Lootcase movie review: An amusing steal
The writing is smart and nimble-footed; it avoids being crude, leaving just enough for us to be curious, and making Lootcase a worthy haul this lockdown season
In the first few minutes of Lootcase, ganglord Bala (Vijay Raaz) asks his associates to subscribe to National Geographic. The gang intensely observes Bala as he watches the wildlife channel with keen interest, garnishing the conversation with scientific names. “Learn from nature, it is a jungle out there,” he fumes when his assistants' mumble. He further adds, “They say every criminal has an animal inside, but every animal has a criminal inside too.” This sets up the philosophy of Lootcase, an entertaining light-hearted dramedy that seems to be inspired by the ‘hunter becomes the prey’ idea.
Director: Rajesh Krishnan
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
Cast: Kunal Khemu, Rasika Duggal, Gajraj Rao, Vijay Raaz, Ranvir Shorey
A cash-strapped Nandan (Kunal Kheemu) finds a suitcase filled with money, by chance, on an eerie night. There are multiple hunters for this bag though. There is MLA Patil (Gajraj Rao), who needs to deliver these sweets to Minister Tripathi. He manipulates Omar and his men (Sumit Nijhawan) into doing the job, but the suitcase goes missing, thanks to a clash between Omar and Bala. A frustrated Patil blackmails a shrewd cop Kolte (Ranvir Shorey) to find the missing suitcase. Lootcase’s hierarchy is structured like our own food chain, where one tier feeds off the other for its survival. Except here, money decides who belongs to which strata. The most powerful, and also the richest, takes his place at the top of the chain (Tripathi), while Patil, Bala, Omar, Kolte, all fall into different tiers with Nandan occupying the last rung. But what if the tables are turned? What if the prey gets the power to hunt its hunter?
The set-up is very Sundar C-esque, and the comedy for the most part hits the right notes. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, like the conversations between Nandan and his son. The young kid comes to Nandan with all earnestness and acknowledges the financial difficulties of the family. “I know money is tight right now, but please don’t cancel my water park ride due to that,” he says with a straight face. (Lootcase’s Anand Patekar reminded me of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s Bagwati.)
The film is consistently amusing, thanks to the eccentric characters, which are made more entertaining thanks to solid performances. This is a film where every character and actor scores, and plays their part pitch-perfectly. Whenever the script’s energy dips, it is these actors who amp it up. Gajraj Rao and Vijay Raaz are a hoot, in specific.
But what is truly interesting is Lootcase’s parallels with our ecosphere. The film reflects all forms of interspecific interactions. There’s competition which pertains to species with overlapping niches who compete for the same resources — Omar and Bala here. There’s commensalism, where one species benefits from the other but doesn’t harm it — Bala and Kolte. Then there’s Patil who consistently brings up deals where both parties benefit (mutualism). And this way, the film also doubles as a commentary on how we fail to co-exist. It definitely can’t be a coincidence that Nandan, at a crucial juncture, hands Bala a Nat Geo Magazine with a cover on ‘reviving extinct species’.
But all this commentary is neatly hidden under the laughs and antics. The writing is smart and nimble-footed; it avoids being crude, leaving just enough for us to be curious. And that makes Lootcase a worthy haul this lockdown season.