Movie Review: 'Befikre'
Opened: 9 December 2016
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor, Armaan Ralhan
Director: Aditya Chopra
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Aditya Chopra’s Befikre is one hell of a disappointment. There. I said it. It goes the whole hog in a desperate attempt to shock with its brazen, IDGAF attitude to sex and relationships, but falls woefully short of whatever little expectations one had of it in the first place. Unsurprisingly, it’s also Chopra’s weakest film to date, with little originality that borrows heavily from previous Yash Raj works, and despite both its leads trying their level best to infuse life into its proceedings, the end result is nothing short of a bore.
In Befikre, a fresh off the boat Dehl-ite Dharam (Ranveer Singh), lands in the city of love armed with nothing but his wit (he’s a stand up comic) and unending testosterone, and here he crosses paths with Parisian tour guide, Shyra (Vaani Kapoor), and their hook up ends up leading to more than just a casual fling. Their differences come to the fore though, and they end up breaking up, only to then pursue a friendship which culminates in an alarmingly clichéd climax which you can sniff a mile off.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with predictability. Most rom-coms often go down the beaten track but rely heavily on chemistry, genuine substance and feeling to see them through, and while Befikre’s leads ignite the requisite fire, the latter elements are sorely missing, which subsequently, results in an incredibly pretty but hollow and soulless film.
Inevitably, it is left up to Singh to lift the film from its cumbersome predictability, which he does, as always, to great effect, but there are moments where you wish his energy had been reigned in, especially in the second half, so that one could empathise a tad with his cad of a character. In fact there are times, when you root for newcomer Armaan Ralhan’s Anay to get the girl – I mean, what not to like about him? He’s handsome, successful and charming, until Chopra’ flips that character arc, rather conveniently, on its head, to justify Shyra making the choice she ultimately makes in the end. It’s something of a blunder, because the earlier scenes where he’s cosying up to Shyra, are some of the film’s better, understated moments, which have always been Chopra’s forte.
Surprisingly, the film's other lead, Kapoor isn’t the film’s weakest link as she was expected to be either. Agreed, she still has a long long way before she finds herself in the big league, but to her credit, she delivers a few scenes well and she dances like a dream.
Apart from its leads, Vishal-Shekhar’s chart-busting numbers keep the film’s momentum going and whenever you’re bored there’s always the backdrop of Paris which has been shot oh-so-lovingly, but there’s only so much eye watering frames and enticing music will do to keep you engaged for a film’s entire run time.
To sum up, one can see where Chopra was trying to go with Befikre. Granted that in this day and age, love is fickle, meaningless and shallow, and inevitably, as a society we’re always looking for the next best thing, but the least he could have done was to infuse some genuine heart into the film, irrespective of all the cynicism that surrounds it. It was a brave move, that backfires because as an audience, perhaps unfairly, we expected better from the man that gave us one of the best love stories of all time. As such. I’m going with two stars out of five for Befikre. It has stripping, sex and snogging, but, unfortunately, little else to rescue it from the depths of mediocrity.