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Kisi ka boy, kisi ki girl. Nepotism rocks! – Beyond Bollywood

Mithun Chakraborty’s son Namashi, producer Sajid Qureshi’s daughter Amrin have a forgettable debut.

Rating: 1 / 5

By Mayur Lookhar

Why single out star kids when we have lived in a society where children have often emulated their parents. Engineer’s son becomes an engineer. Doctor’s daughter, too, is likely to follow her father/mother. An actor’s son/daughter trying to emulate their father/mother is no crime. For long, one has toed this line but in 2023, you’d be trolled for subscribing to this ‘succession’ thinking’.

To be fair to the star kids, they are under more pressure these days when they decide to emulate their starry father/mother or parents. However, unlike the first-time ‘outsiders’, they get great backing, marketing and PR. Yes, the hype will be there but star kids ought to come well prepared and be gracious enough to embrace constructive criticism.

This Friday, legendary actor Mithun Chakraborty’s younger son Namashi makes his Bollywood debut. His big brother Mimoh had tried his luck earlier without much success. Not quite like Namashi, but Mimoh, too, had received his fair share of backing from the industry. Namashi isn’t the lone debutant in director Rajkumar Santoshi’s Bad Boy [2023]. It also marks the debut of producer Sajid Qureshi’s daughter Amrin.

It’s almost a tradition that two insiders ought to make their debut with a rom-com. Bad Boy is also the maiden film of writer Sanjeev, with Santoshi loyalist Ranjith Kapoor sharing the writing credits.

Boy meets girl, falls in love. Ah, that doesn’t even need a mention. The genesis of this story though emanates from the girl’s father. Shubhankar Banerjee [Saswata Chatterjee] is the local district Deputy Secretary. Here’s a man who flaunts the sarkari ego, and designation on his car number plate. He’s incorruptible though, a no-nonsense guy who religiously believes in ‘high quality, high standard’ in all aspects of life. The film opens with Banerjee landing up at a city/district hospital. He senses that doctor Desai [Darshan Jariwala] is a little drunk. The doctor pleads that he was pulled out from his daughter’s engagement to do an emergency operation. If Banerjee reports to the authorities, then not only does he risk suspension, but he fears that it could jeopardise his daughter’s wedding too. Whoa! We wonder how? The ruthless Banerjee though doesn’t care. Neither does Saswata who hams all the way.

Next scene, we’re taken to the palatial Banerjee bungalow where our hero is introduced. Banerjee scolds at the passing lot celebrating Holi. Our hero throws a balloon, tomato and poor Bannerjee even has an egg on his face. Remarkably, even after the film is over, we’re still not clear which region is this film set in? The much later mention of Kalighat suggests that it could be Bengal. Leave aside the region, the conflict here is a cliched one.

Raghu [Namashi] is the unemployed son of the local scrap dealer [played by Rajesh Sharma]. He falls in love with Rituparna Banerjee [Amrin]. What follows next is the usual economic, social conflict. At the half way mark, Bad Boy reeks of the done-to-death challenge where the boy agrees [ in writing here] the ‘prove-your-worth’ demands of the girl’s father. Maine Pyar Kiya hangover. The rest is simply history.

Is this trope still saleable, especially to the youth in 2023?  Phew, you’d be hard pressed to find a few takers even among the masses. 

It’s not the cliched story, but the sheer bad quality, the bad standard of filmmaking that never hooks you to Santoshi’s Bad Boy. The tough thing here for a reviewer is to not pinpoint the cons, but we’re struggling to name even one positive aspect about the film.

Namashi [pronounced as Namoshi] fits the bill in terms of the physical requirement.  A film that subtly condemns classism, it ought to have a hero who is like any ordinary middle-class guy. Namashi looks every bit like a Raghu. There is a sentimental value in being Mithun Chakraborty’s son. Like his illustrious father, he even sports the curly hair, but cricket fans will see shades of all-rounder Axar Patel in Namashi. Namashi’s brother Mimoh has had his struggles but at least big brother can dance. Undercooked would be an understatement here. Save for the impoverished look, you are really wondering what is it that Namashi brings to the table? We’re afraid the answer would be equivalent to Aryabhata’s creation.

Sadly, the same goes for young Amrin. Santoshi is a veteran who understood the limitation of the talent at his disposal – rather the lack of it.  He limits Ritu’s dialogues. We’re never for overrated glamour, but any artiste ought to have some screen presence. Ritu is portrayed as the girl who scored 996 out of 1000 in entrance examination. Yet, she has a bookworm’s personality. India, the IT nation would gleefully accept a nerd. Sadly, Amrin doesn’t even strike you as a nerd. The only thing noticeable about Amrin is that while donning some western attire, fancy hairdo, she looks like a distant cousin of Kiara Advani.

The disappointing efforts of the leads will naturally lead to talk of privilege. After all that hype, there is virtually no substance to Amrin and Namashi. Fortunately for the duo, they aren’t the worst thing about the film. The wooden spoon here to goes to a junior artiste who pops up as a pansy college bully who stalks Ritu. His every sentence ends with an effeminate ‘ooh’. Is the film mocking KJO?

Veteran actor Johnny Lever is drafted into the second half in a desperate bid to save the film. As always, the popular actor rings in comedy more with his antics, than any genuine humor. He does evoke few guffaws, but that was never going to be enough to save this sinking ship.

A weak story, screenplay and weak leads. Bad Boy had its task cut out from the beginning. Age has perhaps caught up with Santoshi, who has given some memorable films in the past.  For all the big talk, Santoshi’s clearly taken this project more out of consideration than true passion. Bad Boy is the name and the film lives up to the ‘bad’ billing. We get to see bad acting from all. There’s bad writing, direction. It is perhaps the baddest music by Himesh Reshammiya. In Shubhankar’s parlance, Bad Boy is simply bad quality and sets bad standards of cinema. Man, keeping in with that spirit, we don’t mind one labelling this as a bad review.

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