Whether it be playing Kuljeet (Simran’s – Kajol’s -fiance) in the record-breaking Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Armaan sir’s best buddy in the much-loved TV serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Parmeet Sethi has never done anything by halves.The actor has now added writing and directing to his CV and with Badmaash Company, Sethi marks his directorial debut. Produced under the Yash Raj Films banner, the story surrounds a group of four friends played by the gorgeous Shahid Kapoor, girl-next-door Anushka Sharma, comedian Vir Das and Meiyang Chang of Indian Idol fame.
The film is set in the 1990s in what used to be known as Bombay and sees the four set up their own business with the notion that all it needs to be a success is a big idea. Karan (Shahid), understandably scared to end up like his father who has been in the same job for a quarter of a century, believes he is destined for better things. Bulbul (Anushka) has the ambition of becoming India’s top model and wants to leave no stone unturned to get to that goal. Chandu (Vir) is the innocent guy that everyone takes the biscuit with and Tenzing (Chang) is the Chinese dude that speaks Hindi.
The group’s get-rich-quick idea seems to work and they, somewhat inevitably, get used to living the high life. However, as the dialogue rightly states, time waits for nobody. The loophole that their big idea took advantage of doesn’t last and the company is forced to change their tactics. Karan’s aspiration takes the team to America where his uncle helps get them on track. However, it is the same Karan’s change in character that causes cracks in their relationships and his romance with Bulbul also seems to hit the ground with an unexpected thud as a result. In short, everything goes pear-shaped. The group of friends split due to their differences, in the process learning some valuable life lessons.
The film is directed very well and Sethi deserves a big pat on the back. For a first attempt, Sethi has delivered tremendous locations and given the film a very hip feel. Sethi, who is said to have written the script of the film in just six days, should also get a lot of merit for his dialogues. The scenes are particularly detailed in many areas and the characters are very well thought out.
Great performances are delivered by all. The film offers many comedy scenes and much credit for their success should go to Vir Das. A stand-up comedian by trade, he performs the inexperienced and slightly awkward character of Chandu with no difficulty. His comedy background adds a sting in his tail and this can only be a good thing with roles of this genre. Meiyang Chang, best known for his singing talent, is a very unconventional actor of Indian cinema. He plays the character of an alcoholic very well and this debut sees him enact scenarios of comedy to anger with the same ease. It seems Chang is not only a good singer and TV show anchor, but also an upcoming, accomplished actor.
Known for her nickname Taani Partner in her last film Rab Na Bana Di Jodi, Anushka Sharma plays a role in stark contrast to that of her debut. Sharma plays this role effortlessly and shows how versatile an actress she really is. The audiences may have been unsure whether she would be able to make a successful transition from her seedhi-saadhi character in Rab Na Bana Di Jodi to the modern, westernised Bulbul in this film. It may take some getting used to but Sharma seems to fit into both Eastern and Western gracefully.
It has to be recognised that after a number of dismal movies like Chance Pe Dance and Paatshala, Shahid Kapoor is back. His performance as Karan, the brains of the movie, proves his flexibility as an actor. He portrays innocence just as well as daring and romance just as well as repent. After Kaminey, Kapoor finally gives the yearning audiences another jhalak of his super acting talent and that too in a film that doesn’t exploit his awesome dance moves. Kapoor captivates the audiences in this film with every scene and every dialogue. It almost goes without saying that his look will wow the audiences all over again.
The romantic pairing of Shahid and Anushka admittedly seems a little odd at first glance. For some reason, the two don’t seem to be as pleasing on the eye together. However, in the film, the intertwining of their characters gives the story a much-needed solace which is a requirement when things fall apart. The camaraderie portrayed by the male characters also gives the film an aspect which the audiences can relate to that bit more. Although this has been seen in previous films, the freshness in this particular scenario is perhaps that little bit more effective due to the new talents of Das and Chang. The friendship provides a youthful, fun and carefree attitude that people often dream about.
The music of the film has been popular enough but perhaps not as much as a Yash Raj film is used to. Ayashi and Chaska have been taken to but it would be fair to say that the album misses out the usual lovey-dovey number that could’ve added some more substance to the Shahid-Anushka pairing. The album also very much lacks female vocals, which is unusual. Although the soundtrack is fitting for the movie, it seems something is missing but it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what.
The father-son relationship between Karan (Shahid) and his father played by Anupam Kher somewhat cements the film together. The idea of breaking free from the life you know in the hope of gaining and achieving the bigger and the better… only to find that the riches in life do not always hold monetary value. Although this, along with other underlying themes, was maybe put in place for emotional connectivity with the audiences, it strikes a very limited chord. Kher is, as always, outstanding.
It seems the story’s main drawback comes because a lot of the concepts have been seen before in films such as Bunty & Babli and Dil Chahta Hai. Had it have been slightly more original in story, Badmaash Company had much potential to exceed expectations by far and impress on an unmarked level. It’s with a heavy heart and great pity to say that this film has everything going for it – a great director, great characters, great ideas – but it doesn’t quite come up to the mark in uniqueness. Having said that, the film is very watchable – despite its flaws – and Shahid’s performance in particular is very worthy of acclaim. Watch this one if you’re looking a film which has a very fresh outlook and some marvellous performances by all… but if you’re looking for a movie which will challenge you intellectually then perhaps this one should be missed.