News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Movies » Lootere Review: No Jack Sparrow Here!

Lootere Review: No Jack Sparrow Here!

Last updated on: March 22, 2024 13:22 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Lootere deserves points for originality and novelty, observes Deepa Gahlot.

A few days ago, there was drama on the high seas when the Indian Navy rescued an Indian ship from pirates.

Before the film industry could latch on to that adventure and start taking Akshay Kumar's dates (the star gets a mention in the show), Lootere, based on an earlier hijack incident, is up for release, with Hansal Mehta as show-runner, and his son, Jai Mehta, directing.

Created by Shaailesh K Singh, from a story by Anshuman Sinha, scripted by Vishal Kapoor and Suparn S Verma, Lootere deserves points for originality and novelty.

Cinema has created the Jack Sparrow image of pirates as romantic characters, when in reality, they are desperate men who turn to crime, like any other gangster.

Somalia, with its turbulent and violent history of political upheavals and civil war, is notorious for its pirates. Children are dragged away from their homes to pirate training camps and handed guns they can barely lift.


The narrator of this eight-part series is Vikrant Gandhi (Vivek Gomber), who took over his father-in-law's part legit-part criminal enterprise, one of the few Indians in Mogadishu, who continues to live there with his wife Avi (Amruta Khanvikar) and son Aryaman (Varin Roopani).

He has taken seriously the words of his mentor, 'It is better to be a king in hell, than a slave in heaven.'

He uses his position as the president of the port association to get contraband in and out, sure in the knowledge that his containers will not be searched.

When the series begins, an election is coming up, and Vikrant's position is shaky.

He has to win at all cost because a make-or-break shipment is due to arrive, in a ship owned by an Indian company in Ukraine (the story is set before the current war).

The ship's captain is A K Singh (Rajat Kapoor), who has a small crew of Indians and Pakistanis, including a woman, and has no idea what is in the container loaded onto the vessel under his command.

Due to a set of complicated circumstances, Vikrant and his cohort Bilaal (Gaurav K Sharma) get caught up in a hijack situation, when a pirate, Barkad (Martial Batchmen), attacks the ship with his gang of over enthusiastic young men, who are excited by the thrill of the adventure, and the power of the guns in their hands.

Things quickly go out of control, as conspiracies are hatched. There are betrayals, murders and tugs-of-war to grab power and a large ransom is demanded by the pirates.

There is some Indo-Pak tension going on aboard the ship, but Singh's men cope with the crisis with all the courage at their disposal, unaware of the larger game afoot in Mogadishu and Kyiv.

Only two episodes drop this week, and one will be released every week.

So almost anything mentioned beyond the second episode would be a spoiler but the series loses its grip when it veers off course into other areas, like Avi taking off on her own crusade to placate her sulky kid.

Vikrant and Bilal wander up and down from the ship to the coast, as if on a picnic, but while the action remains on the ship (the maze-like interiors well shot by Jall Cowasji), Lootere retains the viewer's attention.

More characters are added, including Aamir Ali as a trigger-happy Indian diplomat who wants to go home.

Vikrant is a despicable character, but Vivek Gomber plays him part villain-part clown, a crook and a man of some dubious honour.

Rajat Kapoor plays the captain with sombre dignity.

Chandan Roy Sanyal turns up to play a spoilt rich playboy, with little to do.

Some of the African cast members play their roles with confidence, and bring authenticity to the show.

Mogadishu is crowded, ugly and unpredictable. Still, it comes alive for the armchair traveller.

Nobody would want to go there for a holiday, and, as a character says, 'Everybody in Mogadishu is a lootera.' Which is a tragedy for a city that was once known as the white pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Lootere streams on Disney+Hotstar.

Lootere Review Rediff Rating:

Get Rediff News in your Inbox: