Bewakoofiyaan (2014)

He’s a marketing whiz with an MBA working in the airline sector. She’s a financial whiz.

They’ve been dating for two years, and are wildly in love. After he receives a huge pay raise and a promotion resulting in him being bumped up to Senior Executive for Marketing – he adds a new car, and then buys a whopping diamond ring for her. When he pops the question, she says yes.

There’s just one hurdle. She asks that he ask her father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Yes, it is an old-fashioned idea, but that is how she wants to play it. The hurdle? Her father wants nothing less than a top-shelf guy for his daughter.

Okay fair enough. The couple can’t see any way that Papa would not see them as just the perfect couple. But are they really perfect? Are they a couple who will stand proudly under the canopy of love conquers all of life’s problems?

He is Mohit and he’s played by Ayushmann Khurrana. She’s Mayera and the gorgeous Sonam Kapoor has the role. The roadblock of Dad, V.K. Sehgal is played by the nimble Rishi Kapoor, watch him dashing about on the squash court despite his age which is now 62 years old. His appearance in this film, which is entitled Bewakoofiyaan, is just one of his 142 film roles in a career that stretches all the way back to 1972.

Bewakoofiyaan (which means something like Stupid in Love) is set in Gurgaon, which is a burgeoning city southwest of New Delhi. In fact it is now a leading financial and industrial center, sort of a one time commuter town that has become a newly minted boom town. The streets are lined with gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers that are both residential apartment towers as well as corporate HQs.

It is a place that in its own urban way, matches the look and style of our two leads. Mayera likes designer labels on her shoes, her clothes, and the accessories. She goes in for fine dining and rock concerts. Mohit looks like a corporate hot-shot as well, after all he just plunked down mountains of rupees for Mayera’s engagement ring and his new ride.

Father knows best - or does he?

Father knows best – or does he?

VK has a look too. He is lifetime bureaucrat in India’s Government service, the IAS, and is about to retire. VK and Mayera live in a solidly middle class neighborhood and if the truth be told, VK never earned the big bucks that his daughter makes now. So it is not unexpected that he wants only the best for his daughter, with money carrying the most weight and import on his rating scales for prospective suitors for Mayera.

Well the young man in love, the daughter, and the papa go for a picnic, and while things are a bit on the chilly side, Mohit manages to convey, after some strong urging from Mayera, that he wishes to marry Mayera, and together they want the father’s blessing. As expected – it is not forthcoming.

At least not until VK can run some background investigations on the young man. Mohit is not thrilled by this but what choice has he? But another wrenching event puts everything on hold. In this time of recession, Mohit’s company is forced to issue massive layoffs, and Mohit goes from being a well-paid executive to being unemployed. His spirits remain high, but the dark cloud called recession manages to stay over his head. He can’t find a suitable job. He’s offered entry-level and trainee level positions, but his pride and his hopeful demeanor won’t let him take a huge step backwards.

Well the couple are fearful of Dad’s reaction, so they plot and scheme to keep old Papa from getting this information. But that’s easier said than done. Especially since besides keeping up the subterfuge about Mohit’s job status, Mayera has to front Mohit money to keep up appearances while the charade continues.

And that ladies and gentlemen is your set up. Which brings us to the question of should you seek out the DVD for this film or not.

It’s a glossy production and beautiful to watch. Mayera wears knockout threads and looks every bit the leading lady. Mohit handles himself well going toe to toe with VK, at least this is so when he was working. There’s two or three musical numbers which aren’t particularly special or memorable. Set up as a rom-com, you want to root for the young couple as they try to keep all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed so they can win over Dad.

But there’s one element that is mostly missing, and that’s the comedy part. Scripted by Habib Faisal, and directed by Nupur Asthana,  while the situation is humorous, the laugh out loud moments are few and far between. As this is just Nupur’s second film as director, it is somewhat ironic that she once said, “The absence of a powerful script can undo all efforts that go into direction.”

Now I’m not going to say that this is a bad film, nor am I calling it a flop. Instead, I’m stating that it might have been so much better if it was funnier. It was surely an entertaining movie, and all the shots, the sets, the clothes, all look good. But if you’re going to do a rom/com, then you must bring the humor.

Despite the absence of the ha-ha moments. the film does have energy, and is definitely far from being a somber affair. It is a by the numbers film, and you all know what that formula is for a rom/com. We do skip the boy meets girl and they fall in love part, because when we meet them, they are already a couple. They believe that they are young, and happiness is theirs. The father of the bride knows better as he believes that money is necessary.

Is he right? Are Mohit and Mayera right in their belief that they are presently invincible and they can live on love if necessary? As I said, this is a by the numbers film, so you won’t be surprised that there is a happy ending, not even after the couple does the expected by splitting up. Before I sum up, check out the trailer with English subtitles.

I read in the papers of the death of American song lyricist Gerry Goffin, who together with his song writing partner and wife Carole King turned out numerous hit songs. One of their best remembered and most popular songs was recorded by The Shirelles and released as a single in 1960. The title is in the lyric.

That key lyric was – Will you still love me tomorrow? In Bewakoofiyaan, a similar question is asked, Will you still love me if I am a waiter…

I’m rating the film at three-point seven five. I’m calling it entertaining and recommending it. You can find the DVD on both Amazon and eBay.

 

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