Looop Lapeta is cinematic turkey extraordinaire!

Taapsee Pannu loves a slacker (Tahir Raj Bhasin) and runs for him in Looop Lapeta. Photo: Instagram / Tahir Raj Bhasin

There is the turkey (fondly called “James”), which Victor (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) as a chef has “raised with much love” but has now put in the oven for cooking for 80 minutes. By the time we pass (waste?) even half that time watching this story cook, we are more roasted than the poor animal. And at the end of the marathon 131 minutes of run-time, we realize that it perfectly describes what the movie is—a turkey or dud extraordinaire!

The last 15 years in particular has seen many neither-here-nor-there movies bankrolled and actually inflicted (that’s the right word!) on poor unsuspecting audiences. Happily, most of them are junked for good, though some are attempted to be kept alive by the susceptible media, like Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota or AK Vs. AK in recent times.

A small diversion: I had this conversation a while ago with a hugely-successful filmmaker who has, besides blockbusters, also made some acclaimed and substantial middle-of-the-road cinema. He put into words my exact thoughts when he said, “Such people are unaware—or deliberately choose to be so—of what our audiences want! They imitate not just foreign cinema but the wrong foreign cinema!”

And this time, it’s more than just the format of storytelling: Looop Lapeta is an official remake or adaptation of the German film Run Lola Run, an experimental “free will vs. determinism” thriller that did rocking business in home country (See where the temptation to make such misadventures for Hindi cinema comes from??).

The original, as per Wikipedia, was 80 minutes long. This one’s almost an hour longer, goes into by-lanes that are supposed to comic, probably mimics (I haven’t watched the original!) it in its weird camera angles, split montages and the works, and chooses poor, picturesque Goa as its victim location.

‘Victim’? Yes, poor Goa suffers here as never before, after blockbusters from Rohit Shetty movies to Dil Chahta Hai, Drishyam, Murder 2, Go Goa Gone and even the classic but offbeat Finding Fanny and so many more have used and shot it so well. Goa’s picturesque lanes, panoramas and cottages offer but a tiny distraction from the hollowness and weirdness of whatever is going on here.

Moreover, as is the trend with pseudo-intellectuals and wannabe-European cinema mimics, there are forced angles, like a gay slant for the heroine’s father that was not there in the original, and even a weird allusion to the Hindu legend of Satyavan and Savitri. There is also a quirky tribute to the word “Lola” (a cab here) and to Julia Roberts.

In a nutshell—and never for a film was the word “nut” so apt!—the story is about Savi (Taapsee Pannu—Oh! What a fall there was my countrymen, from Badla, Mulk, Pink, Rashmi Rocket, Thappad et al!), who has to somehow manage to arrange five million rupees to save the life of her slacker boyfriend Satya (Tahir Raj Bhasin). The poor guy, in a hat-trick of a persecuted man’s roles after the decent Ranjish Hi Sahi and the riveting Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, just does decent work.

The deadline for arranging the sum is 50 minutes, because Victor (Dibyendu Bhattacharya), who has sent Satya to collect the money, will find James nicely cooked in his oven by then. And Satya has now lost the bag in a bus.

Savi has a back-story, a dad (K.C. Shankar) who hardly cares for her, and a fractured knee while running a race. Because of this, she had once attempted suicide, and because of that, she had met Satya on a hospital terrace (Why? Please do not ask uncomfortable questions!). Here’s another: Why does Savi run so fast, and so much, if her knee was once fractured? Shut up, Mr. Logic !!

A jeweler (Rajendra Chawla) and his hyper-moronic sons (played by Manik Papneja and Raghav Raj Kakker, who do amuse in parts), and a weeping bride Julia (Shreya Dhanwanthary) in love with Jacob, a cabbie (Sameer Kevin Roy) while she is set to marry Robert (Alistar Bennis) form additional angles along with an impulsively stupid cop (Bhupesh Bandekar) chasing Savi.

The action replays thrice over, and dope, mind you, plays a big role in these mad shenanigans. Things happen the first time, then again and finally a third time based on the “free will vs. determinism” concept that, to a normal film-loving Indian out to relax with any good film across genres, sounds unhinged to begin with!

The acting honors go clearly to the cameo by Shweta Dhanwanthary (especially the monologue that occupies the bulk of her limited cameo-time). The actors playing the jeweler clan are okay. Dibyendu Bhattacharya as the eccentric Victor is quietly menacing and effective. The other actors just go through the motions, though Sameer Kevin Roy as Jacob is decidedly promising.

Rating: *1/2

Netflix presents Sony Pictures Networks India’s & Ellipsis Entertainment’s Looop Lapeta Produced by Tanuj Garg, Atul Kasbekar & Aayush Maheshwari  Directed by: Aakash Bhatia Written by: Dr. Vinay Chhawal, Ketan Pedgaonkar, Puneet Chadha, Aakash Bhatia & Arnav Vepa Nanduri and based on the original by Tom Tykwer  Music: Sidhant Mago, Mayank Mehra, Santanu Ghatak, Rahul Pais & Nariman Khambata  Starring: Taapsee Pannu, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Rajendra Chawla, K.C. Shankar, Manik Papneja, Raghav Raj Kakker, Bhupesh Bandekar, Sameer Kevin Roy, Alistar Bennis, Varun Pande & others




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