Reviewing the Reviews: Besharam is savaged by critics

07 Oct,2013

Director: Abhinav Kashyap

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh


By Deepa Gahlot


Ranbir Kapoor’s golden boy image took a bit of battering with this one, more so because this pairing with Dabangg director Abhinav Kashyap was expected to work wonders.


The plotless film, with crude gags, has Ranbir playing a Delhi lout who first steals the car of the woman he loves and then tries to get it back. The film depends too much on the star and his parents Rishi and Neetu Kapoor, who play cops, but are actually there, because it made for a newsworthy casting coup. The leading lady (Pallavi Sharda) and villain (Jaaved Jaaferi) seem incidental to the goings on.


No wonder the film was savaged by critics, the unkind one giving one star and the kinder ones, two. Most hovered at the 1.5 stars mark.


Rajeev Masand of ranted: “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?”


Sukanya Verma of lamented: “The director of the predictable but entertaining Dabangg opts for yet another hackneyed plot about the proverbial misguided but golden-hearted orphan cum car thief and his decision to turn a new leaf after he falls in love. Only Besharam, with its tedious soundtrack (brace yourself for a song after every few minutes) and low-cost disposition, is so unbelievably sloppy and senseless, not even the best actors in the business can redeem it no matter how hard they try. And try they do, hard, too hard.”


Wrote Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror: “Filmmakers and stars should realise that a formula done fifty times over is not a similar golden egg-laying goose. The only motivation behind Besharam is to devise a hit– to work a spreadsheet and spit out receipts worth Rs 100 cr at the box office. Everyone understands that films need to be profitable. But are filmmakers forgetting that telling engaging stories is also a part of the job? Can cinema be reduced to an equation? In case you’re wondering, here it is: [Dabangg-Salman+Ranbir x flip introduction for climax+new girl+6 songs (subdivide one for each mood)-story+meta father son jokes] 2.”


Sarita Tanwar was bowled over by Ranbir in DNA. “There is no denying that he is the glue that holds this film together. He is in every frame. And he does this new genre unabashedly. He proves there is nothing he cannot do. He shows off his versatility (and butt cleavage! A dig at Saawariyaa and Sanjay Leela Bhansali?)”


Nandini Ramnath of Mint commented: “The flesh is willing but the spirit weak in Besharam, Abhinav Singh Kashyap‘s unimaginative tribute to seventies Hindi cinema. Ranbir Kapoor‘s carefree car thief Babli is inspired by characters played by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan, but there’s a big difference between now and then. None of Kapoor’s predecessors had to shove socks into their underwears, adjust the area of their trousers around their crotches, imitate Michael Jackson dance moves, sniff the mattress used by their lady loves, and verbalise their sexual prowess. Kapoor’s bare back and a hint of whatever lies below it is viewed in a bathing scene that is sure to have a long afterlife on YouTube. Another seventies star, Ranbir’s father Rishi Kapoor, plays a constipated police officer who is seen in two painful sequences on the toilet pot, willing his intestines into action.”


Shubha Gupta of Indian Express nailed it: “This is a film which pre-empts us from coming up with the classic line, “haaye, sharam nahin aati hai kya”, because it is called Besharam. Which then frees it to indulge in every single “shameless” thing a Bollywood flick safely can, presumably because it has an A-list star. This is a film in which the hero is a self-confessed luchcha-lafanga: remember that phrase? The kind of thing that the villain used to do- be an illiterate lout, crack cheap jokes, harass the heroine, and pull at his crotch whenever possible – is now down to our hero. Not discreetly, that would be unbecoming of a ‘besharam,’ but loudly, accompanied by background music, with the kind of exaggeration that doesn’t allow you to look anywhere else.”


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