Though said in a separate context, it sounds like an apology at that point. You see, after sitting through the entire course of Abhinav Kashyap’s hideous new film, it’s only fair to expect one.
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.
If Dabangg benefitted from Salman Khan’s effusive charisma, Kashyap’s trippy treatment, Sonakshi Sinha’s piquant presence and a swashbuckling background score, Besharam relies on Kapoors – Ranbir, Rishi and Neetu to work miracles without any of the crisply penned lines or a witty screenplay at their disposal.
Instead the Kapoor men embarrass themselves in moments of groan-inducing toilet humour – the elder one relieves his constipated tummy through a blare of faecal evacuations, the younger lad prefers to pee in a mustard field to the sound of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’s Tujhe Dekha. (The song pops up again to inject a flat comic interlude involving a romantic dog chase).
Only five-year olds may find such gags funny but Besharam, with all its lewd innuendoes and crude gesturing, isn’t children friendly from any angle. Pray, what’s amusing about a girl saying “Rape kar diya mera toh?” What shocks is the insouciance with which it finds mention in Kashyap’s second directorial venture.
It’s like the whole point behind this movie is to emphasise on Ranbir’s titular trait. So he’s fiddling with his crotch, jiggling his bareback and butt cleavage, thrusting his pelvis into the screen or constantly hitting on his heroine in the most cheesy, cringe-worthy fashion. For all his projected Robin Hoodedness, the man’s more sleazy than shameless.
I’ve never held back in applauding the talent of Ranbir Kapoor. He’s one of the most exciting artists of this generation. But whether he likes it or not, his viewer now expects a certain credibility from his choices. I don’t know what connected him to this script but Besharam seems like a terrible miscalculation.
And this is not some squeamish grievance just because the film maintains an over-the-top, loutish tone. RK has earlier done physical comedy (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) and played the uncouth bloke adopting an in-your-face approach to woo the girl (Rockstar) but his character was substantiated with enough heft and humour.
Here, his Babli (that’s his name and, exactly, no one laughed), dressed in an atrocious combination of Govinda (think Dulhe Raja), Mithun Chakravarthy (think 80s) and Chunky Pandey’s (think all the time) garish wardrobe, is just a wayward jerk who dares to presume he can endear you with his obscene antics.
Ranbir’s performance is adequately uninhibited and, admittedly, modelled around Mike Myers’ Austin Powers. But he fails to make us care, forget root for Babli or warm up to his Besharmi. Of his parents, playing a husband-wife pair of bantering, crooked Delhi cops, Neetu Kapoor is distressingly raucous while tubby hubby Rishi Kapoor takes off on Sunny Deol’s roaring frenzy in a scene that seems to have slipped out of Rohit Shetty’s imagination.
As for leading lady Pallavi Sharda, her stiff screen presence coupled with nearly violent dancing skills highlight her insufficiencies in magnified view. Her performance is insipid to the extent you’re likely to notice the absolute trivial. (Like who fries tomatoes before onions?)
Meanwhile, the usually dependable Javed Jaffrey plays a costume-y villain with the attention span of a man who has better things to do.
And if you do too, spare yourself from this shame of a movie.
This article was first published on rediff.com.