Cinema

Loafer: The difference is in the package

Varun Tej in 'Loafer'  

2015 has been a year like none other. Films that tried repackaging beaten-to-death formula with an overdose of humour fizzled at the box office. Filmmakers realised that they couldn’t get away narrating the same old story. Or can they?

At the fag end of the year comes Loafer bringing together an unlikely collaboration between Puri Jagannadh and Varun Tej — a filmmaker firmly entrenched in the formulaic space and a promising actor who, in his first two outings, proved he is talented and has the courage to look beyond the conventional space.

This is Varun Tej’s first mainstream film and moving away from the goody roles he’s essayed until now, Puri presents him as a loafer. Raja (Varun) grows up with his father Murali (Posani Krishna Murali), trained on a day-to-day basis to become a conman. The father and son can make money out of almost anyone, anywhere and some of the tricks they put to use are a riot.

Their story unfolds against the distinct landscape of Jodhpur, where they chase and get chased by others in the alleys of the blue-tinted town. All along, Raja believes his mother (Revathi) succumbed to jaundice and is completely vulnerable at the mention of her.

Mild cracks surface in the father-son bond when Raja falls in love with Maunvi or Parijatham (Disha Pathani). Keen that his son isn’t drawn into the web of romance and marriage, Posani draws a strange connection between women and dinosaurs. He reasons that the era of women as embodiment of love and sacrifice is long over, just like the age of dinosaurs. Whatever!

The setting might be Jodhpur, but the film has its regular comic actors, including Sapthagiri. The conflict comes in the form of the heroine’s menacing father and brothers (Mukesh Rishi and Co.). The brothers are portrayed to be heinous enough to murder their own mother.

Much later into the film, when the personal connect between this family and that of Varun is revealed, the joke is on the audience to take in the same old story presented with a new garnish. Sunil Kashyap’s music and background score and P.G. Vinda’s sweeping shots of Jodhpur and its magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, to an extent, are a balm for sitting through a staid storyline.

Varun Tej again comes up with a sincere performance and does his part well, whether he is following his father’s diktats or later, giving the brash father a taste of his own medicine. Varun’s portions with Revathi could have been much better. When the mother-son portions slip into a melodramatic mode, it’s left to the two commendable actors to hold the viewers’ attention.

Disha Pathani is gorgeous and shines within the limited scope of her role. Somewhere during the film, one of the villains exclaims that Murali (Posani) is very irritating and the audience guffaws; the comment couldn’t have been more apt. Posani hams through the film with his characteristic high-pitched dialogue delivery.

Loafer has some good performances and fun moments, but tries to pack in so much in the later half that it becomes a drag.

Loafer

Cast: Varun Tej, Revathi, Posani and Disha Pathani

Direction: Puri Jagannadh

Music: Sunil Kashyap

Bottomline: Same old story in a gorgeous setting.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:16:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/loafer-the-difference-is-in-the-package/article8000253.ece

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