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Lootere Review – Convoluted Plot Takes Away The Thrill

By Binged Bureau - Mar 22, 2024 @ 11:03 pm
5 / 10
BOTTOM LINE: Convoluted Plot Takes Away The Thrill
Rating
5 / 10
Skin N Swear
Violence, Gore, Expletives
Crime, Drama

What Is the Story About?

Disney Plus Hotstar original series ‘Lootere’ is set in the perilous, pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean in the vicinity of Somalia in Africa. An unscrupulous Indian-origin Somali businessman Vikrant Gandhi, aka Vic (Vivek Gomber), will do anything to retain the presidentship of the Port Authority of Mogadishu, even going as far as to set pirates after one of his own ships that’s ferrying an illegal consignment from Ukraine to Somalia. The narrative captures the drama on the high seas as Captain A. K. Singh, along with his resourceful crew, tries to push the pirates on the back foot, even as several ruthless rogues heighten the tension on land.

Lootere is created by Shaailesh R. Singh, from a story by Anshuman Sinha, and script by Vishal Kapoor and Suparn S. Varma. Hansal Mehta is the showrunner while son Jai Mehta directs the series.

Performances?

Rajat Kapoor renders a refined performance as the beleaguered captain of the hijacked ship. The man conveys more through calmly-delivered dialogue and restrained portrayal than the over-the-top histrionics of a few of his co-actors. Amrita Khanvilkar is good as Vic’s wife Avika, though her character is needlessly overdrawn.

Vivek Gomber slips into the role of the slimy, scheming businessman with ease. His performance deteriorates into too much showy melodrama and exaggerated theatrics in later episodes, diluting the effectiveness of the character. Chandan Roy Sanyal is in imminent danger of being typecast as the unhinged, cocaine-snorting sleazy character. He’s played the role one too many times and is getting repetitive. Martial Batchamen is excellent as the gang-leader Barkhad. He lends authentic Somali flavour to the series, elevating the narrative by notches. The rest of the cast is adequate.

Analysis

Lootere is yet another series in the pantheon of Indian OTT content that suffers from the long-winded storytelling syndrome. There’s simply too much happening on screen, with too many characters flitting in and out of the story, and adding nothing to the final outcome. It’s almost as if the writers, in their eagerness to show off their versatility and range in writing interesting characters, stuffed all of them into the eight tedious episodes of Lootere.

The basic premise of Lootere is intriguing, certainly. Sea pirates attacking ships for ransom and the cargo on board is a subject hitherto untouched in the Indian content space. The premise becomes especially thrilling at a time when the eyes of the world are centred on the treacherous waters around North Africa as Houthi rebels keep targeting commercial ships with impunity.

In a way, it’s providence that Lootere released on Disney Plus Hotstar in the midst of the violent turbulence around the Red Sea channel. However, Lootere squanders away that lucky stroke with a narrative that is bloated and overstuffed enough to take away all the thrill of the premise.

The writers try to infuse the story with edgy stimulation – well-constructed cat-and-mouse chases; smart subterfuge by the hijacked crew; a sense of foreboding regarding the female members on board the hijacked ship, and more. But it loses whatever attention it manages to drudge up from the audience due to needless subplots that do precious little to take the story forward.

As the narrative plods along, it loses its grip on the tautness, and gets increasingly messy and convoluted as more characters add to the chaos. What’s even more irritating is that not a single character in the series is worth rooting for.

A shorter, crisper screenplay would have done the show a world of good, instead of the overlong, overstuffed plot it is now. What’s more, the story gets boring and tedious pretty early in the runtime and never recovers from it after.

Several subplots are absolutely dispensable and inessential to the storyline and should have been totally done away with as they do nothing for the story,

but cause it to maunder and meander into tediousness – Avika going off into dangerous territory to hunt for the missing Ismail, for instance. The visuals in the series are mesmerising. The murky waters of the Indian Ocean; the serpentine village lanes, crammed with modest homes on both sides; the poverty and squalor of Somalia – all of it succeeds in imbuing the series with a distinctive visual grammar. Sadly, that’s about the only good thing in Lootere.

Music and Other Departments?

Achint Thakkar has come up with yet another catchy musical score after Scam 1992. The signature tune grows on you after the first few listenings, finally compelling you to like it. The background score is a tad in-your-face and showy. Jall Cowasji’s camerawork is superb. Innovative shot constructions, inventive camera angles and terrific use of light lend themselves well to the cinematography. The editing is efficient.

Highlights?

None worth mentioning

Drawbacks?

Overstuffed with needless subplots

Gets boring and tedious pretty early in the runtime and never recovers

Uninteresting characters, with none worth rooting for

Did I Enjoy It?

Not much

Will You Recommend It?

Only for die-hard Hansal Mehta fans

Lootere Series Review by Binged Bureau

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