Vikramaditya Motwane made quite an impact with his first directorial Udaan۪ in 2010. For his second offering he returns with the Balaji Motion Pictures and Phantom Films in their joint venture, Lootera۪. The movie, set in the 1950s, brings together a fresh new pairing to the screens in the form of Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh. The questions that may arise about this promisingly out-of-the-box movie is whether it will strike a chord with the audiences or just be one that aims for critical acclaim. As a package, Lootera۪ is a must-watch in 2013 and we explore why.

Pakhi Roy Chaudhry (Sinha) lives with her father in a haweli. When she makes an attempt at driving a car with her friend and driver in tow, little did she know she would hit a biker Varun Srivastav (Singh). Varun brings his archaeologist self to Pakhi۪s house where he ends up staying for a month. Closeness between the two grows until Varun is reminded of his reality. Will he choose to be real with Pakhi who he has grown to love or will he choose to let her down and return to the life he knows with the people he knows?

First and foremost, it cannot be ignored that the film is cleverly split in story and in mood in the first and second half. The first part of the film sees the setting of the scene in a pretty fast-paced fashion. One would have expected that the film۪s pace was a little slower to complement the era it is set in but a story needs to be told after all. The second half is when the performances, the drama and the unravelling of the true beauty of the film comes to light and beautiful it really is.

It has to be said that Ranveer Singh is an absolute revelation from start to finish but more so in the second half. He makes an almost abrupt turn from being a soft-spoken and always well dressed man to a rugged-looking, wounded and self-obsessed individual. He returns to a polite persona when he remembers what is in his heart. Singh۪s performance is quite simply awe-inspiring. Lootera۪ is a world apart from the roles he has played so far and it showcases his versatility like never before. Similarly, Sinha is again seen in the kind of role she has not been associated with previously and she shines like never before. Her rendition of Palki۪s childishness is particularly effective as is her hate for Varun۪s character. The two together are perhaps one of the most unlikeliest couples to grace the screens but for the story of Lootera۪, they are perfection on-screen in both appearance and sentiment.

Motwane seems to have struck gold once again. He made a mark in Udaan۪ because the story was unconventional and he does the same again with Lootera۪, bringing to the forefront his ability at bringing the best out of the actors and also giving an overall tragic story some soul and beauty. After two poignant movies, it is safe to say that Motwane is indeed one of Bollywood۪s most promising talents and one can only hope he continues in this innovative yet grounded style in his future ventures.

Lootera۪ is indeed a movie to see even if there isn۪t much that appeals to you about it. Why? Well, you will be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the most understated movies are those that contribute the most to an ever-evolving industry and the films it churns out. Lootera۪ will no doubt be seen as one of those films and, for that reason alone, it is worth a watch.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 4/5