Planet Bollywood
Producer: Sanjeev Gupta, Himanshu Kishan Mehra
Director: Abhinav Singh Kashyap
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Jaaved Jaaferi, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Amitosh Nagpal
Music: Ishq Bector, Shree D, Lalit Pandit
Lyrics: Kumaar, Rajeev Barnwal, Nikhat Khan, Himanshu Kishan Mehra
Genre: Action, Comedy, Romantic
Recommended Audience: General
Film Released on: 02 October 2013
Reviewed by: Amodini Sharma  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.08 / 10 (rated by 413 viewers)
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From the trailer, Besharam is not what you’d call polished. Given that this is by Abhinav Kashyap, that is probably not unexpected; recall that Kashyap also directed Dabangg. So yes, Besharam is total brainless masala, with a pretty good dose of crude humor. There are many cringe-worthy moments here but for a one-time watch, you could do worse.

This film, as many Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh flicks before it, features a mawaali hero with a heart of gold. This particular specimen is Babli, an auto-mechanic/car thief. Babli is an orphan raised in an orphanage. He still lives there and contributes all his hard-earned cash to the upkeep of the orphanage. One fine day Babli sees Tara, is floored, and declares to all and sundry that she would be his wife (Ah! And you thought desi men weren’t sanskaari!). The to-be wife, beautiful, educated Tara however is not only unwilling but fosters (justified, me thinks) scorn and contempt for Babli. When he manages to steal her brand new Mercedes to sell off to the villain, it only makes matters worse. Will Babli ever manage to get on her good side?

Now, this film’s story has so many gaping holes in it that accounting for each glaring stupidity would take all day. Take it from me: this film requires no brains; popcorn/samosas and a drink or two will suffice. Besharam has all the elements of a good-natured, predictable, weak-in-the-head 80s film : a sparring hero-heroine, a villain, police sidekicks, peppy music, desi pathos, high emotional quotient. It also has the heroine’s mother. Bollywood mother figures are becoming nitwittier by the day. Tara’s mom not only thinks that the openly leering man at the door is such a good boy, she also encourages Tara to go away with him on a hare-brained mission to recover her stolen car. Of course who can blame her? She, like all desi moms, dreams of marrying off her only bright, beautiful and well-educated daughter to the closest available, boorish, un-educated, orphan car mechanic.

It is when you see films like Besharam that you realize the importance of a director. Ranbir Kapoor is as flawless in this film as he is in any other role; he takes it and makes it his own. However with a director like Imtiaz Ali you get Rockstar, with Kashyap you get Besharam. Same raw material, very different end product. Petite newcomer Australian-born Pallavi Sharda makes a confident debut as Babli’s love interest. She dances and acts well – which means she’s pretty good at the standard Bollywood Hindi film heroine expressions – looking down her nose at the hero, looking miffed as he attempts to eve-tease/molest her in public, but then smilingly succumbing to his stalker-ish charms – standard requirements for the females; you’d think they’d have devised a screen-test for this by now.

Parental appendages Rishi and Neetu appear in the film as Police Inspector Chulbul Chautala and his baton-weilding junior Bulbul Chautala. These two old fogies had more chemistry between them that the hero and heroine. Javed Jaffrey is the villain Bheem Singh. Although he cuts a rather dashing figure, the film’s script manages to suck all the menace out of him, which makes him just another prop to make our hero look good. The music isn’t half-bad; I was quite impressed by Ranbir Kapoor’s singing abilities in the song “Love ki Ghanti” – it reminded me of Kishore Kumar’s fun free-wheeling melodies.

Overall, Besharam is a passable one-time watch for a slow weekend.

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