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Monday, August 03, 2020

Lootcase review: A bland comedy-drama

The length of the film begins weighing upon the plot, which starts stretching and flattening. A crisper plot and faster pace would have made Lootcase what it was aiming to be.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | Updated: August 1, 2020 7:56:05 am
Lootcase Lootcase is streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar.

Lootcase movie cast: Kunal Kemmu, Rasika Dugal, Vijay Raaz, Ranvir Shorey, Gajraj Rao, Aakash Dabhade, Aryan Prajapati
Lootcase movie director: Rajesh Krishnan
Lootcase movie rating: Two stars

A suitcase full of loot, a regular joe on the loose, and a bunch of crafty hoods on the move: the elements that make up Lootcase are familiar ingredients in films which feature ill-gotten cash falling into the wrong hands causing murder and mayhem.

Printing press operator Nandan Kumar (Kemmu), returning from a late-night shift, stumbles upon a stash of cash, and makes off with it. Of course, it’s rotten money, and of course, there are many claimants, none of them legitimate. A nattily dressed crook who is a Nat-Geo fan (Raaz), a twinkly-eyed corrupt neta (Rao), and a pressed-upon cop (Shorey) start sniffing on the trail of the missing suitcase, and fun and games ensue.

Actually, scratch the last bit. Fun and games should have ensued. They do, and we smile to begin with, but soon we begin tiring. The length of the film begins weighing upon the plot, which starts stretching and flattening. A crisper plot and faster pace would have made Lootcase what it was aiming to be.

Done well, this kind of film can be a full-on entertainer. One of my favourites is the Hollywood classic, Sting, which never gets old. And Lootcase does try: each character has been given some thought, their little foibles given some time to play out, and a clean, uncluttered palette. The ensemble cast is first-rate. Khemu makes you believe in his working class guy, first over the moon, and then wilting under the weight of the ‘dus khoka’ (ten crores). There’s also a nice strand that the film picks up on: be careful what you wish for, because you may not know what to do with it, once you do get it. If you’ve never had money, you will never know how to spend it like water, as Nandan discovers, much to his dismay.

We’ve seen Raaz in this avatar before, though he’s usually scruffy and ruffianly. Here he’s a better class of hood, and some of the parallels he draws with the animals he likes to watch, are quite funny. Shorey, as always, is watchable. But less than halfway through, the plot loses steam, and we begin losing interest. The two who kept me with the film were Gajraj Rao, who employs a nice measure of smiley menace, and Rasika Dugal, as Lata, the wife of Nandan, who brings sexy to ordinariness. It is my belief that Dugal could be draped in a sack, and she would still manage to sparkle. That’s what this film needed much more of; what we get, instead, is blandness.

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