Carry on Ranbir

The flesh is willing but the spirit weak in Besharam, Abhinav Singh Kashyap’s unimaginative tribute to seventies Hindi cinema. Ranbir Kapoor’s carefree car thief Babli is inspired by characters played by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan, but there’s a big difference between now and then. None of Kapoor’s predecessors had to shove socks into their underwears, adjust the area of their trousers around their crotches, imitate Michael Jackson dance moves, sniff the mattress used by their lady loves, and verbalise their sexual prowess. Kapoor’s bare back and a hint of whatever lies below it is viewed in a bathing scene that is sure to have a long afterlife on YouTube. Another seventies star, Ranbir’s father Rishi Kapoor, plays a constipated police officer who is seen in two painful sequences on the toilet pot, willing his intestines into action.

That’s about as shameless as Besharam gets. When it’s not trying to jolt audiences out of the stupor they are likely to slide into, Besharam turns over every cliché from the Big Black Book of Hindi Movie Plots section that lists “Robin Hood-inspired Thief Takes Good Turn After Heart is Stolen."

Ranbir Kapoor is the object of director Kashyap’s adulation in the film

Besharam released in theatres on Wednesday.

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