It is not often that you get a mash of many elements in a movie and expect it to be good. With more regularity than not, the end-result turns out to be a decent attempt at good movie-making but stays far and away from that desired end. Lootera, Vikramaditya Motwane’s new movie, is one of those rare gems that seem to have got it all right. The movie is etched on an epic canvas, with strokes done so boldly yet perfectly that a tiny part of you wants it never to end. You would want to capture that moment when you first laid your eyes on a piece of art and make it your own, away from all of the world, hidden in the sweet refuge of the innermost nooks and crannies of your mind. Lootera achieves that because it is simply a work of art, a rare novelty, in today’s celluloid offerings.

Lootera is Motwane’s second movie, after 2010’s critically acclaimed Udaan which could not have been more different. Mind you, his debut was by no means a sham of an effort; it had offered glimpses of the talent he possesses. But with Lootera, he has managed to strike it big. Lootera is like cheese to Udaan’s chalk but that is where the movie would remain for a long time in everyone’s minds, and more importantly, their hearts, because it deserves no less.

Lootera traces the story of Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh), who is a con-man, as the name suggests, though not literally. The story is set in the post-independence period of India, in the early 1950s when aristocracy was at its highest helm, albeit not for long. It was then that the Indian government had decided to abolish aristocracy and this is beautifully depicted in the movie. The final nail in the coffin of the Zamindar Babu and his rich estate and its various belongings is driven by Varun, who with his rakishly good looks and easy demeanour, convinces them of his archaeological pursuits and drives off with a whole lot of wealth and valuable antiques. But before he does this, he manages to make Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), the Zamindar’s daughter, fall in love with him and vice-versa. But being true to his profession and with a tad bit of threatening from the man who hires Varun to do such deeds, Varun escapes with the wealth and leaves Pakhi on her own.

The second half begins where the first leaves us and we learn of a particular tragedy that has occurred to Pakhi after Varun leaves her. She ditches the rich grandeur of Bengal for the icy whiteness of North India. She is terminally ill, having been prey to a sickness that had not yet devised its treatment in those ages. She yearns for leaves to fall off a tree right outside her window and makes a promise that the day the last leaf falls, she would be gone from the face of this earth as well. It is a known fact that Motwane derived inspiration from O. Henry’s short story, The Last Leaf to base his movie upon and it seems he has done a good job.

The movie is rich in artistic benevolence and treats the audience to cinematographic beauty, unlike anything seen in recent times. This is accentuated by the decision of the director to use silence and stillness in most of the frames. The footfalls, the rustling of the trees, the creaking of the wooden doors or the swish of the flame when it goes out in a wicker lamp, all work their magic in Lootera.

Lootera might not be a commercial success, for the greater part of the population still likes to derive its cinematic pleasure from movies like Dabangg, Housefull and Bodyguard. The movie is sure to garner critical acclaim by bucket loads and though it might not set the cash-registers ringing, it does not matter. It won’t take away the fact that Lootera is a beautiful film, almost a masterpiece, that deserves to be stored in your mind and never forgotten.