One suspects that Aditya Chopra (credited for the Story once again), Commander-in-Chief of YRF, may have written a bunch of half-baked concepts and story ideas after the overwhelming success of DDLJ. His creative heads must have then categorized these stories under a bunch of categories - complete with color labeling, filing and marking - and deposited them in the YRF 'Brainbank' under the VIP section. One of those categories may have read 'Desi Con Job'’ or 'Love Heists' with a whole bunch of reference DVDs like Ocean’s Eleven, 12 and 13 for further "styling tips', Catch Me If You Can, Matchstick Men, The Italian Job and many more. The stories in this category involved well-known YRF con-jobs like Bunty Aur Babli, Bachna Ae Haseeno and even Bluffmaster (which got displaced, obviously). After tasting moderate success with eager second-time directors and first-time writers (all with immense promise and potential) with these heist scripts, Chopra decided to - in a span of two delusional years - green light daft projects like Badmaash Company and Luv Ka The End (YRF Youth) with debutant directors, no less. Didn’t exactly work out. Hence, he goes back to one of his favorite YRF-commissioned directors and asks him to put things right once and for all - make the MOTHER of all con-job films.
Maneesh Sharma, punch-drunk from the success of his delightful first charmer Band Baaja Baaraat, may have misinterpreted the man’s words - because he decided to combine the salvageable elements of all these previous YRF attempts, take them up a notch by involving the sassy writer combination of Devika Bhagat and Habib Faisal (Screenplay and Dialogue, respectively), mix it with the tried and tested Dilli-flavored formula of BBB, and use the hottest heartthrob - his own discovery - in the form of Ranveer Singh as the ultimate conman. Surely, Abhishek Bachchan and Shahid Kapoor could learn a thing or two then, right?
Ladies v/s Ricky Bahl is a great example of a typically Indian perspective of this particular genre of filmmaking - logical loopholes the size of Ranveer’s biceps can be forgiven if stylized enough and flashes of intelligence appear momentarily to remind the audience that they’re watching a smart film: one that they’re not meant to second-guess. And finally, there is NO law or annoying little elements like cops, crime branches and courts. Fair enough, because Hell has no wrath like a woman scorned. All you need is a small little world inhabited by brunette flussies who decide to turn on their 'lightbulb' switch in the second half - enough to be able to pull an elaborately-planned job on their own. How weren’t they smart enough earlier? Never mind.
Why didn’t Ranveer (Sunny in his first con of delightfully crass Delhi kudi Dimple Chaddha) just make away with the 20-lakh Land Rover offered by her Daddy instead of pulling off a painful property scam that instantly nullifies the significance of Khosla ka Ghosla? Never mind.
Why didn’t the three jilted women just lead the cops to Goa after discovering Bluffmaster Ranveer there, considering his was a high profile case that dominated news channels for days? Never you mind.
Are the girls daft enough to lower themselves to the school level 'cons' of the girls of Luv Ka The End, and then get conned twice over, by the SAME man? Oh, stop it. Never mind.
How will the film take off and charm us into the no-holds-barred world of Ricky Bahl if we’re so concerned about logic, anyway? Or atleast that’s what the writers seem to be wondering, after being handed over the red-taped story of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl by Aditya Chopra himself. There’s only so much they could do, and Habib Faisal tries his very best to even distract us from the cotton-and-fluff idea with his pitch-perfect rendition of Delhi girl Dimple Chaddha (played effortlessly by a glowing Parineeta Chopra) and Lucknow dame Saira Rashid (a supremely talented Aditi Sharma in another Devika Bhagat script). Dipannita is back, after a long layoff, as corporate dimwit Raina Parulkar, and almost doesn’t pull it off. Sadly, she does.
You have to give it to YRF, though, for consistently going all-out to achieve technical consistency (production design, locations and costumes) and leaving no stone unturned to make sure that if they’re going to do something even as undercooked as this, they will do it in inimitable style. Also, we’re willing to overlook the blatantly stolen theme (that appears in Goa once the…women are on top) - The Santa Esmereralda version of Please don’t let me be understood (snow duel in Kill Bill Vol. 1).
Maneesh Sharma directs his actors well, but seems to be unnecessarily spellbound by the now-overcooked pair of Ranveer and Anushka, who fail to recreate the magic of their first film together, with Ranveer clearly auditioning and rehearsing for bigger things. His next project, not coincidentally, is called Lootera directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, the boy wonder behind Udaan. Yes, it is a heist love story. Just saying.
Anushka Sharma must now work hard to exit her own shadow - one that she has so expertly created over the last few years, for danger of being stereotyped, and maybe return to her roots…a Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, maybe?
Actually, never mind.
- Reel Reptile