Are you writing a story? Yes.
Is there a boy in it? Yes.
Is there a girl in it? Yes.
Are they in love? No.
Are they about to fall in love? Don’t know.
Lootera is a ballad that touched all the right chords of my heart and I shed some tears too…..not because of how it ended but because it is what love is & should be. It touched me in a way very few movies has ever had. It’s a love story that has many layers. It is a story which says love can also be as grim and grey as snowy evenings. And that life itself can be as frail as autumn leaves.
It is like poetry in motion. The story is simple, subdued ….it’s like someone painting a landscape ….of love….in its own sweet time…..every stroke of paint being applied with no urgency to finish it….and the story takes its own sweet time to whisper love in your ears & awake it in your hearts! You want to fall in love…. just because it’s so pristine and surreal.
In Lootera love happens at first sight, at least for Pakhi, the daughter of a zamindar, who lives a sheltered life under the wings of her doting father. Pakhi is a young, naïve dreamer whose heart is first stolen and later broken by a man, Varun, posing as an archeologist. Love, fleeting at first and then full-blown and physical, blossoms as furtive glances, frequent dinners, car rides, informal painting classes & asthma attacks, allowing the two to explore each other’s feelings.
Pakhi & Varun were very different from each other. Pakhi is at times shy, revels in stealing glances and gazing at her beloved. She was impulsive too & had weaved a dream world of her own around her whereas Varun was someone who had his emotions in control no matter what the situation was, he seemed quite realistic too. He is soft-spoken, respectable & was full of chivalry. He had this smoldering intensity in his eyes at various occasions, which said a lot more than his words could. At a point when he had to make a choice, he did not shy away from putting his gratitude towards his uncle, who had raised & taken care of him as an orphan, in the forefront as against Pakhi’s love. But even then they fell in love….they were destined to. There isn’t really anything substantial that happens to warrant an intense relationship between them.
Kaagaz ke do pankh leke uda chala jaaye re
Jahan nahi jaana tha ye wahin chala haye re
Umar ka yeh taana-baana samajh na paaye re
Zubaan pe jo moh-maaya, namak lagaye re
But falling in love is not easy. When Pakhi confronts Varun, and begs him to acknowledge that he also loves her, he keeps quiet. Love is not easy for him. There is too much holding him back and he cannot say yes even if it is just to please Pakhi.
Patte jo shaakhon se toote
Bewajah toh nahin roothe, hain sabhi..
Even the sweet bond of love shared by indulged Pakhi and her doting, zamindar father was heart touching. How he equated her importance for him with the parrot that had the King’s life in its heart was heart touching for me. For a father, his daughter is always his princess & his life is hidden in her well-being.
Later in her life, Pakhi’s inner turmoil, when she was torn between her love for Varun who was also the cause of her loving father’s heartbreak and eventual death, was painful. The pain percolated from the screen to my heart.
Mujhe chhod do mere haal pe
Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!
Hawaaon se jo maanga hissa mera
To badle main hawa ne saans di
Akelepan se chhedi jab guftagu
Mere dil ne aawaaz di
Mere haathon, hua jo qissa shuru
Usey poora toh karna hai mujhe
Qabr par mere sar utha ke khadi ho zindagi
Aise marna hai mujhe!
Kuch maangna baaqi nahi
Jitna mila kaafi hai
Zinda hoon yaar, kaafi hai!
The best scenes in the film don’t have dialogues, in fact there are no catchy lines that any of the characters say—the lighting and cinematography used are breathtakingly beautiful without ever seeming odd or out of place in the story or setting, the music propels the story forward along with the brilliant acts of the supporting casts. The details of the era were, also, carefully looked into. The antique oil lamps & candle stands, the hand-pulled ceiling fan, Chinese cutlery with intricate designs, well dressed & well groomed men & women, drinks after dinner as they sat for a sessions of poetry, theatres, radio playing songs which resonated the entire household, ….all of these created the mystique atmosphere of the film. From the rural landscape of Bengal to the sun rays spreading all around to the pristine white snow in Dalhousie to the last leaf on Pakhi’s tree, everything was aptly picturized. Subtle & slow is what defined everything.
Lootera is the kind of film you will remember long after watching it. I would love to go back & watch it again & savour all the moments it had that touched me to the core. An absolute must for those who love romantic films or are romantic at heart. This film is a gem!
My favourite scenes from the movie:
- Pakhi playing with the switch of the light when electricity reaches her place for the first time. Her eyes & the smile on her face reflected her innocence.
- Pakhi’s first glimpse of Varun from the window of the driver’s seat. Her eyes said it all…… love had happened to her … at the first sight.
- Pakhi and Varun are sitting by a tranquil lake. There are silences and whispers in their conversation. There is no romance between them, but the promise of it exists. They are seen sharing their dreams and long conversations. Pakhi confesses that she wants to be a writer, spinning stories in her Dalhousie home. Varun, in turn, has the soul of an artist and wishes to paint a masterpiece someday in a place near Manali.
- The glance that Varun gives Pakhi when she says that she will teach him to paint, if he does not know how, because in order to keep the class going on one has to teach the other. She reveals that she can paint landscapes well except for leaves and then he ends up painting some funny leaves. The scene is so endearing.
- In her quest to stop Varun from leaving, Pakhi reaches his room at night. The scenes that follow are so aesthetically done. Nothing is evident but then you understand it all.
- In one of the flashbacks, Varun is seen sitting on the bed, after their night together & Pakhi scribbling on her notebook writing a story. The way he gazes at her as she writes, is so much full of love. And then he whispers questions to her which she enjoys answering. It is scene that melts the heart.
- Varun telling a sick & dying Pakhi (wearing dark circles under her eyes, untidy hair & a pale face), who questions his intentions, “Haan, aaj kal itni haseen jo lag rahi ho tum”.
- Varun trying to put up the leaf he has painted on the tree in spite of his injury and Pakhi’s realization when she realizes the reason behind the last leaf not falling down.
………………..and many more…..