Virgin Bhanupriya Movie Review: Puerile comedy that fails to score
Ajay Lohan’s film, starring Urvashi Rautela as a virgin college-goer, is shoddy and insensitive
By and large, Hindi adult comedies fall under two categories. There are the bawdy innuendo-fests exemplified by the Masti-Kyaa Kool Hain Hum films. And there’s the Ayushmann Khurrana variant, considerably tame works that carry a message and can be viewed with the family. Once in a while, though, comes a film that tries to merge both. Virgin Bhanupriya, out on ZEE5, is neither coarsely funny nor insightful about its female protagonist. Shoddy and insensitive, it sets a benchmark for the kind of puerile junk that gets dumped on OTT.
Cast: Urvashi Rautela, Gautam Gulati, Rumana Molla, Archana Puran Singh
Streaming on: ZEE5
Bhanupriya (Urvashi Rautela), a college student, is yet to do the deed. Her best friend (Rumana Molla) is always egging her on: a headache for Bhanu, who has quaint ideas of love and does not want to rush into things. When an astrologer indicates she will never reap the pleasures of sex, Bhanu decides to ramp things up. Several bad dates and a Goa sojourn later, her luck seems to turn — only to collapse in a heap of grief.
It’s rare for a Hindi film to put female sexuality at its centre. Virginity, for the most part, is held up as a character-affirming virtue in our movies. It’s a bane for our heroes; the heroines are better off preserving themselves for ‘the one’. By flipping this concept, Virgin Bhanupriya appears to lift the stigma around female desire. It doesn’t work, however, as the film sidelines the sexual awakening of its protagonist in favour of cringy puns and gags.
Director Ajay Lohan’s script gets increasingly problematic. There’s a fat joke every ten minutes. Bhanu is advised to ‘rape’ her way to sex. There’s a bizarre sequence where she forces herself on a guy, followed by the guy trying to incapacitate her with booze. When he fails, he insults her and leaves (the film is somehow convinced this is both romantic and funny, with a squeaky background score to diffuse the mood).
Urvashi, in a geeky hairdo and specs, does little else than look flummoxed and smile. It’s a departure from her erotic appearances in the past, though the film throws in a jarring seduction number near the start. The great Archana Puran Singh stays funny while making racist jokes or teaching her daughter to cuss. Her sidelong, disapproving stares reminded me of her turn in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, and how infrequently she’s cast in our movies. The more entertaining cameo, however, belongs to Brijendra Kala, as a cop who walks off with his prize. In a film full of abrupt letdowns, he’s the only one to get lucky.