“Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma. They are personable enough, and they act well enough. He’s smooth, she’s smart and sassy. The story is clever enough, and whole idea of the wronged girls trying to wrong the bad guy always delicious. But we’ve seen too many of these con vs con movies from Yash Raj Films. Think Bunty aur Babli (pioneering), Badmaash Company (painful) and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (terrific).
They almost always star the young man the production company is trying to push at that particular moment for the Shah Rukh Khan slot. This time it is the company’s new favourite Ranveer Singh. He’s talented, no doubt, and doesn’t let his lack of good looks come in the way of expressing it. He has a good body and in true Yash Raj fashion, he flaunts in a few well-lit scenes, and since they make equal opportunity films, so does the girl, Anushka Sharma. But like all Yash Raj productions, they are always afraid of removing the plastic coating from their products. They did in Band Baaja Baraat and got raw moments that peeped through-perhaps because it was Maneesh Sharma’s first film.
By now, they have beaten any individuality out of him, and so all we get after a certain point is a series of change of costumes, his and hers. She, an ambitious sales girl from Home Town, Mumbai, pretends to be Ishika Patel from USA, daughter of motel king, who plans to set up a restaurant in Goa. He pretends to be Vikram Thapar, who owns a string of beach sports outlets in Goa, and drives a Lexus. Both fall in love-believe me, it’s no spoiler-and we’re supposed to be excited about what happens next.”
“The film doesn’t surprise us in any way, but it does enthuse you with its energy. No one in Yash Raj’s new economy world-no young person at least-works in the old economy. So Ranveer in his con artist avatars gives us several avatars. He’s a gym instructor when he’s trapping the spoilt rich property dealer’s daughter who speaks in emoticons and carries an i-phone, not a cellphone-Parineeti Chopra, the shiniest and most natural actors among the lot. He’s an art dealer when he’s conning Dipannita Sharma Atwal, the sophisticated working girl who is outstanding at her job-in a role that finally justice both to her cheekbones and her talent. He’s also a dance teacher, a chef, a waiter. The movie moves from Delhi (which Sharma captures brilliantly as usual-Ranveer asks his girlfriend’s father whether he will cook him in a tandoor if he messes up) to Lucknow to Mumbai and finally to Goa.
Anushka and Ranveer have a good bantering relationship, even if it seems awfully reminiscent of Band Baaja Baraat. Even some lines seem familiar-your brains and my daring, and we can have a great business, says Ranveer. But I do wish Ranveer and Anushka would stop smiling at each other so much. Both are so thin that they seem to be Close-Up smiles morphed on amazingly agile bodies. When both actors forget to smile quite so much, they actually do a good job. And Ranveer is a good actor, only Yash Raj has to stop referencing Shah Rukh Khan every time they cast him-in Band Baaja Baraat they made him dance instead of the Khan at a wedding. In Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, they make him download a Baazigar dialogue as his caller tune which has a starring role.
There’s some good writing here-the gora Punjabi face in Gucci glasses looks like vodka shots in lassi glasses says one song-but it would have been better if they’d removed the plastic first. The world has moved on to organic from synthetic, Mr Chopra. Wake up before you drown in the plastic. Remember it’s not biodegradeable.”