Written & Directed by: Parmeet Sethi
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Meiyang Chang, Vir Das, Jameel Khan
Badmaash Company is directed by Parmeet Sethi, a well known character artist in the Hindi and Punjabi film industry. This is his debut as a director. It is produced by Yash Raj films, which is one of the biggest production houses in India, with Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma playing the lead roles. Going by the title and the trailer, one expects a good film about con men. However, the movie ends up being just an average entertainer.
The story is set in 1994, and is about three fresh out of college friends: Karan (Kapoor), the leader of the pack who we are told is a topper in both academics and athletics; Zing (Chang), an alcoholic; and Chandu (Das), a womanizer, the latter two being just average students. All of them, in order to make a quick buck, help Ansari (Jameel Khan) in smuggling fashionable clothes in from Bangkok. During their first trip to Bangkok, they meet Bulbul (Sharma) who wants to be a model, but who also wants to make a quick buck and works with/helps Ansari in smuggling goods into India. Ansari runs a store which sells smuggled goods from Bangkok and other places around the world. During their trip, Bulbul and the three friends hit it off big time, and become thick friends.
[ad#longpost]Once back from their “successful trip,” Karan wants to start his own business, as he does not want to end up as his dad (Anupam Kher), who had been working in a private firm all his life with limited time for family. However, his dad believes in righteousness and is against Karan’s idea of starting a business, wanting him instead to pursue a career in management. During one of the meetings with Ansari, Karan finds a unique way to dupe the Indian Customs and smuggle in Reebok Shoes into India without paying the import tax (120%). He gets the initial investment from his Uncle Jazz (Pavan Malhotra) who is well settled abroad and is not on good terms with Karan’s dad. He manages to convince his three friends to become his partners and they start their own company – “Friends And Company,” which imports shoes from Bangkok and then through a system loop hole avoids the huge import duty and sells them to Ansari.
Meanwhile, Karan’s dad gets a whiff of this and throws him out of the house as it’s very much against his ideologies. He also warns Karan, urging him not to misuse his intelligence. Karan moves in with Bulbul and in a matter of time the four friends strike gold. They become a huge company making excellent profits until the Finance minister cuts down the huge duty being levied on imported goods (it gets cut down from 120% to 20%). This ends as a major setback to his company, as they would have no more profits which they were earning due to the “unique idea” of avoiding the huge duty.
Karan comes up with another idea of going abroad (to USA) and continuing the same business. He gets there with the help of his Uncle Jazz, who is unaware of the conâ€“company being run by Karan. Once again, they use the technique of smuggling in the goods, but this time, they modify their plan to cheat their customers as well of a huge sum. As they earn more money, Karan’s ego builds up and it also beings to affect the relationship between him and Bulbul and his friends. Misunderstandings crop up among Chandu and Zing, Karan’s lust for money increases by the day, and the four of them get deeper and deeper into criminal world by cheating banks and other companies, which results in cops looking out for this fraudulent company. Do the police get hold of them and bring them to justice? Do they pay for the misdeeds they’ve been doing? What happens to the four friends and their friendship forms the main portion of the climax.
The story is logical and moves at a brisk pace till the point they reach then USA then the story somehow manages to lose its fizz and logic. The way they manage to dupe banks and customers in the USA is something the script writers should have thought out in more detail. Again, the climax is something which one can appreciate if and ONLY if one does not think about it logically, as certain things shown appear really silly on-screen. On the positive side, the story moves at a brisk pace in the first half, and then it slightly drags at places before hitting the extended climax.
The songs are okay, with two standout tracks–“Jingle, Jingle” and “Fakira”–but still they appear to be one too many. The background score is pretty good, however, and adds to the tempo of the film. The direction is excellent, and Parmeet manages to extract good performances from almost everyone involved. Shahid does exceedingly well and does complete justice to his character. His transformation from a just out of college, fun-loving guy to the egoistic, money-hungry, high-headed Karan is well enacted, but we still get to see “the Shah Rukh Khan Hangover” in places. Anushka acts and emotes well and does justice to her character of Bulbul. Meiyang plays his part well, and Vir Das as the womanizer is a revelation. He plays his part exceedingly well and leaves an impact in most of his scenes, while Anupam Kher, Jameel, and Pavan do complete justice to their roles in their limited screen time. The cinematography and camera work is top notch.
All said and done, the movie has its share of moments and “con-ideas” which are well depicted, but it just about manages to give logic a skip in the second half, which is kind of off-putting given the logical, excellent first half. As a result, it ends up being just about an average “entertainer” instead of being an “excellent con-flick.”