Gajraj Rao is divinely gifted: Lootcase director Rajesh Krishnan
The debutant director on crossing over from ads, working with Kunal Keemu and Gajraj Rao and the press-con snub by Disney+ Hotstar
In Lootcase, Kunal Keemu plays Nandan, a printing press employee who’s hard-pressed for cash. His wife, Lata (Rasika Dugal), is always nagging him to climb up in life. One night, Nandan comes across a suitcase full of money, whereupon he’s chased by several parties looking to retrieve the stash.
Director Rajesh Krishnan cites a grim inspiration behind the comic premise. “On Youtube, there’s a 5-minute video about what happened to the top ten people who won the biggest Lottos in America. Not a single guy survived. Some uncle or friend or partner duped them. The only guy who survived was actually quite rich and donated all the money he won,” the filmmaker says.
Lootcase is Rajesh’s first feature as a director. He had shot several top commercials in the past and helmed a season of the TVF series Tripling (2016-2019). Still, the challenge of a feature film was new. “In advertising, a single shot doesn’t last beyond three seconds. It’s all about compression. Whereas in a film you are trying to sustain a graph over a long stretch of time, so that needs a wider skillset,” Rajesh says, naming Mel Brooks, Jacques Tati and the Coen Brothers as his inspirations.
In the film, Gajraj Rao plays a crooked politician who owns the bag of cash. He sets a cop (Ranvir Shorey) to find it at all costs. Their efforts are interrupted by Vijay Raaz, as the leader of a rival gang in on the chase. “I’ve been extremely lucky to have these talents on board,” Rajesh shares. “Gajraj is someone you can just look at and be entertained. He’s divinely gifted as an actor.”
Completed last year, Lootcase’s theatrical release was cancelled twice. It was later announced that the film will release, along with six others, on the streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar. In a tweet, Kunal had expressed his disappointment at not being invited to a virtual press meet for the film. Actor Vidyut Jammwal, whose film Khuda Hafiz is releasing on the same platform, had also lashed out against the snub.
“Kunal is a selfless guy,” Rajesh says. “An actor puts everything into a project so if he felt upset, it’s quite understandable. Having said that, I am completely convinced that the film is as important to Fox Star Studios as it is to us. They have supported us from the start and given us all the freedom. I feel what happened was an oversight and has been a little blown out of proportion.”