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Sarit Ray review: Besharam

An accurate way to describe Besharam would be to call it the cinematic equivalent of a dinner made with leftovers. There is a bit of everything, nothing is exactly fresh, and in the end you’re left wondering if it was wise to have chucked it all in together. Except, in this case, it isn’t home-cooked food, but a meal you must pay for.

Within the first half hour, before there is a semblance of a plot, you’re served three song-and-dance routines. Part of this is the hero’s regressive, ’90s Bollywood-style flirting method, where the much-stalked heroine, after being pissed off right through the first half, suddenly falls in love.

There’s also the kind of stylised, gravity-defying action sequence that Abhinav Singh Kashyap used brilliantly in Dabangg. But in this confused mess, oddly released on a Wednesday (Gandhi Jayanti) to pull in maximum crowds, it feels like a lazy addition meant to cash in on past accolades.

Babli (Ranbir Kapoor), we’re told, is a car thief of some repute, yet he manages to have half of the Delhi polizce force chase after him the first time we see him pull off a heist. He’s sought out by Bheem Singh Chandel (Jaaved Jaaferi), the ridiculously gruff-voiced hawala king of Chandigarh. Our hero, of course, is more concerned with wooing his lady love, Tara (Pallavi Sharda). So he must re-steal a car he stole from her and give to Chandel.

The harebrained story is just an excuse for the much-promised shamelessness. Yet, here too, Kashyap seems unsure if he wants to pander to conservative sensibilities or offend them. The romance between the lead pair is restricted to tepid kisses on the forehead, though Ranbir’s butt crack gets to make its Bollywood debut.

Ranbir is a hugely talented actor. Yet, face contortions and chest hair notwithstanding, he fails to pull off crass.

The film’s saving grace is the other Kapoors — Rishi (as inspector Chulbul) and Neetu (playing head constable Bulbul) have tremendous chemistry; Chulbul’s version of ‘Badtameez Dil’ and a Gadar-inspired scene involving a tube-well are extremely funny.