Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl, Ranveer Singh

<Review by: Tushar A Amin>

Directed by Maneesh Sharma. Starring Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Dipannita Sharma, Aditi Sharma, Parineeti Chopra.

A dumbed down rom-con caper made enjoyable by the ‘ladies’ rather than the lead-pair. Not as good as Band Baaja Baaraat but non-offensive all the same.

Yash Raj’s run forgettable, middling fares continues with their latest rom-com/con flick Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl (LVRB). Neither impressive nor offensive, this is a tailor-made value meal that entertains while it lasts but leaves no marks (or scars, for that matter).

As the title suggests, this is an uncomplicated story of three ‘ladies’ – Delhi brat Dimple Chaddha (Parineeti Chopra), Mumbai go-getter Raina Parulekar (Dipannita Sharma) and chikankari-and-grace Lucknow widow Saira Rashid (Aditi Sharma) – coming together to extract revenge on con-artist Ricky Bahl (Ranveer Singh).

The first half of LVRB is an engaging watch as the three girls are conned off huge chunks of money by the slick and glib Ricky in different guises. The characterisations of the three victims and Ranveer Singh’s bratty charm make up for the lack of originality in conceiving the con jobs. At the intermission point, the three ladies join forces and it is payback time. They enlist the help of feisty and charming salesgirl Ishika Desai (Anushka Sharma) to entrap Ricky who is fishing for his next victim in Goa. Interesting characters, a few LOL lines… so far, so good. However, it is in the second half that the proceedings become predictable as the film slackens in pace. Ranveer becomes a mere by-stander (or eye-candy, if you will) as the ‘it’ girl takes over. Anushka looks ravishing but the fire is somehow missing. With the film already heading for a climax, the Band Baaja Baaraat (BBB) leading pair has very little time to amp their chemistry. The relationship between the two is rushed up as the film hurtles to its logical conclusion. While you expect some twists and turn, the only twist at the climax is predictable and unsatisfying.

Expectations are high with the Band Baaja Baaraat team of producer (also story writer in this case) Aditya Chopra, director Maneesh Sharma, writer Habib Faisal (dialogue) and the on-off couple Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma coming together for a second outing with LVRB. And as expected, there is an (intentional or unintentional) inclination to follow-up on the spunky, electric flavour of the first collaboration. On that count, LVRB misses the mark. But where it scores big time is in the ‘ladies’ department. It is Priyanka Chopra’s chirpy, vivacious cousin Parineeti who puts in a spirited performance in her debut outing and makes a big impression. With Habib Faisal’s lines and a no-holds barred confidence, Parineeti brings the Delhi gal to life. Dipannita Sharma looks a bit jaded but pitches in an adequate performance as the metropolitan yuppie with an I-get-things-done attitude. Aditi Sharma plays the subdued, shy small-town girl with the same conviction she displayed in Mausam. She has a likeable presence and counterpoints Parineeti’s brashness with her graceful charm.

Ranveer Singh oozes confidence yet again, but the writing restricts his scope. On the brighter side, he does get ample scope to show-off his chiseled, bronzed body. Anushka has a wider canvas to showcase her histrionics. In fact, she actually gets a full-on Bollywood style introduction song/sequence, a long-held privilege of Bollywood’s male superstars. But with Parineeti’s character getting the kind of lines that made Anushka’s BBB character so likeable, Anushka’s character seems detached and under-written. She dazzles in the looks department and shows Bollywood babes how to carry a bikini, anorexia comments be damned. On the performance front, Anushka puts in sincere efforts and carries off different emotions with ease. However, the lack of proper character definition is limiting. Especially when we are expecting a fiery, sparkling, spunky display of histrionic fireworks between her and Ranveer.

Being a Yash Raj film, the cinematography, art design and production design are up to the mark as expected. The writing is spot on when it comes to character nuances but seems quite dumbed-down from a con caper perspective. And that is the only complaint that one can level against this film. It fails to take a con caper to the next level. Disappointing, because the hugely talented team behind LVRB could easily have achieved that if they had set their minds to it.

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