Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl

Actors: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Dipannita Sharma, Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma
Genre: Comedy
Rating: 2.5/5

LVRB is a series of con-stories with same con-man targeting a new lady-target each time consummated by a sabak sikhao aandolan as the title alludes to, designed by the victimized lady-folk. This, is the plot written by Devika Bhagat.

PERFORMANCES:
Ranveer Singh’s entry scene elicited just one whistle in the theater I was watching the film in. Doesn’t say a lot about his fan base, but he’s getting there. Ranveer Singh plays more than one character, and does enough to differentiate one from the other in our head. He appeared more comfortable in front of the camera now as compared to his debut Band Baaja Baraat. Not to forget, he does have a stronger screen presence, and his improved physique definitely helps add to it. Anushka Sharma as Ishika, plays a salesgirl, and also a pseudo target deployed by ladies already put-upon by Ricky. Anushka as Ishika is only as impressive, and this performance of hers is second-rate, in comparison to her earlier performances. This may be due to Ishika stepping in late into the story, after the interval. If I were to make a suggestion to make her presence felt better on-screen, apart from scripting Ishika better, I’d say Anushka could use a few extra pounds.

Parineeti Chopra as the vivacious Delhiite Dimple Chaddha is brilliant. With her snide remarks, blurting out silly, her emotional silences all provide a glimpse into the range of her emotions she can offer, and how soon she is able to convincingly switch from one to the other. In this film though, she can take significant credit as the comic relief. She’s also the better dancer among the other girls, second only to Anushka. Dipannita Sharma as Raina, delivers an average performance as the snooty corporate type. All one would remember of her after the film is her model-like catwalk. Aditi Sharma as Saira is remindful of characters she has played in earlier films (Eg. Black and White). As a conservativeLucknowi Musilm widow, Aditi fits the Saira’s character to a T. After Parineeti’s character, Aditi’s character is interesting in how it blossoms and helps add more depth to an otherwise shallow scenes.

DIRECTION:
Director Maneesh Sharma cleary had a winner in his debut directorial venture Band Baaja Baaraat, and the plot had a big role to play. LVRB falls short because of a plot spread thin, and possibly due to Maneeh’s inability to extract better performances from the actors. While Ranveer, Anushka and Parineeti have good body language, good diction and good body language, it feels like there was room for more and could have shouldered an otherwise loose screenplay. There are many script-based flaws that are a collective fault of Director Maneesh, Screenwriter Devika Bhagat, and Editor Suresh Sharma. Eg. Dimple’s father paying Sunny Singh a token amount of Rs. 20Lakh to buy out Sunny’s alleged property (without any background check); and Sunny initially reluctant to sell changing his mind within seconds (!) #2. Self confessed corporate smarty pants Raina making a payment of Rs. 60Lakh to a gallery owner without any due diligence, and making it all happen over phone (!) #3. Dimple randomly calling up Raina when she’s on TV for the painting sale fraud (?!). Most viewers probably won’t digest that siphoning money off the shrewd can be so easy.  The good part about Maneesh’s work though, is that he has managed to add an element of mystery to each story making the viewer extrapolate in their heads how the episode could unfold.

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Decent work by Aseem Mishra and Ravi K. Chandran helps add glamour to the film, whose characters are all in their youth. Locales of Delhi suburbs, bazaars of Lucknow, Goan beaches have been shot well and add credibility to various con stories. While it sounds logical that there must be a montage to chronicle rapid passage of time in a con-artist’s life, it’s too quick or too light, in the form of ‘Aadat se majboor‘. Also, the montage shows Ranveer being a waiter, a chef, a stylist, a rocker, and the Editor knows who else, and is somewhat dubious in how a person could master so many professions and art forms.

The music of the film is by Salim-Sulaiman and surprisingly is boring at best. The song videos are untimely, and except the initial Aadat se Majboor, the tunes are forgettable. Background music by the same duo helps add life to scenes, and improving their entertainment value – specially Sunny Singh-Dimple episode, that is funnier than the rest.

Why 2.5/5:
The good: Somewhat good performances by Ranveer, Anushka and Parineeti. Each con-story is different from the other. Length of the major episodes adequately managed. Good cinematography. One time watch overall.

The bad: Performances could be better. There could be more depth in each episode. Contrived story-telling, especially on how a con-man can swindle funds so easily and from multiple people. Salim-Sulaiman’s sub-par music composition.

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