More often than not we as an audience crib about the attempted romantic comedy that turned unnecessarily gooey towards the second half. In essence, we rarely find a true rom-com made in Bollywood. Of course, we love the films irrespective, but Aditya Chopra seems to have been listening. And with Befikre he addresses precisely that. This is the Befikre’s biggest strength and the steepest fall.
Chopra, who had taught romance to most of the ‘90s generation with Dilwale Dulhaniya Leh Jayenge, comes up with a screenplay that deals with love as seen by today’s urban generation. The classical love is out of the window, ‘living in’ is no big deal and neither is that one-night stand, once a topic of great emotional turmoil. To make things more believable, Chopra sets the film in France. There are obvious benefits to a no-strings-attached relationship being set in Europe – Indians might just accept that it’s possible there. Like our lead girl Shyra’s (Vaani Kapoor) mother, played by the Ayesha Raza, says in a key scene in the film, “French hone ka kuch toh faida utha”. Why Ayesha says that is something you need to watch the film for. But whatever leads up the dialogue is pretty entertaining.
Befikre truly sees Aditya Chopra exploring new turfs as a writer and director. Apart from the topic, he also chooses a non-linear narrative to tell his story. He starts with present day, goes back in time, comes back to present day, goes back in time… and if someone is not quite giving the film the attention it needs, he or she might just lose track. Befikre much, I wonder!
To start with, Chopra’s two protagonists look poles apart in personalities. He is a guy from Delhi, she is a French girl born to Indian parents. But as the film progresses you find interesting similarities. Which is what gets them together. There is a streak of insanity and befikre-ness that gets them together. They jump onto the bed and soon move in. Hell breaks loose soon. It is not easy to live with someone.
Befikre deals with multiple ideas – fast moving relationships, the friend-zone etc. And it also breaks stereotypes. So an investment banker could be fun too, apart from being rich.
Chopra’s biggest assets in this journey - Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor, and Sharat Katariya. The inimitable Ranveer bounces like a ball that is charged with endless energy. He is back to playing the ‘Delhi ka launda’ six years after Band Baaja Baaraat, and he nails it with élan. There is this scene early in the film when he hits a club and tries his luck with girls there. His expression on being rejected – priceless. Vaani Kapoor shows incredible spunk. She matches Ranveer, step to step, not just in dance moves but overall performance. A tall ask! She even speaks French. Now I am not a judge of the French accent, but she does sound perfect.
And Sharat Katariya, who co-writes the dialogues for the film! Chopra and Katariya manage to keep the lingo just perfect, only failing when they need to show the lead man actually performing as a stand-up. That’s when you wish they got an actual stand-up writer… one who could write good jokes.
As mentioned right in the beginning, Chopra’s attempt to keep the comedy going is what Befikre’s biggest fall. As he moves towards the final act, Chopra evidently runs out of ideas. And suddenly you see him doing a Sajid Khan. It almost reminded me of Humshakals with people jumping over each other. Err, that’s not funny! Not entertaining. And nowhere does it befit the genre.
Befikre in based on a thin plot, made attractive with interesting characters. Chopra brings in a technical team together that makes the film look good. It has been shot beautifully and edited well. It is a rom-com and hence we all know what the ending would be. It would be stupid to except anything else. Watch if you like the genre, Ranveer, Vaani or just want to have a good time. You still need more reasons to watch? Well, there is at least a spectacular one for Ranveer’s female fan following. Butt, obvious!