|Befikre (2016) - By Aditya Chopra|
Befikre is romantic comedy written and directed by Aditya Chopra. Produced under the banner of Yash Raj Films, Befikre stars Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor in the lead roles. The film is set in Paris and revolves around a Delhi boy named Dharam who starts a casual romance with a Parisian girl of Indian origin named Shyra. While Shyra is a tourist guide, Dharam makes his living as a standup comedian performing at his friend’s restaurant. Befikre is Aditya Chopra’s first directorial venture since his 2008 film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and his fourth overall. This is Chopra’s first film without Shah Rukh Khan in the lead.
Befikre is exactly what its trailer suggested. It is cheap, shameless, overtly bold, and full of Ranveer Singh, who just doesn’t seem to know when to take it easy. He just can’t help but go over the top perhaps in a bid to mirror his uber-cool off-screen image instead of trying to adapt himself to what the role actually demands (save the two Sanjay Leela Bhansali films he has done). Sometimes it helps take a step back as an actor and allow the character to take over. In the recent times, Ranveer has outperformed all his contemporaries in terms of the box-office success but if he has to become Bollywood’s next superstar then has to learn to channelize his emotions in a non-destructive manner.
|Vaani Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in Befikre|
Befikre keeps shifting from being vulgar and rude to cheap and kitschy. The film opens up with a montage of kisses involving different couples and ends with a slobbery smooch. It is certainly a bit too French for a Bollywood film but that doesn’t necessarily is a bad thing if the film can eventually break free of the clichés. Alas, Befikre thrives on clichés. There is nothing really in Befikre that we haven’t already seen in modern rom-coms from Hollywood. Now, Aditya Chopra directs one film every 7-8 years and so the expectations automatically go up every time he dons the director’s hat. In Befikre, he is completely out of his comfort zone. Perhaps, in an attempt to reinvent himself as a director, he seems to have lost his characteristic poise and mojo.
Befikre - My First Thoughts
The real star of Befikre is Vaani Kapoor (although her cosmetically enhanced new look is a bit of a turn off) who is an absolute treat to watch. She has sent shockwaves not just across Bollywood but the country at large with her bold new avatar. Vaani has certainly come a long way since her previous Bollywood outing Shuddh Desi Romance. Apart from her there is nothing worth mentioning about Befikre except for a rather cheeky supporting act from an unknown actor who bears a striking resemblance to Ranbir Kapoor. The role that the actor plays in the movie may remind some of Kapoor’s turn in Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha. One wonders whether the casting choice was a deliberate one or not.
|A Still from Aditya Chopra's Befikre|
Overall, Befikre has some exciting moments but has nothing new to offer. It is not meant for family viewing but the couples who share a certain level of comfort can certainly go for it. There are a couple of scenes that may annoy some viewers such as the one wherein Ranveer gets to flaunt his bare derriere. With 23 on-screen kisses, Befikre is the boldest Yash Raj film yet. It is absolutely befuddling to see the Pahlaj Nihalani-led Censor Board make such generous exceptions for a film with U/A certificate. Here is how Mr. Nihalani explained it to DNA: “Firstly, there is a difference in the intention and purpose of the kisses in Befikre and the ones you mention in the earlier films (Tamasha, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil). Those earlier kisses were very intimate and sexual in nature, and also shot in lingering close-ups. Here, the kisses are used as signs of affection, warmth and kinship. And they are not shot in close-ups. That makes a helluva difference in terms of impact.” Wonder what he has to say about the kissing sequences in Spectre that he so proudly censored. Befikre can best be described as a cocktail of used-up ideas packaged as a bold, brand new rom-com for the new generation of Hindi film audiences. Unfortunately, Aditya Chopra and team seem to have spent too much time on the outer packaging without bothering much about what’s actually there inside the package.
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