While he managed to walk the rope between tribute and spoof in his debut film, Abhinav Kashyap seems to have lost his balance this time around.
Besharam is Ranbir's holiday film. But maybe the young powerhouse actor deserves some time out with his folks.
Barring his debut, Ranbir has mostly managed to pick the right films and even the weakest of them, say Anjaana Anjaani, had ambition. The only ambition this film has is to reunite father, mother and son on screen.
But for this casting coup and um... related in jokes, there is very little to keep us hooked. Because the rest of it is decidedly in-your-face crass. Like he set out to make a loud, crass family film.
Or maybe there is a deeper meta meaning that we are missing.
Maybe it is the director’s idea of making a statement about our cinema — that we are so shameless that we rehash old plots (and even the title), steal fancy cars (a metaphor for foreign films?), bank on star charisma, support nepotism (a common industry practice) and make the most vulgar films. And then, carpet bomb the market with more prints than the last shameless big film.
Ranbir tries his best to make crass look cool, channelling his inner Govinda, while Pallavi Sharda, making her Bollywood debut, is asked to stay grumpy when she's not dancing. It is a little strange to see Jaaved Jaaferi, cast against the type, trying to keep a serious menacing face and it’s an act difficult to buy given that you are always waiting for the gag that never arrives. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh will ensure that your folks don't change the channel when the film plays on TV. Nostalgia still sells.
If you are able to ignore all the clichés under the pretext of tribute and are in the mood to celebrate old-school cinema, Besharam works as a musical with innovative choreography of its song (music by Lalit Pandit) and dance sequences (cinematography by Madhu Vannier).
He may have successfully turned the “imaandaar police afsar” type of the seventies into a Robin Hood cop for our times in Dabangg, but turning the good-hearted tapori thief type into a lewd, loud lout here just seems pointless.
Or maybe not all adjectives can pass off as a script, unless there’s Salman Khan in the lead.
Director: Abhinav Kashyap
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Jaaved Jaaferi
Storyline: Car thief steals the car of the girl he likes and must steal it back from a dangerous hawala king to win her over.
Bottomline: An old-fashioned masala film that winks at the seventies and the eighties but ends up looking dated