Befikre: Lust or Lush, the choice is unclear

Film: Befikre

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor

Director: Aditya Chopra

Shot in Paris within a span of 50 days, ‘Befikre’ is meant to be a breezy passion fuelled romcom that was expected to showcase Aditya Chopra’s much vaunted directorial skills after an overly long hiatus. New age Yashraj staples abound here – fancy locations, romantic tripe and contrived dramatic moments referenced from their own factory, form the basis for ‘Purab’ aur ‘Paschim’ romance where one is a true blue version where as the other is a fanciful version of the same thing. Familiar tropes aside, Vaani Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are remarkably clingy when it comes to romancing but the rest of it is markedly eye-liner stuffing.

Dharam Gulati (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra Gill (Vaani Kapoor) meet in Paris and literally jump into a kiss. At the end count they were in Himanshu Malik – Mallika Sherawat territory with around 20 plus kisses to their names. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that kisses are all this film is about. Long and hard they go at it too but it comes interspersed with romcom antics.

A Delhi flirt and a French-born Indian make out in gay Paris. The opening collage of people kissing on the banks of the Seine sets the ball rolling I suppose. Dharam Gulati is a stand-up comic who is so woeful you might have a heart attack just trying to laugh at his jokes. And he is the one invited to Paris to attract Indian customers to a restaurant owned by his friend.

What does that say about Chopra’s impression of videshi Indians? Would they be sold on mediocrity as long as it’s Indian? Well, that question holds true for Chopra’s film too. Given demonetization the market for films here is down to pocket change so film makers like Chopra will be hoping for the Indians abroad to shell out their big notes.

The modern trappings of hollywood romances are visible in the effort to make everything look cool and youthful. The drama comes from immaturity and dares. This couple dare each other to do the most ridiculous stuff. From slapping a French police officer to dancing semi-naked in a library to gate-crashing a stranger’s hotel room.

There’s plenty of repetition and the happening pace may be a blessing of sorts but Chopra’s efforts to marry tradition to modernisms does fall flat. He may not have sought the traditional route but the intent is well underlined.

The writing is pitifully woebegone. The songs don’t leave you yearning for more so it’s mainly up to the performers to lure the audience in. Ranveer Singh’s energy is contagious and Vaani Kapoor’s difference (from the norm) is appreciable but while the spark between them is visible it’s not contagious enough to cause a fire.

The two characters don’t have fleshed –out personas and Ranveer and Vaani can’t do much to make them more than what they are. This one is a sordid affair – unlikely that anyone would remember it for long. Given the size of this disastrous (a budget of around 70 crore) leap of faith, can’t say that Aditya Chopra can stay Befikre for long!

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