Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Shame Shame!

It’s a sad but inescapable fact that Bollywood cinema is getting so desperate for commercial success that it will stoop to any extent to get those crores.  But if today’s hottest star Ranbir Kapoor, and Abhinav Singh Kashyap, the director of Dabangg, from whom better films were expected, can only come up with a crass and embarrassing Besharam, then it’s time to worry.

The hero as stalker has been a staple of mainstream Hindi films, but now, with the increasing cases of violence against women—and many attacks by stalkers—it is disturbing to see a man harassing a woman in the name of ‘love’. (Raanjhanaa did it earlier, but at least the guy was not a sleazeball).  The man is a good-for-nothing thief who justifies his life of crime by taking care of an orphanage; the woman is a manager high profile enough to afford a Mercedes. But she is made to apologise to him for her “khadoos” behaviour before she falls into a clinch. So if a woman spurns the advances of a roadside ruffian, she is “khadoos”? 

Besharam’s plot is paper thin—thief steals car of the woman he loves, then goes with her to retrieve it from the villain. In between you see thief, Babli (Ranbir Kapoor) chase the reluctant girl Tara (Pallavi Sharda--insipid). When he is not fooling around—and the gags are crude—there are two Chautala cops Chulbul  (Rishi Kapoor) and Bulbul (Neetu Kapoor), who squabble at home and at work. Rishi Kapoor goes through the indignity of sitting on a toilet—constipation and childlessness being his fault, according to the nagging wife. So not funny!  Ranbir’s groin and butt crack gets as much footage as his face, so obviously Kashyap’s sense of humour is of the vulgar variety. Add to that Ranbir’s garish wardrobe, lascivious expressions, and lip-smacking at the sight of Tara, and it’s an invitation to every lowlife to imagine himself a besharam hero.  (Watching the film in the stalls of a single screen moviehall can be illuminating.)

The casting coup of getting the Kapoor parents and son in a film is used for some “Ma hogi teri” kind of in-jokes, that only the film’s unit must have enjoyed. Finally, the villain Chandel (Jaaved Jafferi) is hardly menacing. The hawala king of Chandigarh who collects stolen cars—can he be taken seriously?  If some inspiration had been taken from Mr India (the orphans and their Babli Bhaiya), then the baddie had to be of the calibre of Mogambo at least. 

It’s possible that Ranbir Kapoor’s current most-favourite status will carry this film through, but better taste was expected from him...and his parents.


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