Befikre Review: Lots Of Sparkle, But Not Enough Substance

Ranveer Singh is stripped down to his boxer briefs in the opening scene of writer-director Aditya Chopra’s attempt at a contemporary love story. Later on watch out for a fleeting glimpse of Singh’s backside. Could this be the first time an Indian star’s derriere has made an onscreen appearance?

But back to the story! Singh is Dharam, a Delhi boy who has made his fortunes and home in Paris as a stand up comic (figure that one out). In the aforementioned scene, Dharam is screaming at his girlfriend Shyra (Vaani Kapoor) who is packing up and moving out of their home after a failed live-in relationship. Shyra is of Indian descent but a French girl by birth and works as a tour guide in Paris. Flashbacks tell us what brought Dharam and Shyra to the point of being so hateful, and then the narrative progresses to showing how what started with lust can end in love if a the bond of friendship is formed in between.

There are no spoilers here because this is a Bollywood film steered by Aditya Chopra, so it’s eventually going to conform to the tried and tested where the central couple have to unite. Chopra never manages to navigate his story out of shallow waters. So we just see lots of partying, indiscriminate sex in public and privates places, lots of fashionable clothes, some drama and histrionics all set against the backdrop of Paris. The biggest dilemma these people face is realising they love each other and overcoming commitment-phobia. So after showing a great deal of daring doing embarrassing things all over Paris, they finally find the courage to declare their true feelings for each other. The result is a slapstick climax with lots of Indian, French and random other people beating each other up.

Operating somewhere between an American rom-com, French farce and a Bollywood film, Befikre is as much a travel promotional for Paris as Aditya Chopra’s desperate attempt to find a connection with younger audiences. Vaani Kapoor works hard on her limited and irritating too-cool-for-school character, who is all strong and bold till she falls in love and then needs the man to do solve her problems. It helps that the reliable Ranveer Singh in all his bronzed, shaved and cutesy glory is at the top. Chopra does not manage to make the emotion feel real. Being carefree is not enough to string along a two-hour movie, unless it comes with some emotional heft too.

Rating: **

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