Synopsis – Nandan Kumar comes across a suitcase and discovers it is full of cash. He takes the suitcase and soon finds himself being chased by a notorious gangster, an honest cop and a minister, who want the suitcase at any cost.
My Take – Money being everything is a sentiment shared by almost anyone belonging to the middle class of any part of the world, especially when they see that their daily wear and tear routine seems to be mounting towards nothing but psychological and physical breakdown as age catches on. With most living the fantasy that one day they would chance upon a bag full of wealth which would finally put an end to all troubles.
A scenario which director Rajesh Krishnan (TVF Tripling) explores comically in his feature debut stitched together by a cast of colorful characters portrayed by some of Bollywood’s most underrated actors. Though the trailer landed online somewhere in late 2019, following several release delays, the film has finally found release on Disney + Hotstar over the weekend, and results are expectedly hilarious.
Mainly as the film does not try to be more than its simple story and at the same time manages to be mostly clever by relying on the comical antics the situation has induced. Yes, it plays out longer than it should and the script definitely had room for improvement, but everything can be overlooked as it keeps us blissfully engaged throughout.
The story follows Nandan Kumar (Kunal Kemmu), a cash-strapped common man working in a printing press, living the hard life, with his working wife, Lata (Rasika Dugal) and young son, Aayush (Aryan Prajapati). While he yearns to get rich, Nandan believes his family values and his god fearing wife are the anchor which keep him down, that is until, on an eerie night, he stumbles upon a red suitcase filled with money.
Though he initially panics, Nandan soon starts spending on extravagances, the moment he hides most of Rs 2,000 bundle of notes around the house and his work space. Unknown to him, the suitcase itself belongs to MLA Patil (Gajraj Rao), a notoriously manipulative politician, who was sending it to another powerful politician at the hands of a local gangster named Omar (Sumit Nijhawan).
However, the delivery was sabotaged by the arrival of the henchmen working for Omar’s rival Bala Rathod (Vijay Raaz) and in the commotion, the bag was left behind only to be later found by Nandan. While Nandan continues to celebrate his luck, Inspector Kolte (Ranvir Shorey), on the orders of MLA Patil, has begun his hunt for the suitcase which apparently contains something more important than the money.
It sounds busier than it actually is, as events seem to unfold over weeks rather than days. Yes, the story is predictable from the get-go but the makers don’t shy away from it, as the world that director Rajesh Krishnan has created here is just plainly simple and uncomplicated. After all, beauty lies in simplicity, right? The screenplay is slow-paced but it’s the dialogues that work best for the film.
Written by Kapil Sawant and director Rajesh Krishnan, the simple greed centered dark comedy never misses a moment with its comic timing. Along the way, they roll out observational humor and add a few touches to overly familiar characters. The good-natured humor dispenses with profanity and double innuendo, proving that it is possible to make a film about ill-gotten gains without adulterating the tongue.
There are a few laugh-out-loud moments, like the conversations between Nandan and his son, and Bala Rathod’s obsession with Nat Geo, but the highlight of the film remains Nandan’s bittersweet relationship with the red suitcase. In what seemed to be the end of all his struggles actually ends up becoming one.
His beloved bag, that he names Anand Petikar, isn’t really easy to hide, and spending the entire amount together is not really an option. He dreams of buying a luxurious flat, but then nobody really takes crores in cash. So, Nandan decides to take out small portions of the money, wrap it, and hide it safely in various corners of his home. But for a man living in a chawl in Mumbai, finding corners to hide such a huge amount isn’t really easy. T
he relationship between Nandan and his wife is another highlight. In their own little world, they find paradise. So what if there is no sugar in their house? The leisurely pace allows us to observe and appreciate the characters, even though the nagging doubt that this could have achieved without dragging it out lingers.
My only actual complaint is that the film doesn’t tie all the loose ends, which is either because it’s not important to our protagonist or they’re aiming for a sequel.
Performance wise, the deeply underrated Kunal Kemmu is undoubtedly the star of the film. He looks dapper even as a simpleton and has truth in his eyes, even when he steals. He is perfect as the common man who dreams of being rich while Rasika Dugal is remarkable as his partner, and shines in every scene they have together. Ranvir Shorey fits into the tough cop avatar well, both smart and aggressive at the same time. Gajraj Rao, as the overly-sweet and cunning MLA Patil, is flawless.
However, my personal favorite Vijay Raaz manages to be the best of the lot, as his calm demeanor and Nat Geo trivia brings about some genuine laughter. In other roles, Aryan Prajapati, Sumit Nijhawan, Nilesh Diwekar, Aakash Dabhade and Vijay Nikam also manage to be a hoot. On the whole, ‘Lootcase’ is a fun one-time watch uplifted by enough moments of laughter and top-notch performances.
Directed – Rajesh Krishnan
Rated – NR
Run Time – 132 minutes