(Reuters) Ranbir Kapoor is often hailed as the next big thing in Bollywood — a young star who knows what he is doing, chooses his scripts with care and delivers top-notch performances nearly all the time. If that is the case, Kapoor must have had a very bad day at work to say yes to “Besharam” (Shameless).
Abhinav Kashyap’s second film as director is crude, packed with toilet humour, and has no semblance of a plot. “Besharam” is a case study in lazy filmmaking, one that lowers the bar on good taste just to make money at the Bollywood box office. It insults the viewer’s intelligence and is an example of the Hindi film industry’s reluctance to let go of hackneyed storylines that were all the rage two decades ago.
Kapoor plays Babli, the protagonist in this Indian version of Robin Hood. He is a thief who steals swanky cars, sells them and donates the proceeds to the orphanage where he was raised. His talent catches the attention of a gangster (Jaaved Jaffrey) who hires him.
But one day, Babli unwittingly steals and delivers the car of the girl he loves. Once he realizes this, there is only one thing to be done. Steal the car right back. Tara (Pallavi Sharda), who spends half the time delivering holier-than-thou speeches about how Babli should give up a life of crime, agrees and accompanies him on this mission.
There is also a subplot about a squabbling couple (Ranbir’s real-life parents Rishi and Neetu Kapoor), who are in the police, and have made unsuccessful attempts at catching Babli during his earlier capers. Even this does not work, mainly because Kashyap saddles them with vulgar dialogue and a series of gross-out sequences involving actor Rishi Kapoor — including a defecation scene.
Kashyap doesn’t even attempt to inject any creativity into this flimsy plotline, relying on toilet humour and mediocre songs to stretch the running time to two-and-a-half hours. The dialogue is pedestrian, as are the performances.
Ranbir Kapoor does not look too convinced himself about the film or its outrageous plot. He’s no Salman Khan or Akshay Kumar. Those two actors could have pulled off “Besharam’s” slapstick genre but Kapoor can’t and that’s the film’s main failing. Unless you like the feeling of being hit on the head repeatedly with a hammer, avoid this one.
(Follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay)