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Befikre Is The Worst Yash Raj Film Ever

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor

Directed by: Aditya Chopra

Rating: [wp-review id=””]

Remember Neil & Nikki, the plotless story of a couple played by Aditya Chopra’s brother and Kajol’s sister, who couldn’t keep their hands off one another?

Befikre, Aditya Chopra’s new bizarrely subverted  directorial undertaking, reminds us ofNeil & Nikki and not in a nice way. As in that forgotten Yash Raj film, Befikre relies almost wholly on the carnal chemistry between the  couple for the non-existent  plot to move forward.

Not that the narrative is going anywhere. The storytelling is stiff and over-cute. Erotic chemistry is here squished all over the smeared-up plot like a burger with too much ketchup on it. The basic ingredient, namely love in the times of Parisian hedonism,is squandered in the quest of a film that looks and feels like a party.

But where is the music that our souls can dance to? Befikre is  a loveless love-story? The protagonists way too much in love with themselves and particular part of themselves, to reach out tenderly into the night.

It’s a frighteningly puerile premise, not rescued from drudgery  by the Parisian setting. Delhi’s Karol Bagh boy Dharam(Ranveer Singh) meets Paris ki chokri Shyra. From the outset this couple is made for each other, and not in any good way. They both seem to think that a lack of genuine seriousness in matters of relationships and commitment is a sign of  emotional  growth and cultural development .

This is the kind of film where the girl swigs beer out of a bottle and dances drunkenly on table tops.

Sadly the destitute destiny of Dharam and Shyra’s togetherness is determined by a director who has this time, decided to go with the flow with ferocious single mindedness, AdityaChopra repudiates all  the values attached to love marriage and cultural  hegemony in his earlier films Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Rab Ne Banadi Jodi, with a naughty erotic spin that seems as woefully misplaced  ill-timed and awkward.

This time  Ranveer Singh’s  notorious energy level is in serious need of restrain. He is all  over the place in Paris,as though Bittu in Band Baaja Baaraat is a bull on heat  in a Parisian China Shop.He thinks with  his penis most of the time. The film—and Ranveer’s character—hungers for sobriety.Instead it  gets more than two hours of backfootedbacchanalia, as though Paris is synonymous with hedonism, as though every couple  on the streets is fully into PDA(the censor board seems to have fallen asleep while watching the smooching spree),as though Aditya Chopra has just discovered the pleasures of the flesh in a revealing flash.

It’s all too flighty flirty and fitful to seem like a makeover for the director. Very often I felt Chopra was living out the fantasy life of no-strings-attached free sex that he couldn’t possibly live out himself. Befikre is wish-fufilment at the lowest level. Its description of a lustful liaison never goes beyond the crotch level to define the man-woman relationship in modern times. Both Shyra and Dharam are too unlikeable to endear themselves to the audience. Their hands-on self-gratification gets the narrative nowhere that we would like to go.

Yes, some of Paris is shot with splendid visual authenticity. But that’s the least one expects when there is a Paris-based cinematographer Kaname Onoyama on board.Onoyama gets Paris into his protagonists’ DNA. But Aditya Chopra is unable to get the boisterous over-sexed Punjabi out of them.Both Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor act out their love scenes with a gusto bordering on primitive ecstasy replicating the enthusiasm of canines on heat. But there is no sublimity in  their souls, no   music in their movements even when they dance like a dream in the climactic wedding-fiasco episode.

The mess in the Church wedding is so embarrassing I felt sorry for the director . What  sad place for the illustrious Chopra legacy to rest its libido.

It’s not really the two actors’ fault, really. We’ve seen Singh do much better in SanjayBhansli’s film.And for all we know, there might be a decent actress under Vaani Kapoor’s imperturbable exterior. But for now, this is all there is to it.A turgid non-musical drama which moves in the opposite direction to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land.

Where is the gentle touch and the tenderness in the relationship between Dharam andShyra? They are too busy kissing to feel anything beyond the lips. I can see Raj and Simranshaking their heads in disbelief. Sure, they had sex too. But not while we all watched. This voyeuristic version  of romance in forbidden places is  about a boy who can’t keep it in his pants and a girl who thinks stripping to her bra is cool.

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