(Ranbir Kapoor) is a street smart car mechanic living in a Delhi orphanage. He
is charming and lives life to the fullest. He also steals cars to support his
orphanage. He has no sense of right or wrong till he unwittingly hurts the love
of his life, Tara (Pallavi Sharda). Babli realizes that there is no right way of
doing the wrong thing. Babli sets out to fix all the wrongs in his life and he
continues to be shameless about it.
'Besharam', Ranbir Kapoor sinks to a low
The number of times Ranbir Kapoor, that simmering restless bundle of unstoppable
talent, calls himself 'besharam' (shameless) in this movie is not funny. And
with good reason, one might add.
The plot is evidently written as a back-handed homage to the 1980s and 90s
cinema of outlandish logistics where coincidences covered up for the lack of a
sound sense in the script, and every actor screamed his or her dialogues to
conceal the embarrassment of doing stuff that no one with an iota of
intelligence would attempt.
But even the logistics of the cinema of the absurd had a rhythm of its own.
"Besharam", however, is devoid of rhythm, sur or taal. It's shot like
an ongoing television sitcom where the actors are clueless about which way the
intended laughter would take them. Everyone in the movie, from the redoubtable
Rishi Kapoor to the gifted-in-her-own-right Himani Shivpuri, is in it just for
I am sure the script, when it was narrated to the actors, must have had them in
And why not? Director Abhinav Kashyap's debut in Dabangg gave a new language to
the Hindi commercial cinema. The language of cocky hero-giri. But then, "Dabangg"
featured Salman Khan who does not need to act to impress audiences. He does not
Ranbir Kapoor in "Besharam" goes the other way. Every scene in the
film is an "acting" moment. Ranbir does the equivalent of a very
accomplished gymnast who must impress the sports council that he is qualified
for the next Olympics.
The director obviously thinks very highly of Ranbir's talents. So do we. But
does that mean he must attack every scene like an audition? There is a
desperation in the narration hidden out of our view, but discernible
nonetheless. A desperation to project the protagonist as infinitely wacky.
Cynical disregard for basic decency is meant to be cool in this film. In the
endeavour to imbue Ranbir's car-thief character with a sense of mischievous
artlessness, the narration becomes woefully heavy-handed. The tone adopted is
that of a conversation between two reputed stand-up comedians who are out to
prove they can convey the seriousness of existence even while maintaining the
Everyone, barring the villain Javed Jaffrey, is given funny lines. They speak it
with with twinkle-eyed pleasure that, alas, is lost somewhere as it makes its
way from the screen to the audience. There are passages of excruciatingly gauche
writing where the actors run around in circles, trying to be cute replicas of
characters from the movies in the 1990s.
Among these aimless drifters in the province of the potboiler are Rishi Kapoor
and Neetu Singh, playing a corrupt quarrelsome Haryanvi cop couple. Their roles
seem to start with the firm resolve that their real-life relation to the hero
would be kept completely out of bounds. But then, as the script progresses,
real-life references like "Tum toh meri maa samaan ho" ("You're
like my mother") and "Main tera baap hoon" ("I'm your
dad") creep in, until the margin of satire shrinks to the extent of being
And we finally come to a stage where Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh
"adopt" Ranbir's character!
"Go for it," Ranbir's sidekick Titu (well played by Amitosh Nagpal)
tells the hero. "You even look like the female cop (Neetu Singh)."
The trouble with mainstream Hindi cinema is that when all is said and done, it
is nothing but a star-vehicle. "Besharam" stars off cocking a snook at
conventional trappings. It eventually ends up sucking up to cinematic cliches,
and with not even a pretence of subtlety.
"Besharam" is clogged with plot-holes into which the characters
happily fall. There they remain happily wallowing in the uni-dimensionality of
their narrow world-view.
The fuss, if you must know, is over a posh car bought by the girl that our hero,
Bunty, has fallen for.
That the girl, Pallavi Sharda, seems to belong to another plot and another film
is besides the point.
Bunty loves her, period. And what follows is a series of goofy escapades where
Bunty outwits the villain. Laughter.
It is sad to see Rishi Kapoor reduced to sitting on the potty and noisily
clearing his bowels. And at one point, the heroine herself asks: "Yeh thoda
vulgar nahin ho gaya?" ("That got a little vulgar?")