Lorni The Flaneur
After a disappointing weekend which did not boast of any significantly good OTT releases(barring Sundari Gardens), I decided to plunge into a Khasi film which had premiered on SonyLiv over the weekend titled Lorni The Flaneur. This is one aspect which I personally love about SonyLiv. They have a strong eye for good content and are willing to promote some of the smaller films by buying them from film festivals. This is something which is a part of the culture of Popcorn Reviewss wherein we love to give voices to new filmmakers and artists.
If you have been an ardent reader of my reviews then you would know that I am a fan of culture. In others words if you do talk religion to me, you have lost me. But if you do talk culture to me, you have my whole attention. I have been fascinated by many different cultures but when it comes to the culture of North East, I always have been fascinated. The reason is that all the 7 states have a different culture altogether(and so referring them as ‘The North East’ isn’t entirely justified). So when the Khasi film Lorni The Flaneur came along, I was really interested in exploring the culture of Meghalaya or specifically Shillong, a place which has been on my travel list for long! As they say, films are the first step of peeking into the culture of a place. Now that I have finished watching Lorni The Flaneur, here are my two cents on it.
Story & Screenplay
Set in Shillong, Lorni The Flaneur follows the story of a private investigator investigating a robbery in a setting filled by mysticism and magic. What seems like a simple case turns out to be more complicated than he had expected to be. The story is interesting and filled with multiple cultural references of Shillong. So understandably, the folks who have resided in this place would be able to relate to it better. But I had a ball reading about it post the film which in a way did help me understand the film better. The screenplay standing at about a 110 minutes, makes for a crisp watch.
The first thing that I really liked about the drama was the multiple cultural references which in itself was so intriguing to witness. I believe each city has a flavour and a texture to it and here that bit was captured beautifully. You need to be attentive to all the images and frames right from the first scene. This not that you will not understand the rest of the drama but it will be beneficial in understanding the city in a better manner, something which the drama does demand.
The conflict is soon introduced in the drama which from the onset seems simplistic. In between there are also fables or the legends which the locals have been exposed to, in a city which is clearly caught between the past and the present, this along with the past of the protagonist which was more of a loss to him. There are subtle twists and turns including some mysterious characters which make for a compelling viewing.
There are moments which are subdued and restrained as opposed to them being dramatic and that may put you off in many ways. But this is done deliberately to truly suck you into the vibes of the city which has a slow and leisurely yet mysterious and mystical vibe to it. The drama is a slow burn and requires patience to be watched. But if you are willing to go a bit deeper in understanding the essence if it then you will not be disappointed. The robbery also is used as a metaphor for all the cultural “things” being taken away from the city as it makes it way to a modern setting. My only little complaint was the final act which was a tad too simple for my liking. There was a scope of a little buildup but that was not to be. But still the screenplay deserves a lot of credit for building an ambience around a rather mysterious drama.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but extremely intimate and engaging. The music rings a nice little vibe to the city, the BGM tactfully creates an ambience of intrigue but deftly so. The cinematography is beautiful and it captures the cloudy hills aesthetically which adds to the mood of the drama. Director Wanphrang Diengdoh does a fabulous job in weaving a tale filled with mysticism and mystery thereby capturing the vibes of Shillong pretty well.
The performances are excellent. Elizer Bareh aa Jay has his moments to shine. Dawiat Syiem as Esther is brilliant as the mysterious girl who always manages to hold your attention. It hides from the fact that her character is slightly underwritten and her performance overshadows this flaw in an excellent manner. Adil Hussain as Shem is outstanding in a role which was just so layered with so many emotions that you did need a skilled actor to pull this one off. He is dignified and well restrained in every frame with subtle moments of portraying deft emotions making it one helluva towering act!
Lorni The Flaneur is a textured mystery with several cultural references which makes for a flavourful watch. Available on SonyLiv.