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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

'BESHARAM': The UKAsian Review

Plenty of laughs, plenty of songs and an awful lot of action, Besharam is a romantic, feel-good comedy that will find you grinning without you even realising it. Despite having a simple and somewhat predictable story line, Besharam does have a spark to it.

It's important to make clear from the outset is that Besharam is definitely not ‘vulgar’.  Ranbir Kapoor develops his character, Babli, so naturally that what might have seemed as vulgarity through the trailers is completely taken away.

Instead, his cheesy jokes become charming and part of his persona.  Sure, there is some sexual inuendo and nuances as well as remarks throughout the film but these feel strangely appropriate and add to Babli’s cheeky sense of humour.

Babli is a charming car thief who stylishly hot wires cars along with his side kick T2. However, there is more to this car thief than meets the eye.  A Robin Hood, of sorts, Babli’s dodgy earnings go to an orphanage where he was brought up and still lives.

Yes, our cheeky rebel definitely does have a cause - and a reason.

Besharam is an intelligent comedy which through its wit, brings up interesting questions - can Babli be blamed for taking a wrong path?  Does it matter if Babli does wrong to make something right?

Stepping onto the scene, Tara Sharma (Pallavi Sharda) helps to answer these questions.  Once her path crosses with Babli, both their lives change gear.  They question their ways and determine their future.  However, nothing good comes easily.  Not just Babli Besharam, but Tara Sharma must jump through hurdles to fix what has gone wrong.

The performances, the songs and the cinematography are what make Besharam a winner.

Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh have fantastic on screen chemistry.  Comedy suits this duo really, really well.  Whether it’s Rishi Kapoor imitating Ranbir Kapoor’s dance moves to ‘Badtameez Dil’ or his act on a toilet seat, he plays the part of ‘Inspector’ Chulbul Chautala to a tee.

Neetu Singh as ‘Head Constable’ Bulbul Chautala portrays the nagging, bullying and materialistic wife perfectly.

It is difficult to believe that this is Pallavi Sharda’s debut Bollywood film as lead actress.  She fits her role perfectly, her dance moves are flawless and she knows how to portray emotion.  Her character changes post-intermission and she has captured the versatility with ease.

Ranbir Kapoor has proved that he is here to stay and to reign over Bollywood through this film.  Babli is a character who we see develop the most through the film - any emotion and Babli goes through it.  Ranbir Kapoor is in his element, carrying his character so effortlessly that it is impossible to visualize anyone else cast in the role of Babli.

At last, we have Bollywood songs how Bollywood had meant them to be!  Each song builds on the story, is a real treat for the eyes (and ears) and holds a tone of fantasy and escape.  What is powerful in Besharam is that the gap between songs is unusually short, giving it the feel and energy of a true musical.

The song ‘Love Ki Ghanti’ is reminiscent of Raju Bangaya Gentleman’s ‘Loveria Hua’.  Instead of stealing away any originality from Besharam, we are reminded that Bollywood can still profess love on the streets, without inhibitions, seena phad ke!

If there's one criticism of the film it is very long.  The story line, although predictable and a little ‘seen this before’, is saved by the strong performances and humour.

However, the film does begin to feel a bit of a drag.  Had it been 30 minutes shorter, it would have done the trick.

Besharam light heartedly touches on the theme of corruption, making choices and self-discovery- not just for Babli but for all the lead characters.  What is refreshing about Besharam is that it does not take itself too seriously - this is not referring to the quality of the film but to the light hearted attitude reflected.

There are references to the Kapoor’s being related and this works well. It adds to the celebration of the Kapoor legacy in Hindi cinema and reflects a personal touch to the film. In fact, the final song ‘Chal Hand Uthake Nachche’ is a celebration of the Kapoors - we see images of Rishi Kapoor in past films such as Bobby and the party theme emphasises this.  

Hindi cinema is one hundred years old and the Kapoor’s have kept a strong legacy running for 75 of those.

It's only appropriate that Besharam, with two generations of Kapoors ends with a celebration.

- Aashi Gahlot

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