Badmaash Company is too slick for its own good

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      Starring Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. In Hindi with English subtitles. Rated PG.

      Badmaash Company is another slickly packaged young-adult entertainment about India’s restless new generation bent on wanting the whole nine yards by hook or crook. But this Yash Raj Films production is too much candy floss and lacks the heart and soul of their similarly themed 2009 release Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year.

      Watch the trailer for Badmaash Company

      Restless middle-class Mumbai lad Karan (Shahid Kapoor) wants to forgo MBA studies, much to the chagrin of his workaholic father, so that he can realize his dream of becoming rich and famous. This leads to a big confrontation between the son and father, who is adamant that get-rich-quick business schemes are morally and ethically corrupt.

      By the time Karan is kicked out of the house for refusing to live by the old man’s rules, he is already in knee-deep in the ways of making money without the 9-to-5 tie-down.

      He’s hooked up with like-minded free spirits—the spunky wanna-be model Bulbul (Anushka Sharma), former car washer Chandu (Vir Das), and urbanite Chinese-Indian Zing (Meiyang Chang)—who go to work smuggling high-end goods into India.

      They graduate to even murkier schemes like mortgage fraud after their initial success of importing only right-foot Reebok shoes (a blatant corporate tie-in), rejecting them, and then buying them back at government auctions (and doing the same thing with only left-foot shoes) comes to an end.

      The young cast is game but actor turned writer-director Parmeet Sethi lacks execution for his under-developed, gimmicky tale about how there are no short cuts to business success, only a prison sentence for getting rich from borderline criminal schemes. The actors are smothered by endless montages of their characters executing the same scheme again and again, initially in India and then in the U.S. But without well developed characters and a strong plot, the film suffers from too much hipness and not enough heart.