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Badmaash Company review: Notoriously bad

Badmaash Company review: Notoriously bad

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 07 May 2010

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Movie Title

Badmaash Company review: Notoriously bad

Director

Parmeet Sethi

Star Cast

Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang, Vir Das and Anupam Kher

The film is based in '90s Mumbai; a period that has little bearing on the story except that the city was then called Bombay, there were no cell phones, and a McDonald's meal was the privilege of those who could travel abroad.

Karan (Shahid Kapoor) and his gang have just graduated from college - however none of the actors look in their early 20s, except perhaps Anushka Sharma. The others in the gang include a pervert (Vir Das) whose propensity to leer at women is considered comical, and another one who likes his drink too often (Meiyang Chang of Indian Idol fame).

In order to make a fast buck and earn free trips, they help smuggle goods from Bangkok into India. The emotional justification of group leader Kunal's wrongdoings - his ambition at making money quick - is linked to his mother selling her bangles for his father's hospitalisation.

As a character you don't quite get him - his father (Anupam Kher) has been serving the same company for the last 25 years, and it is understandable that the son wants to veer into business, but his attraction to illegal means doesn't hold water considering the middle-class, sheltered upbringing.

So after the semi-smuggling stint, Karan and Co. decide to smuggle on their own. Shown to have a shrewd mind for such things, Karan devises a plan to sell imported shoes at a slashed price. Then the Badmaash Company, more criminal than roguish, move on from smuggling to cheating people in various businesses.

All through, the complicated procedures of attaining a bank loan in a foreign country, or registering a company etc are glossed over. The gang's plans are put to action almost as soon as they think them.

The cast is competent. Shahid Kapoor is charming and earnest. Vir Das and Chang make confident debuts. However, Anushka Sharma lacks the chutzpah of her character.

Badmaash Company is consistently sexist - a character hits his girlfriend, the other leers at women, the third screams down his live-in lover as soon as he is successful. What's more, as is the case with most of our films, the default sex of an unborn child is also male.

Anushka Sharma is in skimpy clothes constantly - what has come to be the uniform for actresses - with no context to their character. And so, usually, only characters with scope for such glam (in this case, she's a wannabe model) are written for them.

The film's humour is juvenile, like the gag that has the pervert pick up a girl at a bar, only to realise she's a transvestite. Dialogue is cumbersome. At one point when a character is explaining a plan, the other character says - 'footage khaana band kar' and there are other arguments about who is a chota aadmi and bada aadmi. Then there's a hyper-senti dialogue when a character realises the value of respect and asks - 'ye izzat kaise kamai jaati hai'. Yawn!

There are gaffes like film set in the '90s, but a poster of A Christmas Carol that released in 2009 is clearly seen in the background. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the film is its inclusion of a Michael Jackson concert, robbing the film of the hair of plausibility it had.

Films like this (Jannat, Teen Patti) follow a pattern - the central characters are ambitious and want to get rich quick, soon enough the money distances personal relationships, in the end the characters have to pay for their wrongdoings, but not before they've enjoyed the high-life. Do such films glamorise crime or condemn it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Debut writer-director Parmeet Sethi (veteran actor most famous for playing the groom in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge) has made a crime fairytale with little plausibility and lots of gloss. Watch it if you must see sprawling mansions, overnight riches and glam clothes. And if you don't mind if it all doesn't make sense.

Rating: 1.5 stars

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