrigue personified; given. And has all the ingredients required to cook up the perfect dark comedy broth – those uproarious expressions, well-timed and carefully placed one-liners and, of course, the stool jokes… Always the stool jokes!

But, what it does lack is a stable momentum and subtexts that came off as fresh-from-the-oven ideas. The central theme, as well as the parallel stories and all the chaos and commotion that usually tag along a dark comedy, are rendered in a fashion that seem all too predictable (slowly but surely, it does!) and bit too stretched in the middle.

Good news is: the performances more than make up for the damage. With his thick Marathi accent and the nuances of a man living on the edge – both literally and figuratively – Kunal Khemu is oh-so-Aam-Aadmi he’s set out to portray. Khemu is not only hilarious as the man conflicted between right and wrong & greed and gumption, but also pulls off the serious dialogues by honey-capping them with humour. Sample this: in the middle of a gang war, someone asks, “Bol tu kaunse gang ka aadmi hai?. To which, a charming Khemu replies, “Main toh Lata ka aadmi hun.”

One of the main anti-heroes in ‘Lootcase’ is Vijay Raaz as Bala. Shown as a local ‘gunda’ with a fascination for the animal world and talks to his ‘chamchaas’ in scientific names, Raaz is an absolute delight. He cracks you up, dialogues or not. And Gajraj Rao seems to be on a roll; after all it’s his second big comedy project since ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ and no, he doesn’t disappoint. I guess it is safe to say that Rasika Dugal has found her niche as the quintessential whiny homemaker. As Lata, she brings two sides to her personality on the forefront – one that of a complaining Cathy and the other, of a sex-seeking wife who just loves Chinese food references. Ranvir Shorey plays the tough cop Kolte who wouldn’t bat his eyelashes before gunning down a criminal a history of punishment transfers and fake encounters. He is funny even when he is ruthless and you got to his credit upping the ante in the already thriving acting department.

Other than ‘Muft Ka Chandan’, rest of the film’s music is just about okay and nothing that would pop right on top of one’s head.

‘Lootcase’ is an earnest effort with regards to two things: bring to light the travesty of greed, and life in general. But, with the writers, Kapil Sawant and Rajesh Krishnan, falling prey to the need to take the safe route and inculcate the tried-and-tested formulas of this genre, honestly, the film didn’t have much promise beyond a point.

The ‘loot’ wasn’t bad; it’s just the execution that didn’t work out too well for the gang.



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