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Best Friends Forever?
Channel V, Monday to Friday, 7.30pm
A phrase used to denote friendships that are heartfelt, 'best friends forever' is a colloquial phrase that has gained popularity among youth. The show, which uses this phrase for its title, questions the term, demonstrating through a story how fickle friendships can be. This also explains the question mark which follows the title. Produced by Cinevista, Best Friends Forever? (BFF?) revolves around three girls, Ela, Vinnie and Sanjana aka Sanju, who are all very different, but are still 'best friends'. Moneyed and charming, Varun is also a member of the group. The series opens with Varun picking up the three friends in his car to attend a Valentine's Day party on the city's outskirts. Varun flirts with Ela who is expecting him to propose to her at the party. But once there, under the effect of alcohol, Varun flirts also with Vinnie who responds to him. He then professes love to Sanju in Ela and Vinnie's presence. When Sanju spurns him, he jumps off a cliff. The three friends decide to keep the secret and tell the cops that they don't know what happened to Varun. But the secret and the strain of getting over the accident takes a toll on the girls, causing them to drift apart. The show then turns into a suspense-drama, much like I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Comprising a young cast, BFF? has Charlie Chauhan play popular although dumb and attention-seeking Ela. Shritama Mukherjee's Vinnie portrays shades of loyalty and insecurity whereas Fenil Umrigar as Sanju is intelligent, brave and level-headed. Yuvraj Thakur plays Varun and Lavin Gothi is Ela's ex-boyfriend Mac whom she dumps in order to date Varun. After Varun's death, Ela returns to him.
Targetted at the youth, the show provides a reality check about the popular concept of 'best friends'. The characters are real and far from straitjacketed. For example, Ela loves attention, especially from Varun, but feels guilty and responsible when he misbehaves with Sanju. Although pretty, Vinnie craves to be at the centre of a man's attention over Ela. The makers don't shy away from showing that emotions like jealousy and insecurity can seep into friendships.
Shot like a thriller, the show, which premiered on December 3, has maintained a fairly decent pace and the teleplay keeps the audience on the edge almost throughout. It leaves certain threads hanging so that the audience can keep guessing. For instance, at the party, Mac, who is vying for Ela's attention and wants Varun out of the way, has been photographing and videographing certain portions of his interaction with Ela, Sanju and Vinnie, but the extent of which is not revealed. The production values are poor and some dialogues are cringe-worthy. Take for example, when Ela looks into the mirror and says, 'I'm so perfect'. Also, there is some amount of titillation — the show started with Ela in the bathtub and the director leaves no opportunity to scale her legs.
In addition, the show could have done with better actors. The star, here, is clearly the writing by Palki Malhotra. It depicts the lingo and lifestyle of the youth as well as the complex emotions they go through. Despite the production value, the show manages to keep viewers hooked.
Verdict: Teen drama that keeps you on the edge
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