Review Ladies vs Ricky Bahl

Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and director Maneesh Sharma come together once again under the YRF banner after their sleeper hit of last year Band Baaja Baarat, Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl is called a Rom-Con puntastically and banks heavily and is pretty much built around the popularity of the leading man, after Ranveer’s debut which almost ecplipsed his co-star unfairly.

 

Here we follow grifter Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh) under his different guises as he cons Daddy’s Girl Dimple in Delhi (Parineeti Chopra) as a gym trainer, no non-sense business lady Raina in Mumbai as an art critic (played by former model Dippanita Sharma) and before that as shy garment manufacturer from a small village so where he duped the innocent Saira played by Aditi Sharma in Lucknow (Probably the most “evil” of cons).

The swindled ladies want to get back their money, respect or “boyfriend” back and hire salesgirl Ishika (Anushka Sharma) to con the “conner”.

 

Up to this point in the story (which is pretty much the interval) the movie is a joyous ride of the different cities, accents, get-ups, cultures and each of the different scams of which especially the one in Delhi is fun to watch.  We see firecracker Ranveer proving his debut was not a fluke and he truly is a guy to watch out.  Anushka makes an energetic introduction in Jazba, shaking her behind in front of dubbawhala’s in a station and Parineeti has us pretty much cracking up in every scene she is in almost playing a spoilt version of Shruti Kakkar, or is just that no nonsense Delhi accent she puts on? It makes certainly makes us look forward to her forthcoming movie Ishqzaade with Arjun Kapoor.

But then things start to go downhill as soon as the focus shifts to the duped trying to get back at Ricky.

 

As we discussed during our Matchstick Men Upodcast about con movies, a con movie is only as good as the con, and here there is not a moment that you truly believe that these girls will be able to have the upper hand on Ricky. What remains is the love story, which is underdeveloped, and when it does pop up, it comes out of nowhere.

If the pacing of a movie engrossing you don’t realize some loopholes but this is not the case in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl and the pace actually drops in the scenes were Ranveer isn’t present.

 

Although the supporting actresses are talented, and Saira was channeling a bit of Yasmeen from Dhobi Ghaat)

Both Anushka and Ranveer look great but as an audience member you almost feel cheated as I didn’t feel there was enough of them in the 2nd half of the movie. We never really get to understand Ricky and in a very “500 Days of Summer”- way we only see the version of Bloody Kamina that the victims of his cons show us. Making it that even the climactic scenes of character growth feel like they materialized out of thin air. I do think Ranveer was trying to channel a bit of Tanni from Rab Ne Banadi Jodi (before the reveal) looking at everything with mysterious glances, is he aware that he is being conned? Or is he just playing along? But this is probably just the performance trying to add more to an underdeveloped script.

Anushka is radiant, and there was lots of talk of her weight loss, some going as far as to shout anorexia but she manages to fill the screen with a positive energy that no other contemporary actress has.  Some actresses ooze class, some sensuality, Anushka manages to do both and adds a girl next-door charm.

And god that smile… too bad Ishika, the character, doesn’t live up to the talent of this amazing performer.

 

The visuals are glossy as Christmas ornaments; every scene has the popping energy that we are used to YRF studios (I do wonder if this is a look that will translate to the US movies they are now producing)

 

The songs are mediocre although choreographed marvelously. I did feel that the undershirt dance in title track was reminiscent of the studios massive hit Dhoom 2′ s “Dhoom Machale”. The song placement is balanced and the performances by the leads against are so energetic they are enjoyable even though you wont be buying the soundtrack anytime soon (something I haven’t done either, although that jazz sample in the title track is pretty awesome)

Every close up is shot with lots of fans so hair is always flopping around, something I might have found more annoying as I was sitting super close to the screen.  (I could actually see a couple of nose hairs poking out of Ricky’s pulling me totally out of the moment, I hope I didn’t spoil any moments)

 

All in all Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is quite fun and enjoyable even though I don’t imagine it ending up on any best of 2011 lists. Something I am preparing for a future Bollywood Upodcast so keep checking us out. Maneesh Sharma needs a better screenplay next time but it’s quite tough to capture lightning in a bottle. If you don’t go with the expectations of another Band Baaja Baraat, you will have a great time.

 

Something more:

 

  • I would love to see what Ranveer can do coming out of the YRF banner. The guy has such a screen presence and could totally take on more challenging and edgier roles if given the chance.

 

  • I would like to see Anushka Sharma in pretty much everything, she s such a delight to watch.

 

  • Ladies vs Ricky Bahl is another in a long line of Yash Raj con after Bunty Aur Babli, Badmaash Company, the Dhoom series and in some ways even Rab Ne Banadi Jodi. Maybe Band Baaja Baraat connected more with audiences, as it was a movie about hard work and graft? Something we don’t seem to get as much in contemporary Hindi cinema.
  • It seems that Yash Raj studios have no idea how to portray the business world actually works.  Salesmen are equated with con men (something that was also raised in last years Rocket Singh-Salesmen of the Year) and seem to be proud of duping their customers, something I inherently disagree with. Even Raina’s who’s supposed to be a hardnosed corporate manager also has to deal with interior decoration and also being a part time art critic

 

 @asimburney

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