Badmaash Company is a proof that the Yash Raj Films formula is irrevocably broken.
The posturing stars, snazzy styling, foreign locations, plastic textures and necessary dash of family values simply can?t cut it anymore.
Badmaash Company is a staggeringly tedious film, which takes two hours and twenty three minutes to give us the moral science lesson that honesty is the best policy.
Director Parmeet Sethi, who has also written the film, situates the story in pre-liberalised India, when the greed-is-good mantra was just seeping into the national consciousness.
A bright young man, Karan, played by Shahid Kapoor, is clear that he doesn?t want to spend his life as a worker drone like his dad. Karan dreams of getting rich quick.
He starts out as a carrier for a small-time smuggler and eventually moves his way up to bigger con jobs and bigger bucks. Three friends join him on this stratospheric journey, which must end as it always does, in self-destructive decadence, avarice, fighting, break-up, regret and various life lessons learnt.
The first half of Badmaash Company is dull but somewhat coherent.
Sethi tries to imbibe spice into his heroine, Bulbul played by Anushka Sharma. This is a feisty wannabe model who won?t let any man but her husband or boyfriend pay for her and who has little trouble defending herself when the usual lecherous clients arrive.
The bonding between the four friends ? the other two are played by Vir Das and Meiyang Chang ? has some lively moments. But in the second half, Badmaash Company derails completely.
The action now moves to Manhattan, where the group repeats the exact same scheme that we?ve already seen in India. Only here the profit is in millions of dollars.
So now all of them are shopping at Prada and partying in Hummer limousines. If this wasn?t boring enough, we have to suffer their fall and Karan?s change of character, which involves a legal but totally ridiculous scheme involving a line of defective shirts called the Bleeding Madras.
Karan and company popularise these shirts by having Michael Jackson wear one and then randomly leaving boxes of them in Black neighbourhoods.
At which point, you have to stop and wonder: what were these guys smoking? Did I mention that when Karan loses his fortune and starts doing a ten-dollar-an-hour job, a background score screams: Fakira!
None of us see Yash Raj Films for an insight into reality. YRF were the experts at giving us a fantasy fix.
But those gossamer chiffon-and-Switzerland dreams seem to have become increasingly threadbare.
I?m going with one and half out of five stars for Badmaash Company.