Indian film industry has witnessed a massive change over the years. From the ’80s when Bollywood was stuck in a rut of cliched plots, over-the-top dialogues and kitschy overkill, we have reached a stage today where both the niche and the mainstream have an audience with a happy place in-between, which is inhabited by cinema that entertains without compromising on its quality or its message.
Another reason why cinema transformed over the decades is because its audience changed. Post-liberalisation and internet boom, a cut-price Bollywood copy of a Hollywood (make it Korean, French or Chinese as the case be) hit was out of the question. The audience was hungering for stories which were their on and told on a scale that was larger than life. So while TV with its snivelling saas and bahu is still going around in circles, trying to find its metier, Bollywood has surged ahead in many aspects. It is not afraid to experiment and try subjects that are braver. May be this is the space a film like Befikre, directed by Aditya Chopra and starring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor, is trying to occupy.
It comes from the director whose most famous work is and will remain Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. As far as benchmarks go, it will be hard to go beyond this iconic film which redefined romance for the ’90s India.
He made Mohabbatein and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi after DDLJ. And now, after eight years, he is back with Befikre. The film is said to be an experiment with a new cast, doing away with old formulas. Of course, the filmmaker may be going through his own worries and dilemma before the public finally gave a verdict. However, for a film which is bravely trying to bring the romance between a young man and woman out in the open without any inhibitions, it suffers from certain issues.
The film Befikre is about being yourself and not caring about what the society or the ever-present, ever-watching ‘others’ have to say about you. The two characters played by Vaani Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are like any bunch of youngsters who are independent, confident and thinking individuals. That means any young people in India. So, if the the concept is so relatable, why did Aditya have to base it in Paris? Because if people in Paris started caring about society, it would have been called India instead!
Dharam and Shyra (characters of Ranveer and Vaani, respectively) are just like any of us who hide their true side from their parents and unleash their real self where they fear nobody. We can’t talk about Vaani since it’s her second film in Bollywood but if we look at Ranveer’s career graph, though there is no doubt about his potential, his energy can become his own enemy at times. His infectious energy can make or break things and what can be a better example than Kill Dill, which he did after Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram Leela.
We also have to agree that his choices of films have been unpredictable which is good and bad in its own way. So, it is not just you Aditya Chopra but even Ranveer Singh also has a lot to prove. Would he be able to stand still with his newfound stardom after Bajirao Mastani? We shall know that by the weekend.
The actors have constantly spoken about Befikre having Indian roots but at the end of the day, in the times when relationships do not last longer than an year for most of us, we find solace in forever kind of love, which is only there in films. Would we find that in Befikre?
And lastly, given that India’s family audience shy away from PDA in films, will they flock to this film which has got a lot of fame (or notoreity?) based purely on the number of kisses in it and its striptease scenes. Now, that is a question only Friday can answer.