Stars of new Indian film ‘Befikre’ say that attitudes to intimacy on screen are changing in Bollywood.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM, (NOVEMBER 5, 2016) (REUTERS) – New Bollywood film Befikre is a feisty romantic comedy set in Paris telling the story of Delhi born boy Dharam and French born Indian girl Shyra. Lead actor Ranveer Singh, who plays Dharam, says it is a contemporary take that stays true to a classic Bollywood style “It’s got a very traditional heart, a very modern outlook but it is one installment in this genre that is true to the genre in the sense that indian romances you can’t term really as genuine bonafide romantic comedies because they involve heavy emotions at some point so here’s a film that stays light and breezy and true to its genre throughout”.
The film stands apart from other Bollywood releases because of its explicit reference to drinking, kissing and sex – something Ranveer says is attributable to the youth of today “they are comfortable with their sexuality, speaking about their sexuality and they are, you could say in a way and this is not a bad thing, less conservative and less traditional in that sense which I think is natural, it is organic, it is something that is prevalent and so is reflected in the film Befikre”
The movie is written, directed and produced by Aditya Chopra who has been active in Bollywood since the 1990’s but arguably hasn’t been this racy in his films before. Co-star Vaani Kapoor says the director’s new naughtier direction is a natural evolution, “there’s a change in society, I feel they are evolving and with them you obviously see the cinema evolving and the people who are making it evolving and people accepting it and being more liberal and lenient towards it.”
India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), and particularly the organisations boss Pahlaj Nihalani, have traditionally taken a conservative line when it comes to kissing on screen, so much so that James Bond’s Spectre saw some of its scenes cut because they were considered too explicit. Despite Befikre being a rather raunchier affair than normal, even featuring multiple passionate kisses, Ranveer Singh says the film has fared well at the hands of the certification board scissors, “what I am proud to tell you is that we have a U/A certificate from Pahlaj Nihalani who I am very proud to say has had the majority to align with the filmmaker and whatever kiss there is in the film he has viewed it with its context not sans its context and so he understands and aligns with the vision of the filmmaker that there is nothing dirty or offensive or cringeworthy about any of the kisses every kiss that’s in the film, when you see it in context, you will see it as an expression of love and I am glad the censors have recognised that.”
The film was shot in Paris, and despite the attacks there earlier this year, Vaani Kapoor said it was never an issue for her to film there and that it was one of the most memorable moments of her life, “I felt quite safe to very honest, we each had our own individual apartments and I was staying alone and I was very safe and in fact it’s one of the best times of my life that I am gonna count it for the rest of my life”.
Befikre will be in cinemas December 9.