Lootere Review: A Gripping Thriller

Mar22,2024


Hotstar's latest show, Lootere, will take you into the murky world of Somalia, where crime is the order of the day and law and order has taken a comfortable position. The show is about Somalian pirates (no, they're not as goofy as Captain Jack Sparrow) who lead otherwise miserable lives. It is reportedly based on a true incident of 2017 when an Indian ship was hijacked by pirates in Somalian waters.

The first scene of Looter gives a preview of what's to come with thrills, adventure, cat and mouse chases, lots of action sequences and a lot of adrenaline rush. Many local Somalis are fleeing to the coast, some of whom have ammunition. It seems as if all of them are going on a mission. The captivating background music adds to the urgency that the makers are trying to create.

The first main character we meet is Vikrant (Vivek Gomber), an Indian businessman who has lived his entire life in Somalia and still faces discrimination and hatred from the locals. Before you start sympathizing with him, it is important to point out that there could be other reasons too: he is the chairman of the port organization and there are many illegal activities going on under him. Of course, this is in addition to the fact that he's a money-minded asshole who has blown out his emotional fuse somewhat. He strongly believes in the philosophy of his father-in-law (from whom he inherited his illegal business empire) that it is better to be a king in hell than a servant in heaven.

Vikrant is vying for the post of chairman of the port and needs a lot of money to woo votes and pay off his debts. One such piggy bank he is relying on is a Ukrainian ship which is bringing an illegal consignment for him to Mogadishu on Sonalia. The ship has 13 crew members, including the ruthless Captain (Rajat Kapoor), a Pakistani crewmate, and two women – one of whom is pregnant.

As soon as information about the illegal consignment on the ship gets out, Vikrant's enemies prepare to report it so that the ship can be inspected when it reaches Mogadishu, which will lead to Vikrant's presidency being cancelled.

One of Vikrant's partners offers the unique solution of hijacking the ship and retrieving the priceless consignment midway before it reaches the enemies: a proposal which Vikrant accepts without even hearing the entire plan.

Thus, a series of exciting scenes begin.

Looter Review: Fine performances from the cast

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Vivek Gamber plays a corrupt Indian businessman in Somalian waters

The cast of Looter has done an impressive job. I especially liked Rajat Kapoor's Ship Captain. Although there wasn't much scope to explore emotional diversity, he played the role of a leader who knows how to keep his team calm in times of crisis. His character also knew how to make a subtle satire even when the pirates were jumping around.

The acting of Vivek Gomber and Amrita Khanvilkar is also worth noting. While Amrita's character will make you appreciate her bravery, Vivek will make you feel all kinds of emotions: anger, hatred, frustration.

However, the role of Marshal Bachman Tachana stole the show for me. Despite being a pirate, his character had surprising moral compass and quiet patience. It provides relief from the otherwise comical representation of foreign actors in commercial Indian films and shows.

It would have been very easy to spoil the show with fake accents and wrong casting, but the makers have scored well in that area.

Lootere review: A refreshing change for Indian OTT

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Looter can be streamed in seven Indian languages ​​on Hotstar

Although there are plenty of crime thrillers, few of them have dared to explore beyond the hinterlands or extreme backdrops of the United States and Europe. Pirates brings a refreshing change to the Somalian backdrop with an interesting premise of pirates. Some might even call it the African equivalent of Uttar Pradesh or Bihar-based crime shows.

The show takes a closer look at the chaos in the region and the May Day situation that prevailed in this African nation. Although the possibility of a civil war has been casually mentioned in the show, the producers haven't delved too deeply into that area. However, Pirates is still likely to arouse curiosity among audiences about the real socio-political scenario of Somalia. There is a scene where little children are being trained in a pirate camp, and then they are kidnapping other children to recruit into the camp.

Another scene with a Somalian touch that caught my attention is that of an organized dog fight where people are cheering for the dogs to defeat each other.

Looters Review: Final Verdict

Looter is somewhat new territory for the Indian digital sphere and even cinema, which means fewer clichés. This is a good effort from Jai Mehta, who is handling the responsibility of direction for the first time.

Lootere has all the ingredients of a good thriller and will touch your heart in many scenes. The background score deserves special mention. The musicians were in perfect harmony with the music: I particularly enjoyed the Somalian notes.

The show beautifully depicts how when humans' lives are in danger, how they cling to every ray of hope, from attacking without any game plan to trying to support the enemy.

The perspective of Somalia's poor pirates is also an interesting concept to consider. Even though they are holding everyone at gunpoint, the producers have not forgotten to mention their plight and how they feel neglected by the government. It's quite entertaining to watch pirates make human mistakes while carrying out their missions.

Another notable point in the show is the shortcomings of the corrupt administration and the resulting inefficiency. Unfortunately, I can't reveal much in this regard without giving away spoilers!

Overall, Lootera is a good crime thriller worth watching.

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