“Lootere Is An Edge Of The Seat Experience” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Our Rating

Lootere(2 episodes, Disney + Hotstar)

Jai Mehta turns out to be quite a chip off the old block, though I doubt Hansal would like to be called a block. Jai’s debut series Lootere, is an assured piece of work with just the right doses of all the ingredients that go into successful storytelling.

Mehta Jr has selected an unusual plot (highsea piracy) and an unexplored location. Somalia looks agreeable through Jai Mehta’s ambitious lenses. This is a series designed for the large screen. The scaling down, however, doesn’t diminish the viewing pleasure.

Set in and around Somalia, Lootere is the story of an Indian-origin entrepreneur grappling with the tense politics of the region while attempting to look into his rather extravagant self-interest. The skilled Vivek Gomber plays a nasty machiavellian businessman in Somalia named Vikrant Gandhi. He wants to not only rule the entrepreneurship of the land but also dominate the local politics.

If foreign countries resent the presence of NRIs, we now know why. It is no coincidence that Vikrant’s first name sounds like a ship. Vikrant has some heavy duty illicit goods coming in on a ship captained by Rajat Kapoor who looks every inch a man at sea, and I do mean that in the right sense.

With three writers Anshuman Sinha, Vishal Kapoor and Suparn Varma pitching in an array of interesting characters and plotting devices, Lootere does insinuate that nail-biting mood which is hard to come by.

What we see so far is far more engaging than the fare normally offered in the high-seas thriller genre. Jai Mehta’s direction is energetic and clued in to the exigencies of a high-seas adventure without being enslaved to tropes and props.

The local Somalian landscape with rows and rows of identical shanty homes caught in top shots, is effectively charted to bring out the yawning disparity of living conditions between the commoners and the wealthy , though opportunely, Jai Mehta doesn’t try to convert this into an upstairs-downstairs theme on class disparity.

The mood is set from the beginning for a sturdy thriller, with a solidly atmospheric background score by Achint Thakkar . The cinematography by Jall Cowasji is world class; and I don’t meant that in any touristic sense. Cowasji captures the tense mood of the characters and their location with a reined-in fluency.

I’ve seldom seen such striking locations so casually used to accentuate the drama. The ship where most of the action takes place(at least,so far) looks like a ship, although most probably it is not. The illusion is appetizing while it lasts.

Our Rating

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