Lootera Burns With Acceptance, Flickers With Mercy

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera depicts a quiet, sincere reconciliation that we seldom come across
Lootera Burns With Acceptance, Flickers With Mercy
Lootera Burns With Acceptance, Flickers With Mercy

"Agar woh patti gir gayi toh? (What if that leaf falls from the tree?)," asks Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha). 

Vikram (Ranveer Singh) replies, "Nahi giregi. Yeh mera vaada hai. (It won't. I promise.)"

Sometimes, reconciliation doesn't have to be dramatic. It can be as simple as acknowledging one's feelings towards another and forgiving their mistakes. Vikramaditya Motwane's Lootera (2013) does just that. Based on O. Henry's The Last Leaf (1905), the entire film is a masterpiece.  But it is the reconciliation between Pakhi and Varun that tugs at your heartstrings. Neither over the top nor too plain, the scene portrays two individuals leaving behind the past and accepting what they have felt for so long. 

The scene begins with Varun peering through the door as Pakhi sits in front of the fireplace. This time, she isn't angry upon seeing him. However, there is still ice which needs to be thawed between them. Varun does this when he reveals his real name, Atmanand Tripathi. Pakhi smiles in response, and we see a glimpse of the former flame that had been doused a year ago. As the scene progresses, we see two sides of Pakhi, one which is concerned for Varun's safety, and the other  that is still hurt by his betrayal. When she warns him that the inspector will come with a warrant the next day, he calmly replies, "Main aaj raat ko hi nikal jaoonga. (I'll leave by tonight.)"

Throughout the scene, notice how the fire plays an important role in setting the tone. In the start of the scene, the fire burns steadily, representing the warmth Pakhi and Varun feel for each other. But when he says that he will leave that night, the fire begins to flicker – we see it in the light that falls on their faces, and the reflection of the fire in their eyes.

 It seems as if the fire complements Pakhi's uneasiness. She even turns her face away from him as her inner conflict surfaces. Her agony reveals itself when she asks, "Kya tumne kabhi bhi mujhse pyaar kiya tha Varun? (Did you ever love me, Varun?)" To which Varun says, "Tum iklauta mauka tha meri zindagi main jeene ka jo maine gava diya. (You were my only chance at leading a better life, and I threw it away.)"

Lootera is graceful in its unspoken mercies, and is sensitive with grief.  As Pakhi and Varun set their past free and embrace, the fire burns unwaveringly once again.

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