With 'Besharam', Ranbir Kapoor sinks to a low

Movie: Besharam; Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Javed Jaffrey; Directed by: Abhinav Singh Kashyap; Rating:**

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 fun.

I am sure the script, when it was narrated to the actors, must have had them in splits.

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 even try.

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 jokey tone.

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 non-existent.

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)."

Well, well.

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?")

Enough, as they say, is too much.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

On Now: Delhi vs Kolkata

Pandey, Uthappa help Kolkata set Delhi a 167-run target. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »