Movie Review: “Ladies VS Ricky Bahl”; Star cast: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma; Directed by: Maneesh Sharma; Rating: *** – an engaging con caper.
Please don’t look for another “Band Baaja Baaraat” from the Ranveer Singh-Anushka Sharma-Maneesh Sharma team. And chances are, you will come away from “Ladies Vs Ricky Behl” with a feeling of having seen a smoothly-sculpted con caper about a suave charlatan who wins over 31….or is it 32?…women and then breaks their heart while running away with their bank balance.
We only see the con man, played with sly suaveness by Ranveer Singh hoodwink four women. The first three episodes where Ricky Behl (yup, that’s his name but we know it only at the end) cons first a bubbly loud Punjabi business family’s fun-loving girl (played with endearing effervescence by Parineeta Chopra), then a uptight hoity-toity business executive (Dipannita Sharma, accomplished) and then simple widow from lucknow (Aditi Sharma, sweet) are cut beautifully, like a well-tailored roomy band-gala sherwani.
Suresh Sharma’s editing moves through Ranveer character’s various escapades with a direct deftness that leaves no room for loose moments. However, a bagginess creeps into the narration in the second-half when Ranveer meets his match (in more ways than one) in Goa. Here, the chemistry is more laboured than luminous.
Though Goa is captured with pristine picturesqueness, the Ranveer-Anushka relationship in the second-half falters due to a lack of inner conviction. Though the writing is smooth textured and layered, the mellow momentum is forfeited once it’s payback time for the con man.
Anushka Sharma’s predictable bubbly-on-the-prowl act here often seems selfconscious and repetitive. Could we please see this bundle of energy do something else? And really, her introductory song is more a homage to Ram Gopal Varma’s “Rangeela” than a panoramic look-see at Anushaka’s character’s heartland.
The songs and choreography are more erotic diversions.
Ranveer Singh gets his act together with great care for details. Each step of his con game is charted carefully with the right physique, body language clothes and accessories. Yup, this actor works hard on getting it right and succeeds. If the highlight in “Band Baajaa Baraat” was the sequence where Ranveer’s character blurted out his love for Anushka, here too Ranveer gets the love-confession sequence just right.
Here’s an interesting actor who matches his enthusiasm level with a compelling quotient of sensitivity .
Fatally, we never know what motivates Ricky Behl. Why does he do what he does? Is he a benign fan of Shah Rukh Khan over-dosing on the “Baazigar” philosophy of fooling women for money?
If the narrative tends to run through a blind alley quite often it also finds its way into a luminous light often enough to make us feel favourably towards the overall products. The locational details and the character-specifications are done with rare care. The three actresses Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma and Dipannati Sharma playing Ricky’s three scorned women slip effortlessly into their roles.
As for Anushka she is a fearless actress, not afraid to let her emotions overrule her makeup. At the end of the film when she dresses up as Santa Claus to smooch Ranveer Singh in shopping mall, there isn’t that same feeling of breathless exhilaration we felt when Ranveer and Anushka kissed in their previous film together.
As far as con capers go, “Ladies Vs Ricky Behl” moves at an engaging pace long enough to qualify as a rom-com which looks and feels right.