19 December 2010 | Peter_Young
The child stealer
One reason that prompted me to watch Lorie was of course the cast of so many great actors, led by the ceaselessly talented Shabana Azmi. Despite being a lesser known project, Lorie is in my view a well written and acted feature, which efficiently blends drama and suspense to create an intense and involving piece. The movie tells the story of Geeta Malhotra, a woman who gets married to the man she loves in spite of her parents' opposition. Geeta becomes pregnant but during an accident she loses her child and the doctor declares that she will not be able to conceive again. A deeply devastated Geeta is traumatised and for quite some time is unable to get over the tragedy. Her loving husband does not know how to handle the situation, but one day while travelling by the city bus service, Geeta comes upon a small boy who belongs to a large family of fourteen members and who is left behind inadvertently by his parents. She takes him home and treats him like her own son, refusing to return him to his family. Her husband, though knowing that this is wrong, is surprised to see a smile on his wife's face after so long and he eventually cannot find any option but support her. In the meanwhile, the troubled family and the police are in constant search of the kid.
Lorie's concept is rather unusual and the movie wavers between a dramatic feature and a moral thriller. Despite the clear expectations people may have from the movie seeing its leading stars, Lorie is not one of those off-beat films; it is very mainstream, with songs, emotions and colour, and at the same time it is realistic and non-melodramatic, portraying the modern India of those times with precision. The dialogues are very effective, and so is the script, which is well written and developed. The sub-plot with the kid's poor family is also very well handled. At times Geeta's behaviour makes her look like a true psycho, but it's much more complex. The viewers know that Geeta's obsession with the kid and her acts border on the insane, and yet they may certainly feel for her pain and desire to be a mother and understand her suffering. This is undoubtedly due to Shabana Azmi's brilliant portrayal. She plays Geeta's torments and ambiguity with sheer conviction and authenticity, never letting the audience understand what exactly happens inside her mind and yet always being relatable. Farooq Shaikh is very good as her caring and supportive husband Bhupi. Naseeruddin Shah and Swaroop Sampat are well-cast as their family friends, while Madan Puri, Rohini Hattangadi, Kiran Vairale and Sulabha Deshpande excel in smaller parts.
The movie's second half is far stronger than the first, because I somehow did not really got the need for the entire track with Geeta's parents not accepting her choice of Bhupi. Once this phase is over, the movie scores and grows on you. The ending was a little sugarcoated but that was the best way to conclude the story. I can't say Lorie is a particularly great movie but it is still an enjoyable picture which moves and entertains.