Bad Boy is good fun, launches very good talents

Amrin and Namashi impress in Bad Boy, coming across as anything but newcomers. Photo: Universal Communications

Rajkumar Santoshi’s sense of humor is unique, akin to the rare comedies of the 1960s and 1970s with their madcap, bordering-on-yet-not slapstick fun that is, however, clean. After Andaz Apna Apna and Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, but minus its big star-attractions, he delivers his third comedy in Bad Boy, a title, he has declared, came from the adjective he uses on his pet dog whenever he misbehaves!

The title suits the hero, Raghu, perfectly. While essentially a good son to his parents (Rajesh Sharma and Madhu Anand Chandhok), he is like an untrained mongrel—reasonably unkempt (!), prone to small acts of rebellion, and a total lazybones, who has never earned a buck in his entire life. He is, however, pampered by his parents and just enjoys a carefree life with his unruly bunch of cronies.

One day, he sees Rituparna (Amrin), a young Bengali girl from a well-to-do family with an eccentric dad (Saswata Chatterjee), who is a quality-control officer in the medical field. Dad is a control freak in such matters, believing in “high standards, high quality” in not just his profession but also personal life. Amrin, unlike Raghu, is an academic topper, who even guides her professors if they cannot solve Math problems!

When the two young ‘uns meet, sparks fly between the opposites. A kind of Roman Holiday situation comes in where Raghu fulfills the wish-list of Rituparna in seemingly small but important-to-her matters like eating street food, deliberately provoking a cop, and other normal or funky activities a strait-jacketed girl like her would like to do. Love blossoms soon, and with it the trouble.

Ek Duuje Ke Liye fashion, but with a twist, an agreement is reached between the “offender” (Raghu) and the “offended” (Ritu’s father), and Raghu takes the challenge head-on. If he wins, he wins the girl. If he loses, he will go out of the girl’s life too. What happens next, as Ritu’s father, in his daughter’s interests, tries to sabotage Raghu’s first attempts to earn an honest living forms the rest of the film.

In the far-more engaging second half, an absconding goon (Johny Lever), an angry doctor (Darshan Jariwala) and a jealous suitor (Ambar Banerjee) are involved, and the laugh factor is temporarily sidelined by an on-screen accident in which Ritu almost loses her life.

But it’s essentially all in a light-hearted vein, with Rituparna’s father as a millennium version of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s recalcitrant Utpal Dutt, also doubling as the film’s narrator. Rajkumar Santoshi’s grip on the screwball, goofy goings-on is to be commended. There are several novel touches that can interest the viewer, like how Raghu lets Rituparna’s family come to know she loves him, or even the talk that convinces a reluctant and revengeful doctor to operate on his arch-enemy’s daughter. These bring a welcome freshness to the otherwise oft-repeated rom-com.

The dialogues are light and lifelike, and Himesh Reshammiya’s music is quite adequate in the film, though again, Punjabi creeps into the lyrics! Raju Singh’s background score is perfect for the subject. Technically undemanding, the film has good camerawork and production values. The intermittent comic frames as gimmicks work and certainly do not jar as when used in such ways in other films.

Santoshi should also be praised for extracting great (for a first film) performances from his two leads. Namashi is effortless and natural, and anything but raw. Amrin has a fetching persona and acts fluidly—and thank heavens for a newbie girl sans accented Hindi or needless skin show!

The supporting cast is perfect, and Rajesh Sharma as the hero’s father is very good. Nandini Chatterjee as the heroine’s mother also sparkles despite a merely adequate role, while Johny Lever, though a bit loud, steals the show. Among the minor characters, a pat for Kenneth Desai as the principal, Ashwin Mushran as the NRI and Divyank Agrawal as his nerdy son, Om.

After a stressful time in the theatres that followed Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar, this one’s a genuine—and tremendous—relief, and it is doubly welcome to see a new pair, and that includes a star-son, in a comedy.

Rating: ***1/2

Inbox Pictures’ Bad Boy Produced by: Sajid Qureshi & Anjum Qureshi  Directed by: Rajkumar Santoshi  Written by: Sanjeev & Ranjit Kapoor Music: Himesh Reshammiya  Starring: Namashi Chakraborty, Amrin, Rajesh Sharma, Saswata Chatterjee, Johny Lever, Darshan Jariwala, Madhu Anand Chandhok, Divyank Agrawal, Nandini Chatterjee, Kurush Deboo, Amarjeet Shah, Ambar Banerjee, Ashwin Mushran, Sudhir S. Dayma, Asp. App.: Mithun Chakraborty & others         



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here