Lootera – Defining Visual Poetry In Cinema


What if I told you, poetry is not confined only to the textual medium? You would probably give a Sheldon Cooper-esque facial expression which does its best to represent your state of confusion. Poetry can be both visual and textual. Visual Poetry is a form of poetry in which the visual arrangement of text, images and symbols is important in conveying the intended effect of the work.

As a cinephile, I am a strong believer of the fact that Cinema(Yes, I like to call it cinema and not movies) is an art form too. In the modern day Bollywood, apart from those rare ones, every other movie that comes out of the industry is aimed at the masses and its only intention is to make money. Unlike other forms of art like painting or sculpting, cinema is capable of attracting you, the viewer, with every frame that is projected on screen. It does not need much observing to understand what is being told. Hell yeah, I don’t understand modern art or any form of art for that matter. To me, they are just a bunch of shapes on a canvas. And to people who did not hear the music, the people who danced looked like a bunch of fools jumping around, waving their hands.

When I say, visual poetry, I am not referring to the literal art but just using it metaphorically. You would’ve googled visual poetry by now and some of you purists out there might be cursing me for not using it in the right context. Well, just hear me out.

What is poetry? Poetry is a form of art which uses many rhythmic qualities of the language to evoke meanings that aren’t what they look like. And when I say cinema is a visual poem, I mean the visuals are so free flowing like a poem and there is so much subtext involved just like a poem. Cinema is the only form of art which can be understood by all. Even if it’s underlying meaning is not seen by all, the icing on top is good enough too.

When I am talking about Cinema as a visual art, please don’t visualize movies by the Khans or the Kapoors which are remakes of some Tamil movie which are itself remakes of  ??? languages. I am no purist and you make your point about how they are meant to entertain and you get what you paid for. Yes, you are right. In the world of Cinema, these movies are probably the equivalent of a ’50 Shades of Grey’ or a ‘Twilight’ book. They are books too but their intent of purpose is so much different from the rest.

Coming back to the movie which made me get to this topic, Lootera. It was made by a filmmaker whose previous was a coming of age drama Looterawhich changed the way coming of age dramas were made and viewed. Not that I am using the earlier to support my case, but it is a quintessential example that shows that Cinema is more than just entertainment.

Lootera is a romance saga set it in the 1950s in the scenic locations of the North. Not the north from Game of Thrones, but North as in Northern India. Partly inspired from O’Henry’s ‘The Last Leaf’, Lootera is the story of two lovers, heartbreaks and betrayals and finally ultimate redemption.

What constitutes good cinema is something I am not qualified to talk about. But if there was something that was near perfect to the above mentioned terms, then Lootera is one of the few movies that can be listed under it.

Every frame, every second, every move, every sound meant so much. The visuals were breathtaking and the acting was top notch. I know these are clichéd adjectives that are used to describe every good movie that comes out. But I am using these adjectives in the most superlative form possible.

Sometimes, art isn’t all fiction. It is a way by which the artist expresses himself. Every form of art, right from the primitives to the derived are just artists expressing themselves. And cinema is no different. Every pan of the camera, every dim of the light is just the filmmaker emoting. And Poetry in the Visual medium is easily understood.

What is sometimes most fascinating about a work of art is that in a million small ways, it expresses the personality of the artist.

One thought on “Lootera – Defining Visual Poetry In Cinema

  1. Rahul says:

    Really beautiful writing.. Since long I’ve echoed the same sentiments.. Cinema is a totally different entity.. And no I don’t refer to the Art movies when I say cinema.. even fully entertaining, commercial movies can be cinema.. Wish we had more of these.

    Note to self: Gotta watch Lootera next.

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