Cast:Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
A slick, unabashedly lowbrow entertainer, Besharam is, true to the title, absolutely unapologetic about its intentions.
Like it or lump it, it is a film that is packaged smartly enough to be able to paper over for its obvious flaws, most of them at any rate.
It has no story worth the name, and its oddball characters are facile caricatures that turn more and more bizarre as they hurtle towards a protracted and action-packed climax that turns out to be far and away the most enjoyable part of the film.
Most of the comic gags that Besharam conjures up hinge on the film’s pivotal casting coup. The idea of playing the mercurial Ranbir Kapoor off against the spirited pair of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor (in the guise of ageing Delhi cops married to each other) offsets the deleterious effects of the duller moments.
There is much in the film that does not quite click into place. The implausible tale of bumbling cops, a cool car thief, his pretty lady love and a brutal hawala operator surrounded by a posse of grotesque henchmen takes ages to gather momentum. And even when it does get going, it is riddled with gaps of logic to huge to bridge.
But with Ranbir Kapoor going out of his way to live up to the moniker that the film bestows on his character, writer-director Abhinav Singh Kashyap’s second venture turns out to be yet another action comedy rooted firmly in the tradition of commercial Hindi potboilers of an era gone by.
Lest you miss the connection, Rishi Kapoor’s character in this film is called Chulbul Chautala. And sure enough, when the pot-bellied police inspector is down for the count, the gloating hero reminds him that every Chulbul cannot be a Dabangg.
The male protagonist, on his part, is quite a dabangg though: a glib talker, an incorrigible stalker, and a suave, larger-than-life rocker who can sway and swerve his way out of trouble without getting his knickers into a twist.
He is a lollypop-sucking car thief who answers to the unlikely name of Bubbly and that is exactly what the man is. No, he isn’t vintage champagne, but he is full of beans.
He has no surname because he has no parents. Pyaar, he declares grandly, is the only hathyar that he needs to get what his heart desires.
He is unapologetic about what he does for a living and can out-punch and outrun any number of hoodlums, but he is mortally afraid of canines. And, if you find his ways funny, that is all you really need to know about this man without a surname.
Abhinav Kashyap delivers the plot and character details only in broad sweeps, never pausing to let little things like psychological nuances get in the way of his defiantly goofy storytelling style.
His script provides no insights into the motives of the hero except for the fact that he grew up in an orphanage and resorts to illegal acts simply in order to fund a bunch of castaways.
Bubbly’s life goes into a tailspin when he espies a pretty girl, Tara Sharma (Pallavi Sharda), the spoilt daughter of a middle class widow, and flips head over heels for her.
He makes a pass at her outside a wedding venue. The girl gives him a piece of her mind. Yet the thick-skinned Bubbly not only follows her into the banquet hall but also sings and dances with her.
Bubbly worms his way into the heart of Tara’s mom and continues to pursue the girl without let. He barges into her office by bribing the security guards and proposes to her. Tara humiliates her and throws her out of the building.
On the way out, Bubbly and his pal, Titu (Amitosh Nagpal), escape with a brand new car that turns out to be Tara’s.
All hell breaks loose when Bubbly learns what he has done. He decides to get the stolen vehicle back from under the nose of the man it has been sold to, the dreaded Bhim Singh Chandel (Jaaved Jaaferi), Punjab’s undisputed hawala king. But that is easier said than done
If Besharam does not lose its wheels completely, it is primarily because Ranbir Kapoor plays to the gallery without the slightest sign of inhibition.
The star even does a repeat of the Saawariya towel act – this time around without the towel and in a water tank that doubles up as a bathtub.
Newcomer Pallavi Sharda does a fairly good job of looking blissfully beatific and overtly offended by turns. The screenplay does not give her much else to do.
The Rishi-Neetu double act certainly has its moments, especially when the pair gets to share space with Ranbir.
Besharam, rambunctious and robust, does not offer much by way of narrative novelty. But like Dabangg, it sets a crackling pace and does not flinch from the prospect of going over the edge in its pursuit of cheap thrills.
Watch Besharam primarily for Ranbir Kapoor and the zany climax in an old-world warehouse where the ghosts of many Hindi movie heroes of yore are invoked.