Reviewing the Reviews: Ladies vs Ricky Bahl

12 Dec,2011

Ladies vs Ricky Bahl

Key Cast: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma

Directed By: Maneesh Sharma

Written By: Devika Bhagat, Habib Faisal, Aditya Chopra

Produced By: Aditya Chopra


Coming out with the notable YRF stamp, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl got mixed reviews, mostly on the negative side. The director Maneesh Sharma’s first film Band Baaja Baraat had been such a delight, that the second one had trouble matching up.


The one who came out a clear winner is Parineeti Chopra who played a loud, chatty Delhi brat, and is likely to bag all supporting actress awards next year.


Gaurav Malani, in the Times of India online, feels, “The major hiccup in this otherwise engaging film is that it falls prey to the typical trappings of Bollywood. As romance takes over the con-games, the smart-n-saucy film is substituted by a tepid tale where the conman wants to come clean and change his ways for that one girl in life. That makes for a lame climax and a conventional end. The graph of the narrative drops somewhere in the second half and plunges even further as one realizes mixing con with cupid might not be the best of ideas. Thankfully the pacing is perfect and the film never seems stretched.”


Sanjukta Sharma of Livemint is left cold. She writes, “The screenplay … gets tiringly predictable from this point. Forget being similar to Frank Abagnale, the smug, glorious con man in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. Sunny starts showing signs of a weepy lover boy. The film falls right into the Yash Raj formula of hinging all stories on soppy romance. This guy is not even a patch on the smiling assassin he is in the first hour.”


Bollywoodhungama’s Taran Adarsh is uncharacteristically tepid. “On the whole, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is, at best, decent fare, which appeals in parts. The film starts well, even ends well. It’s the in between that’s plain ordinary. One definitely expected more from the director of the immensely likeable Band Baaja Baaraat. Ideally, the film merits a two-and-a-half star rating, but that extra half star is for Ranveer and Anushka, who steal your heart with truly striking performances.”


Rajeev Masand found the film watchable and went with2-1/2 stars, but also pointed out flaws. “Ladies vs Ricky Bahl nosedives further post-intermission because of script holes the size of craters. The trio of women track down our hero way too conveniently, and you can’t help but question how a seasoned conman could so easily be charmed into parting with his cash. Doesn’t help either that the narrative is interrupted far too often with unnecessary songs.”


Raja Sen found it sluggish and predictable and gave it 1-1/2 stars. “It’s always tragic to see those who defy the cookie-cutter mould try and sanitise themselves in an attempt to fit in. Ranveer Singh, who was fantastic in last year’s Band Baaja Baaraat, here has his rough edges blunted by the generic sheen of wannabe stardom, and the result is most unfortunate. ”


Shubha Shetty Saha of Mid-day settles for 2-1/2 stars too. “The script should have been as clever as it is trying to portray its lead man to be. For Ricky, cheating comes naturally, but disappointingly, it seems like he doesn’t even have to exercise his brain cells to cheat any of them. Ricky gets so lucky every time that things easily fall into place or his victims are so foolishly gullible that they are more than willing to fall into his trap, again and again. Also, the track where he becomes an art dealer, Deven Shah and cheats Raina (Dipannita Sharma) seems highly improbable.”


Mayank Shekhar is kinder than usual with 3 stars. “The young Ranveer Singh plays Ricky Bahl, his character’s real name, which we don’t know yet. Given almost all Bollywood leading men now are forced to play proper characters (something they used to do back in the 1950s), as against portray merely themselves: a back-story might become slightly necessary. We know nothing about the motivations of this conman, besides what we see: he is single, looks like a loner, is pretty much sexually uninterested in the women he takes for a ride, and is interested in money for money’s sake. Placement of this kind of guy was handled much better in Yashraj’s previous, similar flick, Badmaash Company (2010), which had suffered for completely other reasons.”


Soumyadipta Banerjee of DNA didn’t dislike the film at all. “Right from the first shot to the last shot, the film has stayed real without the usual loopholes that draw it away from reality. And yet, the film has stayed on top when it came to the entertainment quotient. It has been edited well which doesn’t let the pace slacken and engages you till the last moment. It seems that the film has been developed after consulting a lot of DVDs of Hollywood rom-coms, but who cares? Everybody does that and yet comes up with a shoddy film. This time, all the home-work seems to have paid off.”


Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu nails it. “How good is a con if the stakes aren’t high? This is the safe, family-entertaining Bollywood film where the hero is virtuous even if he’s a con man (he wouldn’t even let the girl he’s conning kiss him) and turns out to be smarter than four women put together. The makers aren’t even in the mood to play Bluff. The film unfolds in a linear fashion and we are privy to all that’s happening and the only twist coming our way is that there is no twist.”


And just by the way, none of the mainstream critics found similarities with Mohan Sehgal’s 1974 film, Woh Main Nahin.

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