“Bewakoofiyaan”, is a romantic comedy starring Rishi Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor, directed by Nupur ASthana which is produced under the Yash Raj Banner. 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 cliché-ridden plot a new spin altogether. The film Bewakoofiyaan is a genteel, slice-of-life love story that runs with one of the oldest of the standard devices of the genre – strong parental opposition to a proposed marital liaison, with money, or rather the lack of it, playing a big part. But the film does not turn either overly nonsensical or sickly sweet in an ill-advised pursuit of comic effect and cutesy twists. The drama is easy flowing and the romantic track believable. Bewakoofiyaan scores with its disarming simplicity. Even as it doesn’t soar to dizzying heights, it is never less than watchable.

On face-value, the film 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? – The film 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. When recession strikes and begins to kill off badly managed companies, Matters of the heart are the first casualties. But here instead of painting a pessimistic portrait of the timings, the film cheerfully presents an alternative way of looking at the economic meltdown. It presents the philosophy which is valid for all times , Lie Low and Let the Storm Pass, but don’t let go of the things that truly manner.

Ayushmann Khurrana plays Mohit Chaddha, a senior marketing executive in an airline company, and Sonam Kapoor plays Mayera, a big financial brain in a bank. Life is good for this pair of obviously materialistic lovebirds, who date between buying Steve Madden shoes for Mayera and getting high on gold and platinum credit cards. They work hard, they party harder. Their belief is simple, you can live on love and fresh air. But there is an obstacle on their way Mayera’s wilful bureaucratic father, VK Sehgal (Rishi Kapoor) is a recently-retired IAS officer he is a tough guy and he is not too happy with his daughter’s choice of husband . He believes the only a rich man can keep Mayera happy and a middle level executive like Mohit isn’t good enough. He has a last laugh when recession strikes and the lack of money test love.

The heroine , a successful career woman , buys movie tickets for a bunch of friends. Her boy friend , opt out of the outing for he is held up in a job interview. Life is co cruel. The love birds seem to be well adjusted couple until two powerful external forces beyond their control intervene. One is the recession and the other one is the heroines father.

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. He is the scene stealer. As ever he adds that extra bit to every scene to make the film more special than it is. Mr. Kapoor makes the prototype character more appealing by mixing sehgals genuine concern for his daughter. He remains the best thing about Bewakoofiyaan. Ayushmann is charming, confident and far from shaky in sequences with the veteran Kapoor. He tries his best bringing alive the much harried, good at heart Mohit That’s no mean achievement! Though both Rishi Kapoor and Ayushmann Khurrana play their parts to perfection, it is Sonam Kapoor who scripts the film’s brighter spots. 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. She successfully presents the character Mayera as Strong , confident and sensitive. The two men in her life are the ones that are assailed by doubts and negative thoughts. But Mayera, the brand-conscious fashionista who isn’t the least bit apologetic about living it up, never lets her spirits sag. Sonam is the one of the few bollywood denizens who wears her clothes beautifully, and does not let them wear her. She gets into the skin of her character very well. Her performance are more in control now. The supporting cast, in limited roles, deserve a special mention too, especially Gurpal Singh [as Gursharan] and Pratap Hada [as Immy].

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.

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.

The film’s fizzy moments are followed occasionally by somewhat bland stretches that drag a touch in terms of narrative pace, besides straining credulity. 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. The film scores with its disarming simplicity. Even as it doesn’t soar to dizzying heights, it is never less than watchable.