BY TROY RIBEIRO
Film: ‘Looop Lapeta’ (Streaming on Netflix).
Duration: 131 minutes.
Director: Aakash Bhatia.
Cast: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Taapsee Pannu, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Manik Papneja, K.C. Shankar, Rajendra Chawla, Raghav Raj Kakker, Bhupesh Bandekar, Sameer Kevin Roy, Alistar Bennis and Varun Pande.
Mounted as a ‘stoner drama’, Director Aakash Bhatia’s film ‘Looop Lapeta’ is an astutely crafted concept movie. It is an adaptation of Tom Tykwer’s 1998 German experimental thriller, ‘Lola rennt’, also known internationally as ‘Run Lola Run’.
With its obtuse color palette, racy Konkani number with a techno beat, 2D animation, and multiple split-screen frames, the film could be repulsive for a regular cinephile at the first go. But as you get soaked into the narrative, the film grows on you. It kicks in a vibrant film in a deceptive way.
Though not blatantly mentioned, the film is set in Goa. It begins with Savina Borkar, aka Savi (Taapsee Pannu), an athlete with a funky plait, consuming drugs on her birthday as she reflects on her dreams, hope, and how life has treated her to date. The narrative picks up momentum when her boyfriend Satya (Tahir Raj Bhasin) calls to tell her that he lost a bag containing rupees fifty lakhs belonging to his boss and his life is at stake if he does not return it, “before the turkey is cooked”. His boss is a mafia-cum-chef whose lines are blurry and character ambiguous.
With literally about 20 minutes left to return the money, they contemplate how to raise the amount and return it in time as a last resort, Satya even suggests robbing a nearby jeweller’s store.
Savi desperately runs through the streets in her attempt to save Satya, and beyond the hyper-ventilating nature of this film, there is a heart that nudges you with life’s lesson. It strongly tells you, “All it takes is a moment to change one’s life.” It also tells you to attempt and keep trying till you get it right. And to accept your problems and deal with them.
The title does not lie to you. It is the mythical quality of the loop-de-loop plot, that makes the narrative intriguing and compelling. The script intelligently interweaves the analogy of the legendary tale of Satyavan and Savitri to help with some quick rewinding in the story. In a nutshell, this is the trigger for all the three identical episodes you see with entirely different outcomes.
The narrative melds together some fast-paced action and cracking comedy lines with the help of a collection of amusing side characters who have their moments of on-screen glory. Topping the list is the Jeweller Mamlesh Charan Chaddha and his two sons Appu and Gappu, the bride Julia and her taxi driver boyfriend Jacob, along with her fiancé Robert. Then there are; Savi’s dad- Atul Borkar and Yash – his love interest, Satya’s boss Victor and the Police Inspector David Colaco. Together they exude terrific tempo shifts in the middle of the scenes.
Overall, the film is directed with real verve and energy, bristling with confidence and fabulous camera work. The dialogues; “Pachas lakh”, “Bro…”, “S**t” often echo, and the frames capture the elements from weird angles making the film appear technically snazzy and stimulating. A special mention is a must to its editing team for seamlessly layering the film to make it a consistent, entertaining unit.