“Mohabbaton ke zamaane guzar gaye janaab, ab chhote mote pyar se hi kaam chalaa leejiye aap,” quoted Shah Rukh Khan in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, which sums up the kind of love stories we have been witnessing in our films, of late. Films like ‘Saathiya’ seem to have died a natural death and films like ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ or ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’ seem archaic. Romance-Comedy films, i.e. Rom-coms like Hum Tum did resonate with the youth and films like Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail or Ae Dil Hai Mushkil were almost there, but goofed it all up in the second half.
So what’s wrong with our filmmakers that they aren’t able to crack the Rom-Com code? While Ae Dil Hai Mushkil revisited its ‘pyaar dosti hai’ cliché and ended up lulling its audience to sleep, Befikre treads the path of shock value, much to the chagrin of the viewers, who rolled their eyes and wondered – Is this couple for real? Blame it on the ‘mohabbaton ke zamaane guzar gaye janaab’ catastrophe that SRK warned us about.
Aditya Chopra, in his series of letters on Befikre, wrote: What kind of film would I make if I was 23 today? I don’t think I would have made DDLJ because the experiences and influences of that 23-year-old would be very different to today’s 23-year-old guy. Today, if Raj tells Simran that I’ll take you only when Bauji gives your hand to me, Simran would turn around and say, “Dude, I’m going, when you patch up with my dad, come and find me and we’ll take it from there.”
The world has changed. Definitions of love have changed. More importantly, women have changed. Today they are equal to men in every possible way. This truly has changed the rules of love forever. Who asks whom out first? Who says I love you first? Do we say I love you at all? Who breaks up first?”
Well, Aditya Chopra abandons his comfort zone here and tries incubating a specie different from his progeny of DDLJ, Mohabbatein and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. ‘Befikre’ ambitiously shoots up throwing caution to the winds with its kissathons, only to end up on a no man’s land of Rom-Coms – neither romance nor comedy.
Did that sound like some epitaph on Befikre’s grave? Apologies. Now here’s the brighter side: Befikre isn’t that bad a film it has been made out to be. Ask someone who has braved through ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ watching that bald dance and you’ll know what I mean. In all honesty, the only reason to watch Befikre is Ranveer Singh.
The actor owns every frame he appears in and trust me, he is there almost in every scene. He plays the character of Dharam sans any sharam, if you ponder over his blink-and-you-miss derriere flashing scene. The only scenes he falters are where he does the standup comedian act, which are complete washout.
Vaani Kapoor as Shyra is a complete disappointment. One can’t help wonder what she has done with herself after wowing the audience in her last outing, ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ with Sushant Singh Rajput. Vaani Kapoor appears pale and underfed all throughout, including a bikini scene, which in a way, is her version of blink-and-you-miss derriere flashing scene. Not that she is a bad actor, but she isn’t good either. She comes across as some Rimi Sen or Manjari Fadnis kind of actors, who despite the good looks, fail to leave a mark with their screen presence.
This is where Ranveer Singh benefits from, and literally steals the show. There’s an interesting cameo, and this time, not featuring any popular actor, but even this character of an investment banker loses its steam towards the film’s end. Befikre does break every cliché of Rom-Coms, but in the same vein, it doesn’t break any grounds either.
Now comes the colossal query: To kya karu, film dekhu ya nahin? By all means, watch it but don’t expect any Rohit Shetty kind of humour or Joharesque musings on pyaar or dosti, and dare you expect a Mani Rathnam romance. And before you look forward to some ‘ishq aur mohabbat’, may I remind you SRK’s words: “Mohabbaton ke zamaane gujar gaye janaab, ab chhote mote pyar se hi kaam chalaa leejiye aap” So go and watch Befikre, by being completely Befikre.
– Prakash Gowda