Monday, 14 October 2013

Thanks for All the Effort, Sonakshi.

I just saw Lootera - the much-hyped, much-hated, deserved-to-tank film everyone was crazy about. It's a decent enough film but it would have worked better had it been a painting. It's filled with beautiful pictures alright. There are shots where snow just magically trickles down on the actors (actors, not characters) and the beauty and technique of it reminds me of the way raindrops fell in Raavan. There's also this bit about how these two lovers at the heart of the film meet during in the summer of their youth in rural Bengal and after heartbreak and years of growing older, possibly wiser reunite in the cold winters of Dalhousie. Nice touch, that. Oh there are nice touches dime-a-dozen in Lootera but where it implacably fails is in the acting prowess of its leads.

Ranveer Singh does his best or at least there's a modicum of effort involved but Sonakshi Sinha doesn't even put the slightest amount  of strain on her vocal cords. This is the first film of hers which I have seen and no, thanks, I will not watch Dabangg unless it's played on a long-distance bus and I can't jump off. This woman has already acted in two hundred crore grossing films but I fail to think that it was her acting that delivered the numbers. Here she struggles on every note. Her anger is measured and far worse is her coughing. You see she plays a character called Pakhi who's fighting a losing battle with asthma. Now I have some firsthand experience with asthma. I had my father ferry me to the hospital at 2 in the morning thanks to it. Its stopped me from bagging even a single certificate albeit the participatory ones when it comes to athletics. It has seen me up at nights, gasping for breath, praying that my parents won't wake up and I won't miss college the next day.

Then I see Sonakshi huff and puff here with asthma. By jove, she not only is a disgrace to acting but to the mere act of coughing too. Put your lungs in it, lady. It's not that hard. Am not expecting you to do something as complicated as Holly Hunter in Broadcast News. No punching yourself in the stomach and saying, 'Damn it, he's only a guy.' I just want you to cough and pant like your life depended on it. 

The very casual way in which Pakhi's affliction is portrayed and how Sonakshi hams her way through it shows a major flaw with films in general. In cinema, diseases and the death that follows are used as an easy crutch to take the plot forward. No room for any poignant journeys to the end of the road. This is asthma we are talking about and it had me raging. Makes me wonder how cancer survivors must be seething when they see a cancer patient make magical recoveries after finding love. So yeah, if someone does die in a film I write, it won't be for shock and awe. It would be for a reason. To pardon the delusions of my grandeur, I would do it to highlight an aspect of the human condition. And no matter how I choose to portray death and disease in any work of mine, it would be far more moving than Sonakshi Sinha's half-assed coughing in Lootera.

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