Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 2, 2013

A dirty shame

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 8:41 pm

October 02, 2013

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Pallavi Sharda, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Javed Jaffrey, Himani Shivpuri

Director: Abhinav Singh Kashyap

In the six years since he’s been working as a Hindi film actor, Ranbir Kapoor has displayed a knack for picking mostly interesting films without worrying too much about their box-office potential. His resume boasts such respectable titles as Wake Up Sid, Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year, Raajneeti, Rockstar and Barfi. It is for this reason that you wait around patiently throughout the 2 hours 18 minutes duration of Besharam, hoping to finally be rewarded with whatever it is that drew him to this film. As it turns out, you’re waiting in vain. Directed by Dabangg’s Abhinav Singh Kashyap, Besharam is the kind of joyless film that compels you to wonder if a fat paycheck can sometimes be the only incentive for talented people to go to work.

The film’s plot, likely scribbled on toilet paper during an inspired moment on the pot, is centered on a loutish car thief, Babli (Ranbir Kapoor), who must steal back a car that he sold to a murderous money launderer (Javed Jaffrey), when he falls for the poor girl who owned the car (newcomer Pallavi Sharda). Handled with adequate lightness, this might have been an inoffensive, forgettable comedy, but Kashyap’s treatment of the material is so indifferent, the film doesn’t even hit that mark. Indeed Besharam appears to be rolling out rather than unfolding, with not one actor so much as pretending to have a good time. What do you say about a film in which Javed Jaffrey looks too bored to over-act?

Kashyap, who gave Salman Khan what was possibly his first fully realized character in years, fails to turn Babli into a similarly enduring – or endearing – hero for the screen. Ranbir doesn’t shy away from playing Babli as a lewd, crotch-adjusting lothario, but it’s a part so underwritten it’s hardly any surprise that the actor does such little with it. The Mr India-inspired subplot about Babli’s commitment to the orphanage he was raised at never really succeeds in adding a credible layer to the role. Even more baffling is the issue of the film’s leading lady, an ordinary actress at best who, along with the director, fails to justify why she was hired here.

The only laughs in this film – few and far between – are provided by the casting of real-life couple (and Ranbir’s real-life parents) Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh as a pair of married police officials eager to make a fast buck from Babli’s doomed deal with the villain. Neetu Singh, in particular, sportingly hams it up as the shrewish spouse who doesn’t for a moment stop squabbling with her husband, not even when he’s taking a dump. A few of the in-jokes about their relationship with Ranbir are the film’s most entertaining bits. Doesn’t help of course that the score is a complete letdown, the look and feel of the film tacky, and the scatological humor mostly off-putting.

I’m going with one out of five for Besharam. A major misfire in every way.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. I think this film tells us who really gave Salman Khan his “first fully realized character in years”. If Abhinav Kashyap gave us Besharam & Arbaaz Khan, Dabangg 2, it’s pretty clear Salman did most of the work on Dabangg. When the script was given to Arbaaz, it was apparently all serious & gritty & Abhinav wanted Irrfan Khan or someone. There were no songs, running gags, etc. Salman was responsible for the inclusion of those. It’s clear Abhinav has no idea how to make masala films work but after the huge success of Dabangg, he wanted to replicate it. Quite clearly failed then! My friend went to see it & walked out before interval.

    Comment by Maya — October 2, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

  2. Rk did not sign this movie for Money- he did it for Director Kashyap. I think he should stop picking good directors- and start picking better “Scripts/stories”

    Comment by rahulandrd — October 2, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

  3. I have read your interviews/opinions many times thus I’ve developed respect for you. Going by your opinion of Besharam, I probably would not even consider watching that movie, except that, now, I am very curious to see for myself if it actually rates as poor as you have indicated, on the chance that your Wednesday started off so unpleasant that it caused you to s__t on Besharam instead of the toilet. (Please don’t be offended. That was intended to be a joke.) However, if it turns out to truly be such a poor film, I hope Ranbir and the other actors will not suffer too terribly as a result. And, thank you for your input about the film.

    Comment by Lorraine — October 2, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

  4. “……when he falls for the poor girl who owned the car (newcomer Pallavi Sharda)”

    Poor girls owning a car? Exactly what kind of poverty levels are we talking about?

    Comment by MP — October 2, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

  5. Never looked like a movie to look forward to after seeing the promos.
    Thanks for conforming the same. Ranbeer will certainly regret this one .

    Comment by Shah — October 2, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

  6. wow probably first and worst rated movie for Ranbir ever

    Comment by priya — October 2, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

  7. too bad, too senseless, too shameless. but, watch it for the 3 kapoors.

    my review – http://jigar-doshi.com/2013/10/besharam-movie-review/

    Comment by Jigar Doshi (@jigard15) — October 2, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

  8. Thinking…n thinking nd nw asking….Is dis film really deserves 1star?? Totally time waste.

    Comment by Shishir — October 2, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

  9. Worst movie of the year.. Ranbir is no SRK or salman, new boys like him need to understand that khans dont need a script and you are not a khan. Naam chulbul rakhne se koi dabangg nahi ban jata.

    Comment by Cyberpunk — October 3, 2013 @ 1:54 am

  10. Man, i am not going for the movie ….

    Comment by sumit prakash — October 3, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  11. Better than Chennai express…still half star less…Strange…

    Comment by swapnil — October 3, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  12. Ranbeer has a image of selecting good movies and that was THE trap!
    Movie could not even hold a position to be funny, forget about a good story line. The joke ‘aunty jab aap chhat pe sadi utarne aaogi tab mai bhi jeans utarne aa jaunga’ was epitome of ghisa pita maal.
    ‘I want my money back’ is the only expression audience would have had… if they had the courage to sit through the end. sigh!
    P.S. – Those who did not get the tickets should consider themselves lucky!

    Comment by Tulika Chikersal — October 3, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

  13. Rajeev i totally agree with you. It was a torture to watch this film. This wasn’t expected of Ranvir. Neither was the acting good nor the songs. In first half hour there are 3 songs where none of them was required. I watched this film after watching “Lunch Box” and could not have imagined such drastic fall in the standards of direction of the two films. In Lunch Box the way of story telling was such that you say wow and feel surprised at every turn of events. Whereas in this film the story telling and introduction of characters was so ordinary. I don’t think this deserves even a single star.

    Comment by Manish — October 3, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  14. Totally agree with the review Mr. Masand ‘Besharam was a total letdown and its unfortunate we couldn’t see Ranbir deliver another terrific performance. Here’s my review of ‘Besharam’ http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2013/10/movie-review-besharam_5062.html It has doom written all over it.

    Comment by Amin Ajani — October 3, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  15. worst movie of month…

    Comment by A.. — October 3, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

  16. tastless masala

    Comment by anoopanand — October 4, 2013 @ 6:30 am

  17. I think it was a case of buy one, get one free… RK was so smitten by Anurag Kashyap and BV, that he did not think twice before taking up this potty mound of a film just cuz Anurag’s brother was directing it, how could he refuse..

    Abhinav ji get your act together… we the audience will forget you as easily as we can make you a star in no time..

    Comment by Durgesh Sirwani — October 4, 2013 @ 9:18 am

  18. Such a shame! Alas but u havnt thrash it as mindless as in the case of chennai express. I really enjoyed chennai express its a total entertainer nd Ranbir thought he would make it but its a total crap .nd craap .. havnt expected such a bakwas film.. Looking 4ward to watch GRAVITY nw

    Comment by Sudhir — October 4, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  19. I dont agree with you mr. Rajeev masand…if u r a fan of ranbir thn u must go for it…. I promise there will be a smile on your face For the whole movie.. bs enjoy the movie and its a humble request to all..plz dnt compare it with other movies…thank you..:-)

    Comment by sidhant sapra — October 4, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

  20. dabangg is dabangg….don’t try to defeat him and become besharam

    Comment by imran — October 4, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

  21. Great review once again Mr. Masand 🙂 Only good spot to come out of the film was Ranbir.

    Here’s my review of ‘Besharam’ http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2013/10/movie-review-besharam_5062.html

    Comment by Amin Ajani — October 5, 2013 @ 6:49 am

  22. This is again one of those movies which have been rated equally byMasand and the audience.

    Comment by gururaj — October 7, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  23. @Maya..You have an interesting point there..

    Comment by gururaj — October 8, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  24. Shit of a movie. Didn’t get what I expected from a talented actor like Ranbir, who gave us such memorable films like Wake up Sid and Barfi. Hope Ranbir is more choosy about his roles if he is to carve out a niche for himself in the industry and prove himself to be a formidable entity to pose a threat to the Khans.

    Comment by Taher — October 11, 2013 @ 3:51 am

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