Nupur Asthana’s new film Bewakoofiyaan is set in a time when the Indian economy is on a downward spiral and the aviation industry is at its lowest ebb. Fodder for drama? An ambitious marketing executive Mohit (Ayushmann Khurrana), on a high after he beats others to a promotion, gets fired. His girlfriend Mayera (Sonam Kapoor) has a cushy, well-paying job too—although we don’t get to know what exactly she does—and she decides to sustain and support him. The girl’s father (Rishi Kapoor), a retired civil servant (he is an IAS officer as well as an Income Tax officer—writer Habib Faisal somehow equates the two), is first militantly opposed to the idea of his daughter marrying a man with a meagre salary. The couple persevere, and he finally comes around. By then, the lovers have differences of their own making—Mayera livid that because of her boyfriend’s bills she has not had enough money to buy a pair of shoes in two months—and the hyperventilating, inconsistent and seemingly psychotic father acts as a catalyst for the happy-ever-after moment.
Bewakoofiyaan has no pluck in story, direction, visual treatment or performances. The backdrop of an economic recession can be fodder for engaging human dramas. The kernel of this film too, which is how economic bankruptcy can skew gender equations and test relationships, is interesting for an urban romance.
But Asthana’s film does not take off. Flat, monotonous and in parts, defying all manner of reason, it stays a soap opera from the moment it begins to the closing shot. The humour is banal, dependent more on unnecessary gesticulation than wit, and the characterization is sketchy. The woman is unintentionally the butt of all jokes—her obsession for shoes is as stereotyped as her reason to leave a plum job offer for an unemployed boyfriend is absurd. Her father or her boyfriend’s decisions and whims decide everything in Mayera’s life except her choice of shoes and clothes. Kapoor carries off the clothes with plume—but what’s the surprise in that?
Khurrana, who made a promising debut in Vicky Donor is a sum of flat expressions and uninspired lines—as the script would require him to be. The ever-so-dependable Rishi Kapoor has hammy moments and seems to have hurried through his role by overdramatizing platitudes.
Bewakoofiyanends on the banal note that no matter the vicissitudes, love is all you need. What then was the point of all the humdrum but overwrought conflicts leading up to that realization? They did not tell me anything about the characters. The characters did not evolve or transform, but merely went back to where they were and lived happily ever after.
Bewakoofiyaan released in theatres on Friday.