By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Befikre”; Director: Aditya Chopra; Cast: Ranveer Singh, Vani Kapoor, Akarsh Khurana, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Julie Ordon; Rating: **1/2
“Befikre” is like old wine in a new bottle. A familiar story of friendship, love and realisation, a tried and tested premise that is predictable with the same landmark points or milestones that fulfil the dramatic quotient. Only the setting is different, in this case – Paris. And this plays a major part in contributing to the uninhibited lives of its characters.
The film begins on a dramatic note, with Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vani Kapoor) fighting. In the heat of the moment Dharam calls Shyra a “French Slut,” who has not spared any French guy. Insulted and furious, Shyra walks out of her live-in relationship, back to her parents house.
Narrated in a non-linear format, the plot encapsulates three years of the protagonists’ lives, which reveal how Dharam, a stand-up comedian from Delhi, met Shyra Gill, an equally free spirited girl, on his first day out in Paris and how their, dare-to-live attitude binds them.
While every love story is based on the premise that the couple care a damn for society and are carefree, here the characters lead or at least pretend to lead a carefree life till realization dawns on them that they are inseparable.
As a love story this works at a mundane level and the treatment, in keeping with the times, is racy and perfunctory. The humour seems forced. Every scene is a nugget or a chapter that is juxtaposed with the past and present, a seemingly lazy method of screenplay. The characters too are poorly crafted, they are one-dimensional.
The dialogues by Sharat Katariya are taut, racy and bluntly witty and are smoothly mouthed by the cast.
On the performance front, the actors live up to their reputation. Ranveer Singh is charismatic and charming with his abundant energy; he plays Dharam with conviction, but unfortunately appears stereotypical.
Vani Kapoor is competent as the “Psycho Chick” and she matches Ranveer in energy and histrionics. Her performance reasonates with the right attitude that makes her stand out. In fact she sways the audience with her impressive dance moves.
Armaan Ralhan, O P Ralhan’s grandson, in an unstated but impressive performance, makes his presence felt as Aneya, the investment banker who is supposed to marry Shyra. Akarsh Khurana and Ayesha Raza Mishra as Shyra’s restauranteur parents are restrained with their limited screen presence.
The first half of the film has its moments of exaltation, but the second half, though racy, gets predictable and drags in parts. The chaotic climax that takes place at the wedding altar accompanied with a loud screechy background score, does not add any chutzpah to the narrative.
The songs are beautifully choreographed, but they punctuate the narrative rather oddly.
Visually the film is all gloss and Cinematographer Kaname Onoyama’s frames are good. In fact his aerial-sweeping shots are rather impressive.
If only Aditya Chopra was not bogged down with the business of filmmaking and instead made a romantic film in a carefree manner from the bottom of his heart, his latest missive would have been a different tale to tell.
Overall, “Befikre” captures the “pagalpan and bachpana” that is the madness and childishness of its protagonists in a cliched and not classic manner.