of course, i first heard about it on twitter. it started with all the talk of the m word. yes, masturbation. unbelievable, unheard of… literally a word never ever heard perhaps in the context of an indian film. what am i saying, a word never heard in the public space of the country… even at home, i mean really? that too, girls? right wing trolls went after swara bhaskar, also sonam kapoor, two of the lead actresses, both outspoken young women, who say what they have to, and don’t cower down or waffle when things get nasty.
i am not a fan of kareena kapoor, another lead, nor ekta kapoor, a producer. but when a particularly vicious right wing handle tried to stymie the film’s opening week by exhorting people not to watch it, bringing of all things, religion into the picture, i was irritated. maybe i decided then and there to see it… for this bullying gets to me.
then came a series of tweets, a virtual trollathon, from people who claimed they’d gone to see the film with their grandmother (really?) and how she was utterly shocked. needless to mention, there came the barrage of counter tweets. laughter, fun. lots of rofling. that irresponsible religion tweak along with the foolish tempering of grandmother ensured much hilarity.
then a friend of mine, who’s a grandmother, said she wanted to watch the movie with me. could i refuse such an offer.
veere di wedding, i finally found out the meaning of “veere”. “veer” is a punjabi word, which means both brave and brother – in bengali and other sanskrit based languages too veer is brave – over time it’s come to mean buddy as well. like bro or yaar in hindi. casual and light, a word from the world of friendship. veere is the plural… so, friends, kind of really thick friends.
i had no expectations. quite resigned to watching another fairly silly, bubblegum pink and trying hard to be cool film, i was. the movie starts with these four school girls, in uniform… last day of school. onto a scene of precocious teenagers and their champagne flute clinking, with parents and kith and kin encouraging it and joining in, rich kids in delhi. i settled down for more and more inanities. there was lots of it.
but at one point, i think it was when kalindi (kareena k) went into a portable loo to consider a proposal, i started feeling other things. i was laughing hard, so it was difficult to pinpoint the exact emotion, yet it was there. it wasn’t so much about the loo or the setting, not even the proposal, but something in the way kalindi spoke, in her eyes an elusive expression. her boyfriend rishabh’s (sumeet vyas) little shrug, slightly puzzled and lost face, then a resolve… yes, i was definitely feeling something.
i came out of the theatre on a high, feeling happy. my first thoughts: that was fun, and really, some things needed to be said, not just felt and kept neatly away… must watch it again… the girls were good… that bhandari… will bring my husband along, he’ll enjoy it.
one can dismiss the film as chick flick. it has many elements of that and is a good one as a chick flick too.
one can say it’s a sex in the city me too. i never felt that. yes, there are four women, in their late twenties, at various stages of their lives, and this is an essentially urban – rich urban – tale, perhaps the idea of the plot structure came from the american serial, but no resemblance beyond that. even the tone and intention seem different. the sentiments and conflicts are very indian, and in today’s context. curiously enough, one you can identify with many things despite all the stagey sets and over the top characters, the too manicured moments and kitschy feel good twists and turns.
thing is, it should have been an unbearable film, especially for a crusty, almost sixty, can’t tolerate bollywood braindead circus me. but it wasn’t.
i watched it again. with husband as planned. he came out and said, “that was fun, empty but nice.” he isn’t a woman, an indian woman growing up through the sixties and seventies or now… he has no idea how good it is to see some things. like the plump meera (shikha talsania, the fourth veere,) feeling awkward in her swim suit, then letting go (i’ve always been large, as you might guess). or the unhappily married sakshi soni (swara bhaskar) giving it to her bumptious husband in choice swear words (i want to know who’s the writer of this bit). or avni (sonam kapoor), who’s bright and intelligent and focussed confronting what it is that she really wants. or kalindi trying hard to please everyone, and not quite making it… because really one can’t, no matter how hard they try to condition you into thinking you can, you must, etc.
the stories within the overall plot, are fairly predictable. no big surprises there. in fact, too pretty most times. writers nidhi mehra and mehul suri showed spark i felt with the dialogues. the mise en scène is super stagey, theatrical, done up, there’s no attempt even to appear natural… part of director’s language i guess. shashanka ghosh, the director, i haven’t seen any of his films. caught a bit of khubsoorat on tv, didn’t like it much. but here he seemed to be having a lot of fun, getting into the mood, and telling it right.
that’s what got me i guess. seemed as though the four leads really vibed. there was an unselfconscious air to their interaction, an energy, innocence even. it could make you forget the too bright lipsticks and filmi duniya clothes. it made me think of my friends, and the vicissitudes of life, and the need to just be.
all the girls acted well, sonam kapoor got a few extra marks from me. liked the way she created avni. the character was interesting, in another era that would be a typical young indian man’s predicament, a bright young chap with a doting mama, and a career coming along nicely. the guys in and not in teh girls’ lives weren’t too bad either. nor the many parents, uncles, aunts, friends of family, bitchy neighbourhood morning walk type aunties, and others.
veere di wedding has done very well at the box office. the trolls ended up it free publicity and not quite the slap they’d hoped to. that story also is nicely tied up i guess. i have no idea if you’re planning to see it or not, but i don’t mind going another time. bhandari (vishwas kini) needs to be studied.
all images credit veere di wedding @vdwthefilm