Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
Director: Abhinav Singh Kashyap
In the six years since he's been working as a Hindi film actor, Ranbir Kapoor has displayed a knack for picking mostly interesting films without worrying too much about their box-office potential. His resume boasts such respectable titles as 'Wake Up Sid', 'Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year', 'Raajneeti', 'Rockstar' and 'Barfi'. It is for this reason that you wait around patiently throughout the 2 hours 18 minutes duration of 'Besharam', hoping to finally be rewarded with whatever it is that drew him to this film. As it turns out, you're waiting in vain. Directed by Dabangg's Abhinav Singh Kashyap, 'Besharam' is the kind of joyless film that compels you to wonder if a fat paycheck can sometimes be the only incentive for talented people to go to work.
The film's plot, likely scribbled on toilet paper during an inspired moment on the pot, is centered on a loutish car thief, Babli (Ranbir Kapoor), who must steal back a car that he sold to a murderous money launderer (Javed Jaffrey), when he falls for the poor girl who owned the car (newcomer Pallavi Sharda). Handled with adequate lightness, this might have been an inoffensive, forgettable comedy, but Kashyap's treatment of the material is so indifferent, the film doesn't even hit that mark. Indeed 'Besharam' appears to be rolling out rather than unfolding, with not one actor so much as pretending to have a good time. What do you say about a film in which Javed Jaffrey looks too bored to over-act?
Kashyap, who gave Salman Khan what was possibly his first fully realized character in years, fails to turn Babli into a similarly enduring - or endearing - hero for the screen. Ranbir doesn't shy away from playing Babli as a lewd, crotch-adjusting lothario, but it's a part so underwritten it's hardly any surprise that the actor does such little with it. The Mr India-inspired subplot about Babli's commitment to the orphanage he was raised at never really succeeds in adding a credible layer to the role. Even more baffling is the issue of the film's leading lady, an ordinary actress at best who, along with the director, fails to justify why she was hired here.
The only laughs in this film - few and far between - are provided by the casting of real-life couple (and Ranbir's real-life parents) Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh as a pair of married police officials eager to make a fast buck from Babli's doomed deal with the villain. Neetu Singh, in particular, sportingly hams it up as the shrewish spouse who doesn't for a moment stop squabbling with her husband, not even when he's taking a dump. A few of the in-jokes about their relationship with Ranbir are the film's most entertaining bits. Doesn't help of course that the score is a complete letdown, the look and feel of the film tacky, and the scatological humor mostly off-putting.
I'm going with one out of five for Besharam. A major misfire in every way.
Rating: 1 / 5