Though Aditya Chopra has directed just three films (‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Mohabbatein’ and ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’) in a career spanning more than two decades, he remains one of the most revered Hindi filmmakers of this generation. While his first film is one of the biggest successes in the history of Indian cinema, the other two films have also met with resounding success. And then, he has also lent his expertise as a creative producer and writer on several of the films bankrolled by his company. All the three films he has directed so far were steeped in tradition and culture. Yes each of these films, (especially ‘Mohabbatein’) had a shade of the modern world to it but they were desi at heart. ‘Befikre’, his fourth directorial venture, seems far removed from the world his earlier films were set in and seems to portray the attitude of today’s generation towards love.
Dharam (Ranveer Singh) is a stand-up comedian who arrives in Paris to work in his friend’s bar. He stumbles upon the free-spirited Shyra (Vaani Kapoor), sparks fly between them and they decide to get into a relationship with the sole intention of having fun. They vow never to get serious about each other and promise to stay away from all the complications that a serious relationship brings in. Eventually, they move in together but after a period of being in a no-string-attached relationship and regaling in all the fun and happiness this liaison brought along, they end up parting ways. Soon enough, they patch up and decide to remain friends.
One does not really get to see proper romantic comedies being made in India. The films, which masquerade as romantic comedies, tend to get melodramatic after a point and you wonder what was the point of calling it a comedy when it eventually ends up in moments that involve tears, howling and loud drama. Though ‘Befikre’ gets a little dramatic towards the pre-climax of the second half, Aditya Chopra manages to keep melodrama at bay for most of the film’s duration. That is one of the few redeeming factors about this inanely boring film.
The film has a wafer-thin storyline and in a desperate bid to come across as progressive or modern, gives us two shallow lead protagonists and moments which one has seen in several English romcoms in the past. A decade back, Aditya Chopra had produced ‘Neal N Nikki’, a film which dealt with a similar subject. ‘Befikre’ is a marginally better product and has some fun and engaging moments but they are few and far in between. The numerous kisses, make-out sessions and the candour of the two principal characters fails to camouflage the tenous plot of the film. The slightly unpredictable and fairly well executed climax tries to elevate the film but it is too late by then.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that Ranveer Singh is the soul of the film. The character that he plays seems like a reflection of his hyper active off-screen persona. He does not miss a single beat in his performance and charms his way through your heart effortlessly. Vaani Kapoor delivers an adequately confident performance but her screen presence does not seem as empowering as it did in her debut film. Armaan Ralhan (Shyra’s fiancé) plays a character that seems promising at first but is relegated to being a stereotypical character after a point. The young actor, who was supposed to make his debut as a leading man in the Sanjay Dutt produced ‘Hansmukh Pighal Gaya’, gives a fairly good impression in his first big screen outing. Elisa Bachir Bey is decent as Dharam’s girlfriend. Aru Krishansh Verma does quite well in a brief appearance as Dharam’s friend.
Aditya Chopra writes a script that is too flimsy for one to take it seriously. While his earlier films have been high on drama, he keeps a check on it here and tries his best to give a fun and frothy feel to the narrative. Unfortunately, the terribly weak screenplay does not do justice to the idea he set out with. The dialogues (Aditya Chopra and Sharat Katariya) are quite enjoyable. Kaname Onoyama’s camerawork is one of the biggest assets of the film. The songs (Vishal and Shekhar) are pleasant and fit effortlessly into the narrative. The end credit song (“Khulke Dhulke”) could have been avoided though. The uplifting background score (Mickey McCleary) gels very well with the milieu of the film.
The tagline of ‘Befikre’ reads ‘dare to love.’ How one wishes Aditya Chopra had dared to push the boundaries of the genre by coming up with a more interesting plot and not just resorting to showing abundant physical intimacy between the lead characters to show how progressive the film is. ‘Befikre’ tries too hard to come across as a ‘cool’ film. I am not sure it is a remotely relevant film.