Tag Archives: Raghav Raj Kakker

Movie Review: Looop Lapeta (2022)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch Looop Lapeta on Netflix

Looop Lapeta is an official remake of the 1998 German film Run Lola Run (complete with a couple of cute nods to the original). To give a hint to the Hindi adaptation’s main problem, consider this: Looop Lapeta is 2 hours and 11 minutes long, while Run Lola Run has a runtime of just 1 hour and 20 minutes.

From the start, debutant feature director Aakash Bhatia makes a statement with the film’s bold visual style. The color palette tends toward saturated greens and reds, and the camera makes frequent use of closeups of the actors’ faces. The style, coupled with a raucous soundtrack, preps the audience for a film that could be colloquially described as a bit “extra.”

Taapsee Pannu plays Savi, a former track athlete whose plans were dashed by a career-ending knee injury. She’s saved in her moment of despair by Satya (Tahir Raj Bhasin), a guy who means well even if he struggles to do well. Though they love each other, they’re getting nowhere, with Savi addicted to prescription drugs she steals from the elderly man she takes care of and Satya gambling away whatever money he earns.

Things get serious when Satya loses $5 million and has less than an hour to replace it before his gangster boss cooks him alive. Savi jumps into action to save Satya, stymied in her quest by a lovelorn cab driver named Jacob (Sameer Kevin Roy) and bumbling brothers Appu (Manik Papneja) and Gappu (Raghav Raj Kakker), among others.

There’s more to Savi’s mission than simply saving Satya’s life — Savi has to stop hurting herself and others and reengage with society in a productive way — but the film doesn’t do the early work to establish why we should care whether Savi and Satya succeed. It’s taken for granted that we will because they’re the main characters and because Savi is pregnant (something she’s not happy about).

That said, when the film finally establishes what Savi’s real goal is, the story is quite enjoyable. Pannu does a nice job switching from a woman angry with the world to one with a purpose. Her subplot with Jacob the cabbie is pretty fun.

Yet the movie would’ve been better if it were quite a bit shorter. Bhatia’s remake is 50 minutes longer than the original, and without good reason. The script relies on repetition for humor, to its detriment. Characters repeat the phrase “pachaas laakh” (“five million”) to each other over and over in a scene that repeats itself multiple times throughout the film. It’s not amusing.

Worse still is the time devoted to the bumbling brothers Appu and Gappu, sons of a jewelry store owner who feel unappreciated by their dad. They plan to rob the jewelry store at the same time Satya is trying to rob the same store. The brothers are irritating and repetitive, subtracting more than they add to the story.

Director Bhatia’s first feature film shows some promise, but he missed a crucial lesson from his source material: less is more.

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Movie Review: Purani Jeans (2014)

PuraniJeans2.5 Stars (out of 4)

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Purani Jeans (“Old Jeans“) compares friendship to that pair of broken-in blue jeans in your closet that make you feel your most comfortable. However, the friendships depicted in the film are fraught with complicated emotions, as adulthood is forced upon five reluctant young men.

The Kasauli Cowboys are a quintet of early twenty-somethings who live in a picturesque mountain town. They have a clubhouse and wear matching cowboy hats. They have a list of friendship rules, one of which is, inexplicably: “Always marry a virgin.”

The quintet comprises two leaders and three peripheral members, easily distinguishable by their physical characteristics: rotund Tino (Kashyap Kapoor), scrawny Suzy (Raghav Raj Kakker), and musclebound Bobby (Param Baidwaan). Sid (Tanuj Virwani), the film’s narrator, is the poet of the group and its unofficial vice president.

Hip rich kid Sam (Aditya Seal) is the Cowboy’s acknowledged leader. He brings back cool presents and far-fetched stories of romantic conquests from his trips abroad. He has a guitar and a Jim Morrison fixation. Sid —┬áSam’s only true peer — is his best friend.

Even with foreign colleges and day jobs looming just over the horizon, the Cowboys seem reluctant to admit that their carefree childhood is coming to an end. They yell, “Friends forever!” in unison more often than any actual group of young men would. Their Peter Pan existence is rocked by the usual culprits: girls.

Tino and Suzy both like Roxy, the blonde exchange student. Bobby gets overly involved with Aisha. And Sid and Sam both fall for Nayantara (Izabelle Leite), the pretty new girl in town.

Sam employees still all-too-typical Bollywood hero tactics while wooing Nayantara: he carves her name into his arm with a knife and threatens to kill himself if she doesn’t accompany him. What sets Purani Jeans apart is that these tactics don’t work. Nayantara prefers Sid’s less dramatic approach. She’s so upset by Sam’s tactics that she begs Sid to tell his friend about their relationship as way of getting Sam to back off.

The film is progressive about relationship issues in other ways. There’s a crisis involving Aisha and Bobby, and the Cowboys stand by Aisha at Bobby’s expense. Sam’s actions are framed within a context of mental illness, not just attributed to boys-will-be-boys behavior.

Besides some progressive stances, Purani Jeans is a fairly predictable Bollywood coming-of-age film. There are fights and reunions, and there are way too many songs about friendship and partying. The performances are good, although everyone talks too fast. While not exactly ground-breaking, the movie nudges the genre in a more modern direction.

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