This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Until last year, the Top 3 contenders to the throne were the three Khans. The game of musical chairs — or one-upmanship, as you may choose to call it — would be limited to these three names. Suddenly, Ranbir Kapoor stepped into the domain with a landslide victory [YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI], challenging the dominance of the three names, forcing the spectators/Studios/film-makers/distributors/exhibitors to look at an all-new competitor. The film industry had finally found the Prince who would take on the mantle, donning the robes of the Pied Piper, attracting spectators in hordes in the domestic as well as international markets. Teaming up with the DABANGG director Abhinav Kashyap only makes Ranbir's immediate outing BESHARAM special. Very special, in fact. The Studio [Reliance] too is gung ho, giving BESHARAM a massive release [4187 screens worldwide]. Will BESHARAM set new benchmarks? Will it go beyond Ranbir's own YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI? Will Abhinav Kashyap hit the pot of gold yet again, after the gargantuan success of DABANGG? Surely, Ranbir and Abhinav's shoulders carry the baggage of expectations like never before…
To start with, the trailers of BESHARAM didn't generate the frenzy that one associates with a biggie. Additionally, the songs did not catch on like Ranbir and Abhinav's earlier films. Besides, the promotional material, for some reason, did not catch the fancy as well…
BESHARAM is Ranbir's first tryst with an out-and-out masala film. A genre that's suddenly caught the fancy of every actor in tinsel town. But, unlike most masalathons, BESHARAM is no remake of a South Indian blockbuster. This one's more like the vintage masala films that we relished in the Bachchan era. With a contemporary tadka, of course. The question is, does BESHARAM work? Unfortunately, it doesn't!
Babli [Ranbir Kapoor], an orphan, is a street smart car mechanic who lives life to the fullest. But he has a heart of gold: He steals cars to support his orphanage. The story takes a turn when he unwittingly hurts the love of his life, Tara [Pallavi Sharda], by robbing her car and selling it to Chandel [Jaaved Jaafrey], who is into the business of money laundering. Babli decides to undo the wrongs in his life, but is it so easy?
Like most masalathons, the premise of BESHARAM is simplistic, but the real test lies in padding the screenplay with gags, punches and moments that would keep you completely enamoured in those 2.20 hours. While BESHARAM does have moments that can be termed pleasurable, the consistency is clearly missing. These moments are sporadic, coming up intermittently, but what takes you by complete surprise is the crude humor that's integrated in the narrative. I mean, one doesn't mind the toilet humor as long as the situation warrants it, but it seems completely forced in this film.
Even the writing hits a rough patch on varied occasions. While the villain's track fits wonderfully in the scheme of things, the love story lacks the spark. Even the chemistry between Ranbir and Pallavi, so vital in a film like this, lacks fire. Again, a few moments between Ranbir and the cops [portrayed by Ranbir's real-life parents, Rishi and Neetu Kapoor] do hold attention, especially Ranbir's outburst in the finale when Jaaved attacks Neetu Kapoor, but the sequences between Rishi and Neetu are, at times, over the top. The action too offers nothing novel. Bashing up multiple people at one go, jumping on a car with splinters flying all across, Rishi getting into the GADAR mode in the climax… it seems like an assemblage of sequences to evoke reactions.
While BESHARAM is a love story at heart, one expects the musical score to be lilting to the core. But the soundtrack disappoints as well. You forget all about the songs the moment you exit the auditorium. Of course, Ranbir tries to add a lot of infectious energy to the compositions, but the soundtrack lacks the quality to reverberate or stay on your lips. The DoP captures the locales and frenzy adroitly.
Post DABANGG, the expectations from Abhinav Kashyap are tremendous. In his directorial debut, Abhinav created characters and chose lines that hold tremendous recall value to this day. But one misses the clever writing in BESHARAM. The screenplay, like I pointed out earlier, is sloppy and the characters too lack the charm to win you over. Even the supporting cast, which has the senior Kapoors teaming up again, lacks the madness that one would've expected.
It is up to Ranbir Kapoor to salvage the show and I must admit, the actor flaunts the attitude all through. He is simply brilliant. The corny lines he mouths, the flashy clothes he wears, the pelvic thrusts in the songs, it's a good departure from the kind of classy roles he has portrayed in the past. Pallavi Sharda looks completely misfit in this role and the pairing with Ranbir lacks the fizz. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor, who have worked in several comic capers and masala fares earlier, are effortless, but not memorable. Jaaved Jaaferi leaves a strong impact. It's a joy watching him in a negative role. Amitosh Nagpal, as Ranbir's pal, hams.
On the whole, this film proves the adage 'All that glitters is not gold' absolutely right. BESHARAM is a huge disappointment!