He calls her ‘maa’, she calls him ‘havas ka poojari’. Dharam (Ranveer Singh) and Shyra’s (Vaani Kapoor) romance in Aditya Chopra’s Befikre breaks most stereotypes set by the genre. Opening with a break-up scene, the film quickly brings forth the quirkiness of these characters taking you on a back and forth journey that chronicles the sequence of events leading to the present day where the ex-lovers have now become awkward friends. Befikre’s French setting is perfect to explore this bohemian idea of a no-strings-attached love story that takes a predictable yet delightful turn in the second half. Befikre is Aditya Chopra’s breeziest film. The dialogues are sharp, the wit and the humour engaging. The lens playfully flirts with the iconic Parisian landscape. Despite the eye-catching distractions, the film manages to stay true to its genre as an entertaining romantic comedy— a genre our filmmakers haven’t been able to get right.
Befikre is the reinvention of Aditya Chopra. If Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi proved that true love doesn’t need validation or acceptance through a gimmick, Befikre explores the grey shades between friendship and love and the complexities that arise when they overlap. Adi manages to weave a contemporary love story and lace it with layers of old school romance. The setting might be Paris, but there are shades of that Delhiwala pyaar in many scenes. There is ample reference to his own work — that ‘palat’ scene with Vaani or her heartfelt chat with her mother at the kitchen counter, the epic dance-off between the lovers — Adi has his signature stamp all over Befikre.
Ranveer Singh’s Dharam is a welcome break and return to form for the actor who’s dabbled with some heavy duty roles in the last few years. What is endearing about Ranveer’s performance is the fact that he manages to make you empathise and feel for his character. His best moments are scenes where he uses his gaze or silence to portray Dharam’s heartbreak and inability to stay true to his emotions. He flashes more than his butt. Ranveer’s emotional striptease has more appeal than his physical dare-to-bare act. Vaani is a revelation in the second half and she wonderfully balances and brings composure to her odd pairing with Ranveer. Who knew she was a great dancer? Dharam and Shyra’s banter and realistic take on how crossing the thin line between friends to lovers can be destructive echoes a universal sentiment. Befikre has ample light-hearted moments and the dialogues sound like everyday conversations— “Abhi break up huh hai, so no phone calls please”.
Issues start creeping in as the film inches towards a climax that doesn’t necessarily spring a surprise. Dharam and Shyra’s change of heart, their realisation of how they feel for each other and that fear of taking it to the next level seems rushed. What felt organic and natural in the first half feels a bit superficial in the second. The dares get repetitive and you lose interest when the scene oddly breaks into a song sequence to portray a character’s state of mind. Befikre’s climax is a risk and it partially pays off. To end the film with slapstick set against the backdrop of a wedding scene is hardly an original idea. What you miss post interval is the freshness and candid honesty of Dharam and Shyra who seem to be muffled under the heavy weight of filmy expectations.
What to do
Befikre proves that Aditya Chopra is a master storyteller when it comes to love stories. Watch it for Ranveer’s easiest and most natural performance. A true romcom the film won’t disappoint fans of the genre.