On face-value, BEWAKOOFIYAAN may pass off as yet another love story in a middle class setup, with the [tyrannical] father of the girl throwing a wet blanket on their plans. While the subject matter is as old as the hills -- haven't we watched a concerned/over-protective parent opposing his kid's choice of spouse in dozens of films earlier? -- BEWAKOOFIYAAN also drapes a thorny issue that plagues the world: Recession. However, what could've been a serious take on relationships and economic decline is punctuated with several laugh-inducing moments by Nupur Asthana.
One expects BEWAKOOFIYAAN to be a joy-ride, since Nupur's big screen debut MUJHSE FRAAANDSHIP KAROGE was padded with intelligent humor, clever lines and charming moments. And Nupur and writer Habib Faisal make sure they give the clichÃ©-ridden plot a new spin altogether.
Mohit [Ayushmann Khurrana], a marketing whiz kid, and Mayera [Sonam Kapoor], a financial brain, are a much-in-love couple. They work hard, they party harder. Their belief is simple: You can live on love and fresh airâ€¦ But there's an obstacle: Mayera's wilful bureaucratic father V.K. Sehgal [Rishi Kapoor].
The obstinate man believes that only a rich man can bring Mayera happiness and a mid-level executive like Mohit simply isn't good enough. Who gets the last laugh when recession strikes and the lack of money tests love?
BEWAKOOFIYAAN brings back memories of Anubhav Sinha's AAPKO PEHLE BHI KAHIN DEKHA HAI and Rahul Dholakia's KEHTAA HAI DIL BAAR BAAR, besides FATHER OF THE BRIDE and MEET THE PARENTS, of course. Having said that, Nupur and Habib pepper the plot with some cleverly penned sequences, but stray episodes apart, the writing maintains a strong grip from commencement to conclusion [the run time -- less than 2 hours -- makes sure the film never overstays its welcome]. Also, the writer slips the after-effects of recession smartly in the proceedings, without deviating from the core issue, that of a love story.
There's a lot to like in BEWAKOOFIYAAN. The makers know well the flavour of humor they wish to peddle to the spectator -- witty and subtle -- shying away from the slapstick and buffoonery one has come to expect in Bollywood comedies. It won't be erroneous to state that BEWAKOOFIYAAN makes a genuine attempt to entertain beyond tested flavours and it succeeds in evoking genuine laughs at regular intervals. Also, Nupur and Habib invest heavily into the characters and the screenplay to keep the interest alive. Additionally, the film works for two more reasons: Sharp dialogue and spot-on performances by its protagonists.
However, there are hiccups too. The conclusion is foreseeable given the genre of the film, hence Habib should've ensured that the sequences leading to the climax were hatke completely. The soundtrack [Raghu Dixit] is plain ordinary and though it's not right to draw parallels, one misses a 'Paani Da Rang' kind of haunting melody from Ayushmann yet again [that song has become a yardstick, frankly]. Notwithstanding the blemishes, what needs to be appreciated is the chance YRF has been taking lately. While the premier production house is synonymous with biggies like JAB TAK HAI JAAN, EK THA TIGER and DHOOM: 3, they aren't shying away from making 'smaller films' with interesting concepts such as ISHAQZAADE, MERE DAD KI MARUTI, SHUDDH DESI ROMANCE and now, BEWAKOOFIYAAN.
Editing [Antara Lahiri] is crisp, while the DoP [Neha Parti Matiyani] paints a vivid portrait of the capital as well as Dubai.
The film relies completely on three central characters -- Rishi Kapoor, Ayushmann and Sonam -- and the performances are indeed commendable. Especially Rishi, a gifted actor, who's finally getting roles that do complete justice to his talent. Ayushmann is charming, confident and far from shaky in sequences with the veteran Kapoor. That's no mean achievement! Sonam has evolved tremendously as an actor of late. Films like RAANJHANAA, BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG and now BEWAKOOFIYAAN only cement her status as a fine talent. Also, she goes all out this time around, flaunting the oomph factor quite abundantly. The supporting cast, in limited roles, deserve a special mention too, especially Gurpal Singh [as Gursharan] and Pratap Hada [as Immy].
On the whole, BEWAKOOFIYAAN springs a pleasant surprise. Watch this wonderful slice of life film for the super performances of Rishi, Ayushmann and Sonam, watertight writing, skilled direction and dollops of humor.