(Published in City Express, The New Indian Express, dated 10 December 2011, retrieved from http://expressbuzz.com/entertainment/reviews/ladies-vs-ricky-bahl/341828.html)
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Parineeti Chopra, Aditi Sharma, Dipannita Sharma
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Rating: 3.5 stars
It’s hard to believe there are so many unrelated Sharmas involved in a movie where the lead character’s name changes every few minutes.
We first meet gym instructor Sunny, whose girlfriend Dimple Chadhdha (Parineeti Chopra) is as Delhi girl as Delhi girl gets. And we’re not talking Delhi girl who studies at Welham or Oak Grove, we’re talking Dalli girl whose Papa buys her an Oddy to drive from Aym-bians Mall to Saket City Walk every afternoon. Parineeti plays the mule-in-horse-harness beautifully, with perfect timing for her comic interjections and angry put-downs. She fits so well into the skin of her character, bringing out her quirks without hamming, that it’s hard to believe she’s acting.
Sunny (Ranveer Singh) is a letchable munda who gets away with bringing a drunk Dimple back home. Hell, he even gets the gun-wielding dad to loan him his car for the ride back home, and charms the mother by promising to return the vehicle with as little damage as he did her daughter. Somewhere between pitching plans for a nationwide chain of gyms and hinting at a wedding, Sunny manages to pull off his first con.
Next, Deven (Ranveer Singh) zooms in on Raina (Dipannita Sharma), B.Tech. from IIT, MBA from IIM, corporate upstart and designated office decorator. A fake Husain and a scandal later, Raina is out to get him and win back her job and reputation. Dipannita looks the part, though her accent may be a tad too Anglicised to be credible.
The third story we hear, which chronologically preceded the others is that of Saira Rashid (Aditi Sharma), a young widow from Lucknow who fell into a neat trap laid out by Iqbal Khan (Ranveer Singh). Aditi Sharma, who outdid everyone else in Mausam, where she played the girl-in-love-with-Shahid-Kapur, turns in a natural, contained performance here too.
With his to-die-for physique, Ranveer Singh really only needs to look cool and be the ‘Bloody Kamina’, as the ladies call him as they don’t know his name. But he brings out the shades in the character of Ricky Bahl – yep, that’s his name – quite nicely. He has a mobile face, moderates his expressions, and uses his eyes. Ishika Patel a.k.a. Ishika Desai (Anushka Sharma) essentially has to remain bubbly throughout, and this she does with élan. The last few minutes call for some acting, and the script helps her get through them. Her first few minutes, complete with a forgettable intro song, are rather disastrous, though.
The film may be based on John Tucker Must Die, but it lifts the story out of the high school scenario and makes it a pacy con drama. The only loose end is that it seems implausible that these women should assume the same guy duped them when so little is known about his methodology. For a film that provides a logical explanation for every little possible slip, from a guy leaving in a bike and returning in a car to the girls not approaching the police to the manner in which they track him down, that niggling oversight stands out.
The ending of a movie like this has to choose between corny and ironic, and there will be complaints whichever way it goes. In Ricky Bahl, it’s salvaged from falling flat by sparkling dialogues and good acting.
Verdict: High cinema it isn’t, but entertaining, certainly!