Monday, 30th October 2017

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Rrishi Kapoor is in top form, but Bewakoofiyaan is not

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  • Published 15.03.14

When cash crunch enters through the door, love flies out of the window. When credit card bills loom large, promises of ‘happily ever after’ die a quick death. When the ATM coughs up balance less than what you spend on a coffee date, then your relationship becomes a ticking time bomb. Bewakoofiyaan explores the changing dynamics of love in the time of credit-card consumerism to give us a rom com that sparkles in parts, but lacks the fizz to stay with the viewer beyond its two-hour running time.

Director Nupur Asthana, who gave us the surprisingly fun and funny Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge three years ago, sets her second film in the hustle and bustle of Delhi. But if Vicky Donor and Band Baaja Baaraat brought out the sights and sounds, soul and smells of the Lajpat Nagars and Janakpuris of the capital, Bewakoofiyaan unfolds in the concrete climes of Gurgaon. Here, Mohit Chaddha (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a high-flying executive in an airline company. Mohit’s career gets a fillip with a promotion and he figures that the extra pay packet, new four-wheeler and a just-arrived gold credit card is reason enough to propose to Mayera Sehgal (Sonam Kapoor), his girlfriend of two years.

Even as the couple are happily making plans for the future, they encounter a roadblock — Mayera’s strict dad (Rishi Kapoor), a recently retired government official who believes that his daughter deserves better. Overprotective and old school, V.K. Sehgal pulls up Mohit for almost everything — from his “measly” pay cheque to his “unreliable” private sector job. Unrelenting at first, the dad finally agrees to give the young lovers a chance, putting Mohit on “probation period”, his every breath taken and every move made being scrutinised under a microscope.

It’s the constant run-ins between the two — their bickering at a game of squash to Sehgal pulling bureaucratic strings periodically to check on Mohit — that keep the first hour fun and frothy. But Bewakoofiyaan chooses to introduce a bigger conflict: a downturn in the industry causes Mohit to lose his job. The struggle to maintain his lifestyle and the pressure to keep his girlfriend’s dad from knowing about his unemployed status take a toll on Mohit. The quick casualty? His relationship with Mayera.

Bewakoofiyaan is not only about being stupid in love, but also losing our head often in the game of life. Nupur does well in touching upon the issues that come with the lifestyles we choose — those limited edition Jimmy Choos, the latest iPhone, being the first to try out the new fine-dining place or filling our Facebook timelines with pictures of that exotic and expensive holiday. Even as he gets turned down at every job interview, Mohit continues to live the good life, maxing out his credit card and eventually reaching a situation where he has to turn to his girlfriend for support. Love quickly takes a back seat to ego, driving a wedge in the relationship.

Though it introduces newer layers in the second half, Bewakoofiyaan becomes increasingly laboured. What is essentially a two-line idea gets stretched interminably and the film feels agonisingly long, especially when you can sniff the predictable ending a mile away. The tiffs between the lovers seem childish and so does the dad’s quick transition from Mohit’s harshest critic to his ally in love.

Ayushmann Khurrana, who struck gold with his unconventional debut in Vicky Donor, invests his Mohit with a real look and feel, but can’t rise above the sketchily written role. You do see flashes of the Vicky of Lajpat Nagar now and then, but the one-dimensional Mohit doesn’t allow Ayushmann to breathe life into his character. Sonam Kapoor plays, er, Sonam Kapoor very well. The clothes are fab… the shoes are to kill for, but the acting…well, not much. But yes, those never-ending legs in that sizzling pink bikini make up for it, somewhat. And though they do share a couple of lip-to-lips and a romp on the bed — with clothes on, though! — the chemistry between Ayushmann and Sonam never manages to graduate from cute to crackling.

It’s Rishi Kapoor who makes those two hours worthwhile. Clearly enjoying his second innings in the movies, Ranbir’s dad sinks his teeth into the role of a man who thinks old school, but is mature enough to embrace the new. Whether it’s learning to email with childlike glee or playing videogames with the seriousness of a teen, papa Kapoor is in fine form.

Bewakoofiyaan won’t go down in Bolly history and looks unlikely to rewrite any box-office record. But if you are looking for an uncomplicated and breezy watch this Holi weekend, then it may be worth a trip. Just about.