So when the director of a hugely successful commercial Hindi film like Dabangg combines with one of the most popular actors in Bollywood, who’s already given a monstrous hit earlier this year one would expect sparks to fly majorly and result in a dynamite of a film right? Naturally when Abhinav Kashyap and Ranbir Kapoor joined hands to come up with Besharam the expectations were sky high. Added to this was the news that this would be the first time that Ranbir would be featuring along with his parents Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor in the same film, though they do not play son and parents in the film respectively. But the promos and the songs (with the exception of the title track probably) sort of gave me a bad feeling. Looking tacky and way over the top for my liking, I was hoping that the film would turn out much better than what the promos and the songs indicated.
Or at least if the film went on to justify the deliberate need for tackiness and being over the top it was still worth the effort is what I thought. So while all the talk of Reliance Entertainment (who is distributing the film) going for an aggressive release didn’t cut any ice with me, I was hoping that the film would still surprise me and prove me wrong with my assumptions. However what lay in store for me was quite the anti-climax indeed. More on that later, let’s look at the film first. Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) is an orphan, who along with his friend Titu (Amitosh Nagpal who prefers to call himself as T2) steals cars for a living and to take care of the other kids living in his orphanage. He is the typical hero of the 80’s who steals because he feels he needs to survive in the World and otherwise is a man with a good heart. Tara Sharma (Pallavi Sharda) is a manager with a corporate firm, but who believes she needs a Mercedez Benz to maintain her ‘status’, though how someone living in a typical middle class locality and whose dead father was an ordinary accountant is something that even the writers Abhinav Kashyap and Rajeev Barnwal didn’t bother too much about.
So as expected its love at first sight for our hero Babli while Tara rebuffs him and one day by mistake Babli and Titu steal Tara’s car. On realizing his mistake Babli goes off to Chandigarh along with Tara to retrieve her car back. On the way Tara gets to know the truth about Babli, she also ends up getting her car back and losing her heart to him. But life is not all that easy for Babli and Tara as they have to contend with Bheem Singh Chandela (Javed Jaffrey), a hawala dealer from Chandigarh and his cronies (who casually flaunt rocket launchers in the city as if they own it 🙂 ) on one hand while having to stay clear off Inspector Chulbul Chautala (Rishi Kapoor) and his wife, Head Constable Bulbul Chautala (Neetu Kapoor). So how does the madcap ride proceed from there on before resulting in a happy ending is what the rest of the film is all about.
At the very outset Besharam is a seriously outdated film, the plot to start with is archaic and takes you back to the 80’s and that too in a fashion that doesn’t amuse you at all. Of course Dabangg too was formulaic and a complete masala film, but it was an engaging film on all counts. A superstar who seemed to be completely in control of proceedings, a plot with scope for all sorts of emotions at the right places, a heroine who had reasonably good scope, a villain who could match the hero and amazing songs- all points which worked in favour of Dabangg. Considering that Abhinav Kashyap got it so right with his first film it’s shameful to see him making a lazy film, resting on the shoulders of just his leading man alone. If I like Dabangg I have also enjoyed watching Ranbir Kapoor himself playing to the gallery in a totally fun and frolic driven film like Rajkumar Santoshi’s Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, something which makes me feel all the more bad about Besharam.
The supporting cast has nothing much to do except be in the frame in and around Ranbir. A fine actress like Himani Shivpuri is made a caricature and so is the case with Javed Jaffrey, a villain who tries to sound menacing, but falls flat. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor thankfully have well fleshed characters and the scenes in which they feature together are a treat to watch. Along with Abhinav Kashyap another person who should take the rap for the film not appealing is music composer Lalit Pandit, who seems to have composed extremely pedestrian songs, the kind that you are not attracted to, either on screen or off screen. Pallavi Sharda is an extremely bad choice as the lead actress, neither blessed with great looks or dancing skills (things that one expects from the leading lady of a mainstream biggie like Besharam) it’s a surprise that she got a film of this magnitude. And I wouldn’t even comment on her acting as the film doesn’t really offer her any scope to exhibit it.
Finally talking about the film’s major redeeming factor (if I may describe it as such), which is none other than the film’s leading man- Ranbir Kapoor. As Babli who is an uncouth, brash and playful character, there is a scope for the actor enacting it to go out of control but Ranbir manages to pull it off convincingly and credit to him for managing a not so easy task. Be it in the scenes with Tito, Tara or even in the songs he is full of energy and the film is watchable to an extent only due to his presence. However the film is too weak overall to let us forget everything else and savour in the presence of Ranbir Kapoor alone. This is exactly the kind of film which doesn’t add any credentials to his already impressive filmography and something that by now should be deeply rankling in the mind of Abhinav Kashyap as to how he could come up with something so bad as a follow up to his highly entertaining and successful debut film.
Records being broken or not Besharam is a film which ensures it remains true to its title and ends up as bad as the promos themselves. Not quite the big holiday film it set out to be unfortunately, this one deserves no sympathy whatsoever.