Posts Tagged ‘ Akarsh Khurana ’

Befikre

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Befikre
Release date: December 9, 2016
Directed by: Aditya Chopra
Cast: Ranveer Singh, Vaani Kapoor, Akarsh Khurana, Ayesha Raza, Armaan Ralhan

Yashraj’s common tropes of using a European destination for chastising the underlying, now sexual, then romantic, experiments of the Indian protagonists; invoking elaborately choreographed dance-offs to ease out tensions in love stories, or making the lovers acknowledge their actual sentiments for each other; and clinging on to straws of traditionalism, while reaching out to the new, morally and culturally progressive; they all find a place in Befikre. In the middle of these cliff notes, there is some humor, much anguish, and an underhanded indie rom-com like “carefree” approach to deliver a film without a hokey antagonist.

The film opens with the much-talked Labon Ka Kaarobaar where innumerable hetero couples kiss, there’s diversity in the kissers’ colors, shapes, and sizes, but not in sexual orientations. Every thing is picture-perfect straight, and then Dharam (Ranveer Singh) lands in Paris, and his flatmates are two very attractive gay women. Dharam being the virile, sex-crazed lad, vividly imagines himself in a threesome with them, winking at the viewers and himself. Could this point to a desi-retelling of a forgotten American Pie sequel, or perhaps something more real that actually turns out an intriguing character study? Sadly, neither.

He gets out to ‘party’ on his first day itself. Even with his well-formed biceps, tailored denims that grip his butt perfectly, and a healthy hairline, he faces rejection. This scene was empowering to watch in particular. More like a soothing Aditya Chopra petting our heads in wistful consolation. Springs in Shyra (Vaani Kapoor), the local, who knows the bars and the city in-and-out. They hook-up over a “dare”, a plot device that’s conveniently brought up again and again to help the protagonists in making bad decisions and some memories for their characters.

Gradually, they decide to live-in together, and mutually pledge that they won’t become the conservative husband and wife, nor do things that conventional lovers do. It is this oath that keeps resurfacing whenever they are consumed with the thought of confronting their feelings for the other. It’s frustrating to watch them see past versions of their younger selves, popping up with a song and dance in French, and yet, commendable, at the commitment to the tomfoolery and the showmanship. If this film had fifteen more minutes of ditty-dancing, it’d qualify as a full-blown musical.

For the lack of any real friends, Dharam and Shyra confide in his professional, cough boring cough, comedy routine and her aloo paraanthe. There’s the usual aggrandizement of grandeur in the way of beach vacations, holiday sea cruises, cosmetic perfection, except for the little black bush of hair in Ranveer Singh’s armpits, leaving hardly any scope for any frame to appear slightly sad, or even melancholic. But can we really blame them for this plastic manufacturing?

Aditya Chopra serves us what he thinks we would like to dish up, at the fag end of the year, in the throes of soft kisses and extremely mellifluous music, a film that is not particularly hollow, just like the millennials that are his target audience and the film’s primary characters. If it weren’t for their superhuman dancing finesse, the baffling excesses, and that mess of a Priyadarshan film-like climax sequence, Befikre could have passed off as a decently watchable experience. A balance that Imtiaz Ali has mastered, Aditya Chopra flounders with this time around.

My rating: ** (2 out of 5)

David

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David
Release date: February 1, 2012
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vikram, Vinay Virmani, Tabu, Isha Sharvani, Nasser, Shweta Pandit, Sheetal Menon, Monica Dogra, Milind Soman, Saurabh Shukla, Akarsh Khurana, Satish Kaushik, Vinod Sherawat, Rohini Hattangadi, Nishan

David is a film set around three disjoint lives with the same name, i.e. David. Spanning across three different timelines and environments. London in 1975, Bombay in 1999 and Goa in 2010, the name is retained along with fluid, gripping and entertaining character storylines.

Neil Nitin Mukesh’s David is based in London during the ’70’s. Ghani (Akarsh Khurana) is a hardcore Muslim extremist with an influential clout. David is Ghani’s  son-like protege, who has been with him ever since he was a little boy. David’s spent his entire life learning Ghani’s ways and as a part of his family. Noor (Monica Dogra) is David’s love interest and there’s binding chemistry between them. Soon there’s a bounty on the warlord’s head and there are some consequential decisions to be made.

Vinay Virmani is the David from Bombay, in the year 1999. He is a struggling guitarist-cum-vocalist who’s quite the young rebel with his taunts and small jabs aimed at his father Pastor Noel (Nasser) and his preaching ways. Sheetal Menon and Shweta Pandit play their roles as David’s sisters and provide for a balancing foil between the two male horizons of the family. Noel helps out the poor and oppressed of his locality, and eventually falls prey to a Hindu right wing political party’s manipulative tactics.

Vikram is the third David of this line and he’s situated in Goa in the year 2010. He has been left at the altar on his wedding day, thereby turning him into a drunkard. Frenny (Tabu) is the only one who sympathizes with him in the entire village. She doles out advice to David and he claims her to be one of the only two women he can tolerate. Peter (Nishan) is his partner in their fishing business. He plans on marrying the mute-and-deaf Roma (Isha Sharvani) so that he can get a boat in return as a gift from her parents. Love strikes its arrow and there are muddled mutual feelings involved, or so David thinks because of Roma’s disability.

Each story has its own flavor but yet at the end, they connect with a simple message of letting go. Be it anger, hate or love. The Goan David provides for a fun breather between the grim and dark Londoner David and the constantly moving Bombayite David. The camerawork is nearly immaculate with a neo-noir depiction of the gangster tale, the urbane settings of Mumbai and easy on the eye and pleasing in Goa. The background score combined with the music is refreshingly vivid and suiting.

There are so many characters, each with their own traits, that blend in with the changing moods of the narrative. Lara Dutta and Saurabh Shukla’s cameos are particularly special. Monica Dogra’s dialogue delivery was very good given the heavy Urdu diction of that entire traditional Muslim arrangement. Except for one place, I won’t specify it though. The relationship between Tabu and Vikram’s characters is also a welcomed one, it’s not the usual lovey-dovey one, but it’s an essential one. The three protagonists are very fitting in their individual performances. Also, Akarsh Khurana’s Ghani also delivers a special mention.

All in all, David as a film, is a winner. The innovative storytelling, visuals, characters and writing are brilliantly manifested in Bejoy Nambiar’s magnum opus of sorts. I’d watch it again, you should watch it too.

My rating: **** (4 stars)

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