Befikre review: A clumsy, predictable take on romance
Aditya Chopra's Befikre doesn't offer the carefree ride it promises; it is a clumsy, predictable and shallow take on romance.
Well, you can call it the evolution of Bollywood cinema or its steep fall in aesthetics and artistic sensibility.
Years ago, a terrible film starring Mallika Sherawat was in the news for its steamy 'kiss' scenes.
Today, the most respectable film production house in India comes out with a film and it makes headlines for its '40 kisses,' endorsed by none other than the Censor Board Chief, who otherwise runs around with scissors cutting away everything that negates the 'Indian values.'
Befikre, produced by Yash Raj Films and directed by Aditya Chopra, the so-called master of romance, gets the censor chief's blessings, who says that kisses in France are fine. Looks like shock value has officially given way to smooch value!
There are kisses galore in Befikre no doubt but if only it had risen above its mediocrity.
What we get is a muddled, weakly-written film that makes you cringe in the seat for its silliness and predictability.
At some point, the lady Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) tells the forever carefree guy Dharam (Ranveer Singh) that though he came to France, his Karol Bagh mindset hasn't left him.
The same can be said about the film. While fully shot in Paris, the film has the sensibility of a pedestrian Bollywood flick of the 80s.
This is not misplaced anger: The film tries your patience as it cuts back and forth into the relationship of Shyra and Dharam.
While the latter is typically frivolous, all the while chasing skirts, the other has matured after her share of casual flings. The two try it out living together, much to the shock of her parents, but it doesn't work.
They are out in the open, then try to be friends, and Shyra decides to get married to the 'right guy,' the predicable twist happens.
All could have been forgiven but for the climax - a free-for-all; you can only watch in shock how bad the proceedings are. If Aditya Chopra thought young audiences are going to say 'aww' to his final piece of sermon on love and romance, trust me, it is misplaced hope.
The trouble is that Aditya Chopra tries to be cool and new-gen, and the film 'so' isn't. It is a wannabe that tries hard to be like the 'carefree' youth, and just doesn't get it that people are not this plastic.
Ranveer Singh is way too loud, his aggression taking a toll on you, as you watch him 'over-act', and only presenting a semblance of the excellent actor that he is, in very few scenes. Vaani offers the relief really; she essays her role - Shyra's confusions - with deft control.
But you never feel a thing for either because the script, lines and proceedings are utterly mundane and seen-before.
'I won't spare you if I die' is what the couple says repeatedly, even as they jump off a cliff. For once, you dread the moment the two come up to the surface. Seldom would one wish the lead pair of a romantic saga to just get away from the screen and never bother you again.
Befikre is not carefree; it is a warning to stay clear, and perhaps palatable to those who find eye-candy shots of stripped heroes and heroines worth their while. What a dubious way to sell films and yet play the saint!
Directed by Aditya Chopra
Starring: Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor
Now playing at theatres in the UAE