Enjoying, entertaining careless romantic comedy.
When a romantic movie associated with Yash Raj Films Banner hits the silver screen, one has reasonable expectations from such a product – sizzling chemistry between lead pair, foot-tapping and melodious musical score, sentimental drama and high production values. And when a reclusive director like Aditya Chopra writes, directs and produces it, expectations only soar higher given his highly successful and entertaining directorial record (DDLJ, Mohabbatein and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi). The presence of the current superstar and teen heartthrob Ranveer Singh and his non-stop serial kissing with co-star Vaani Kapoor (who has come a long way from her Shuddh Desi Romance days), as evident from the teaser trailers of the movie, only set the bar higher. Does the movie justify the hype that has preceded it? Does the fresh pairing of Ranveer and Vaani set the screen on fire? Does the movie espouse the carefree nature of love in entirety, as the eponymous title suggests or does it make way for conservative wisdom? Lets try to find the answers to these questions.
Dharam (Ranveer), a desi guy from our very own Karolbagh Delhi lands in Paris, a city well-known for its romantic aura, to work as a stand-up comedian in his friend’s night-club and while scouring the city in a bid to achieve some female intimacy, chances upon the carefree Shyra (Vaani), a French girl of Indian origin who has just been out of a break-up and is not looking for any new attachments. Dharam’s innate honesty and goofy demeanour goads her into spending some crazy time with him, that includes their mutual fascination of challenging each other to a series of “dares”, that are a mixture of quirky and gutsy. This narrative thread is also interspersed with the happenings in their life post their breakup and the screen cards shown to depict the flash-forwards and flashbacks are bound to bring back memories of that lovely treatise on unrequited love “500 Days of Summer”. Will Dharam and Shyra shed their commitment-phobic vibes and unite with each other or will they remain forever committed to the idea of being non-commital? The rest of the plot is devoted to finding the answer to this question.
Ranveer Singh sinks his teeth in a role tailor-made for him, a role demanding immense energy, restrained angst and goofball attitude. When he boasts of the prowess of a Delhi guy in displaying daring, while being weak in the matters of the heart, or when he dances effortlessly and skillfully in tandem with Vaani, or when he just flaunts his well-sculpted abs, the female audience is bound to go weak in the knees. Vaani Kapoor, in a completely carefree avatar, balances Ranveer’s machismo and aggression with her cool demeanor and devil-may-care attitude. Her no-holds-barred performance is sure to bring the house down and she performs quite competently in the emotional scenes as well. The supporting cast does not have much scope except Shyra’s Banker Fiance, who is caught up in a real bad case of inconsistent characterization appearing to be a mature guy all the while only to turn into a guy possesed in the climax, and her hotelier parents, who are completely helpless with regards to the decisions their impulsive daughter makes and the repercussions that she has to endure, yet try to impart their wisdom in subtle ways.
Despite all the positives that work for the movie like the lead pair performances, the numerous passionate kissing sequences, some foot-tapping numbers like Nashe Si Chadh Gayi and Ude Dil Befikre, the delectable Parisian ambience well captured by the cinematographer’s roving eye, and the feisty and funny dialogues co-written by Chopra with Sharat Katariya (Writer-Director of Dum Laga Ke Haisha), the movie is unable to rise above the average entertainer due to its weak second half. While Ranveer and Vaani deliver a promising first half, the proceedings after the intermission meander aimlessly at times with the writers trying to find a suitable and unconventional conclusion to the story. Its hard not to compare this story with that of Shuddh Desi Romance, with the underlying themes of commitment-phobia, live-in relationships and carefree attitude. While the latter had a satisfying and uncompromising conclusion, Befikre tries to balance the outcome of the tale equally on the scales of tradition and modernism leading to a not-so-satisfactory ending. Also the marriage scene before the climax suddenly places the movie in Priyadarshan Territory and a better resolution could be thought of. On the other hand, the dance medley sequence between Ranveer and Vaani is sure to drive an adrenaline rush and is worth the price of the admission ticket. And Dharam and Shyra’s strong carefree personalities are bound to make the audience root for them despite the predictability in the climax, as we all thrive for that sprinkling of “befikri” in our own lives. There is not much novelty in the wisdom it espouses via Dharam’s stand-up comedy acts as well, but if you are looking for some stylish bollywood weekend entertainment with dashes of oomph and chutzpah, you should watch this. As for yours truly, I now know that if I do happen to visit Paris I would no longer be able to affix a love-lock on the Pont Des Arts and throw the key in the Seine River anymore