If one takes up the list of the biggest blockbusters in Bollywood, then one name which will figure prominently in the top is "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge". So much so, it is still running in Maratha Mandir for close to 1100 weeks. Now the man behind this timeless romance saga which established SRK as the King of Romance is Aditya Chopra. The reclusive director & chairman of Yash Raj films, have done just 3 films in the past two decades, all of which had raked in the moolah. So when Adi announced his latest venture "Befikre", the expectations were pretty high which seemed justified after all the songs & trailers had captured innumerable number of eyeballs. So can Adi be befekir as to whether this matches his previous releases???
Dharam (Ranver Singh) is a quintessential Delhi guy who had moved over to Paris to work in his buddy's club as a stand up comedian. He meets up with Shyra (Vani Kapoor), who was brought up in France after her parents had migrated into the country as chefs. The duo hit off famously with their no holds barred attitude as neither of them were keen on a commitment. In due time, they break up but continued to remain friends which is when they started to realize the importance of the other. Though both of them get into other relationships, it didnt quite have the same vibe that the two shared. But will they risk getting back together & if so, is it possible???
Aditya's credentials as a film maker is well documented, so I guess there is no point in harping about it. But the question is, was he able to regain his touch after such a long hiatus??? The answer is an emphatic No, as his script neither offers anything new that we haven't seen nor does the treatment engrosses us. It seemed like the mish mash of several movies that we had seen over the years & true to Yash Raj movies, it is shot in beautiful locales with the characters making constant references to their desi roots, All the technical aspects deserves browny points be it the visuals which were exquisite thanks to Kaname Onoyama or the smashing choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant. Vishal Shekhar's music was foot thumping stuff along with Mikey McCleary's BGM which was in sync with the mood of the movie.
In one of the recent interviews, Adi had mentioned that he had written the script keeping Ranveer in mind & wouldnt have made the movie if the latter had refused. Anywaz I have to admit that Ranveer was an apt choice for the character as his unbridled energy & crazy attitude which even goes to the extent of showing his bare ass, carries the movie inspite of the weak script. Vani Kapoor who was last seen on the big screen more than four years back in "Shhudh Desi Romance" was full of spunk & fire. However even though the two indulge in a kissing spree & makes out with gay abandon, they just didnt have any smoking chemistry between them. As for the rest of the cast, though they didnt have much to do all of them have done a decent job.
Verdict: The catchy trailer & brand value of Adi, will ensure a commendable opening in the multiplex. But with the script so mediocre & hardly anything happening, apart from the innumerable kisses, the number of footfalls will drastically decrease in the coming days. In short, watch the thrilling Mumbai Test match befikre but not this movie!!!
Befikre, by Aditya Chopra, is a romantic comedy. Befikre is one side of Indian Cinema which actually wants to convey that gone are those days of love and romance which had commitment from either parties, and used to be intense. Befikre wants us to believe that in today’s world, relationships are absolutely loveless, devoid of soul, driven by lust and fear of commitment. Carefree irresponsible approach is the way to live relationships. But is it actually true? Why should we as an audience even believe this when there are enough stories around us which convey beautiful sides of love, commitment and passion. I was even wondering while watching the film that does Befikre even care about love, life and relationships. Every emotion has been handled at such a superficial level.
The strange part of the screenplay is that every major action by the protagonists of the film is driven by ‘I dare you’ phrase. And when this ‘dare’ is given, the person can go to any extent to accept the challenge, be it slapping a traffic cop, walking into a party hall in just an underwear, dancing on a library table along with skin show, romancing in car by roadside, just jumping to bed etc. And to add to my dismay, they were able to get away from everything. Falling in and out of love seemed so ‘befikre’ and easy. The first one of this type of film of befikre love in Yash Raj Films’ banner was with Neal and Nikki. We have seen these again and again after that. What was the effort of Aditya Chopra through this film? Was he targeting today’s youth? Hasn’t he misunderstood the youths ?
The two protagonists of the film are Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor). Dharam is a Delhi boy, who reaches Paris for his work as stand-up comedian in an Indian Club. Shyra is a French girl of Indian origin, who is a travel guide and takes tourists around to show them Paris. Dharam and Shyra meet and there begins a reckless and irresponsible journey of lust, weirdly funny activities, singing, dancing, kissing, break-up, reconnecting as friend, going on double-dates etc. None of these scenes have emotions in the right place, doesn’t touch the hearts. I could not connect with the film.
Ranveer has lot of energy in him and his character Dharam displays it too, rather overplays it. Vaani Kapoor as Shyra is confident, walks with her head straight, but her body language is stiff, except during an impromptu dance sequence.
Paris has been beautifully captured. Soundtracks by Vishal-Shekhar are peppy, especially ‘Ude dil Befikre…’ sung by Benny Dayal.
Befikre adopts a complete carefree approach towards love, life and relationships. It doesn’t care about lust, smooches, weirdness dominating the relationships.
Aditya Chopra has issues with understanding love and relationships. He first started throwing up his ideas in 1995, and it took him close to two decades to finally get the people to understand that his interpretations are awfully wrong. Clearly evident in this ritzy romance drama.
Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) is a young, carefree, and promiscuous French woman born to Indian restaurateurs while Dharam (Ranveer Singh) is a comedian from Delhi who has final-stage satyriasis. They bump into each other at a rave party in Paris and immediately indulge in wham bam thank you ma'am. Dharam hopes that he can maybe start scoring, starting from Shyra, but is internally crestfallen to learn that the fun they had the previous night was just a one-time thingummy for Shyra, a professional travel guide who moonlights as garcon at her parents' rotisserie. The 2-hour game-play between these youngsters misrepresented as today's youth is what the film is essentially about.
Viewers are ushered into the film with a montage of various couples kissing and groping each other in the beautiful locales of France. As we move further in the non-linear story-line, Singh comes in as this joker, summoned by his Indian friend to add elan to the latter's comedy club-cum-cafe. But, we mostly see him as a nudist trying to get it on with Shyra, who has terrible taste in fashion, considering her nationality. The story-line tries too hard to showcase the youngsters' mentality when it comes to romance in the free world, but forgets to take all aspects into consideration. If the first half is foreplay followed by carnal knowledge, the second half is post-coital clean up, which is both gross and non-pleasurable.
Dating in the 21st century is everything NOT like one sees in Befikre. Instead, the film is a personal diary of director Chopra who chose to market it as something about no-strings-attached relationships. There is, however, some humor in the drama, contributed mainly by Singh. Albeit, there are too many improbable situations here, which makes the whole shindig slightly unbelievable for the viewers. Dharam shares an apartment with two homosexual women, while Shyra observes licentiousness while living with her parents. Convenience looks good in a store, not in a film. So much, that it flip flops from one idea to another, and often churns out dialogues pinpointing certain stereotypes and gives out critiques which do not pass muster. Today's youth are impulsive, which is not a novel thing about them, but writer Chopra thinks of it as a paradigm shift as we move ahead in life.
With very less background data about the protagonists, the film largely engages in differentiating them as Dilliwala and Pariswali, as if trying to tell that the film may not be universally relevant. Which is true to some extent. The makers also try to bridge the gap between how romance is perceived in India and elsewhere in the West, but falls through, because there is no consideration of the complexities and stigmas that come with it. They fail to realize that casual relationships are not just practiced in Paris and New York, but also in Connaught Place and South Bombay. Also, I'm surprised how the Indian CBFC even cleared the film for the morally-virgin Indian consumers.
Sort of a reverse primer for marriages, the film can most relevantly be described as the less faithful version of Karan Johar's exaggerated snooze-fest, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016). While that took a distorted look at relationships, this one here take the on-off approach. It refutes its own claims of how romantic relationships nowadays are - proclaiming that they are fleeting at one point, and then describing it as a bond at another. All in all, it blows its chances at depicting how hook- ups affect people's lives, because while love takes the backseat, lust hops in to take care of the wheel.
Singh marginally steals the limelight with his stronger performance, while Kapoor is let down by her costume and a weird air. Their mannerisms may be a reason to ignite vanity, but their glossy performances fail to ante up the narrative. For a moment, one may even think that the actors are starring in a ridiculously long advertisement by the France tourism board, but then chuck that thought because a French ad would have more French in it than Hindi.
Of course, there are some minor takeaways from the film, which I am leaving alone for your individual capabilities to grapple. Nonetheless, there is one dialog from Shyra's parents that Chopra gets right: "These days parents don't bring up their children, it's the other way around." Don't get excited, because even this is spoken in Hindi.
BOTTOM LINE: Aditya Copra's fourth film, "Befikre" is like a fancy boutique situated in a romantic city. It sells everything from horseplay to foreplay, targeted at the YOLO generation and endorsed by good-looking people. However, by the time you fill your cart with one or two good pieces and go to the counter to check out, you take a glimpse at the backside storeroom, and repulse in fear because you realize you have been duped by men and women who want to set bad examples. Skip for life, or use as a travel guide when you visit Paris.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? NO