Let me start this review with a forewarning. The trailers have already hinted at this, but if you are ignorant enough to venture into a theatre screening Befikre and expected something on the lines of DDLJ and Rab Me Bana Di Jodi, you are bound to get shocked. Director Aditya Chopra has just changed lanes and he is cruising into the fast lane with this romcom starring one of the best actors in B-town, Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, who finally gets her second Hindi movie after Shuddh Desi Romance. Not that I am done with the warnings, let’s go ahead with the review…
What’s it about
Befikre gets into the drive with a breakup actually, of Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra (Vaani Kapoor). An year ago, Dharam, a stand-up comedian from Delhi with an overworked libido, lands in Paris to work in his friend’s club (interestingly called Delhi Belly). While trying to hookup with random girls at a club, he meets Shyra, who in her words is a French girl born to Indian parents. Needless to say they hook up after a song, thus starts a series of French kissing, makeout sessions and dares, on which their relationship is built. However, within a year, their patience runs out with their relationship and they break up. Now on their separate ways, they find it easy to move on but still end up being good friends. But like a dialogue in a Yash Raj film itself, can a boy and girl stay friends especially considering their torrid past? That’s what Befikre is all about.
Though many old school romance purists who have grown up watching DDLJ may not appreciate what Adi does here, I for one, am quite okay with him changing his tracks and make a romcom with modern sensibilities. Befikre could be Aditya Chopra’s breeziest movie ever. The film is replete with light moments, mostly in the first half, and has a tone of a typical Hollywood romcom. Even though the pace slackens in the second half, his tight direction holds things together. The dialogues are witty and chuckleworthy at most times, especially those written for Ranveer. We have seen Ranveer last in a historical movie, and his upcoming film is a period movie as well. So it’s great to see him play his age in a modern day romance. We have started seeing this from his debut Band Baaja Baaraat, that no one can nail the Delhi boy act as brilliantly as he does. He is screamingly hilarious in the scenes where he compares Paris’ monuments to Delhi’s, or when he mimics the actor after whom he is named or in the karaoke bar scene. But his one longing gaze after Shyra tells him that she is accepting a marriage proposal knocked it out of the park for me. And yes, the ladies also get to see his butt in a flash (Speaking of which, the Censors have been quite liberal with Befikre, considering it got away with a U/A despite the numerous kissing, nude and stripping scenes). Vaani Kapoor struggles to match up with Ranveer Singh’s infectious energy in the initial portions, but as the movie progresses, her performance gains more confidence. She scored more in the dramatic portions, and my God, her French and dancing are FAB! Watch out for her moves and her sexual chemistry with Ranveer in the dance-off scene. The songs by Vishal-Shekhar are breezy, and I loved the way how Je T’aime was picturised. The cinematography perfectly captures the essence on romance of Paris, while the background score matches the tone.
While I appreciate that Aditya Chopra wanted to make a hatke movie, I believe at some point he didn’t how to give Dharam and Shyra’s friendship a proper conclusion. So thus the movie falls into the usual trap of clichés in the second half, filled with secondary lovers who are disposable at the right opportunity, a ‘healthy’ BFF and getting in touch with your ‘Indian’ values at the when you are truly in love. After a breezy first half that’s so different from the usual Hindi movies, we expected Aditya Chopra to take a path less travelled in the second half. Instead, these portions are a potpourri of ideas taken from movies like Love Aaj Kal, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, and even their own brand movies, Band Baaja Baaraat and Shuddh Desi Romance. The ‘dare’ portions are seemingly inspired from the the French movie, Love Me If You Dare, Ranveer’s stand-up acts that are inserted in the narrative are so Seinfeld. Even the climax resembles to that of Dustin Hoffman classic, The Graduate, with a dash of Housefull. The director should have kept a tight rein on the tone in the second half. If narrative had been slicker and original, the movie would have deserved more brownie points.
What to do
Befikre might have its flaws, but it still deserves your time thanks to a breezy narrative and fantastic performances by Ranveer and Vaani. Expect something on the lines of DDLJ and you will be disappointed. However, if you have a thing for entertaining romcoms, then Befikre can be that fun date movie for you.
Reviewed by Sreeju Sudhakaran
**** Very good