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Veere Di Wedding – Movie Review

Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker, Shikha Talsania

Director: Shashanka Ghosh                                                                  Rating: 3.0  stars (out of 5)

Storyline: Four childhood friends get together for one wedding that becomes an occasion to negotiate relationships & families and love & life!!

Friends are the like a family. Weddings are now as much about parents giving away the bride as they are about friends entrusting her to a man they approve of. Veere Di Wedding gets this fantastic bond right, and gives us four dramatically different kinds of women with courage and spirit. Nobody stands in the way of their decisions. All are educated, rich, urban and modern. They wear designer outfits, sleep with make-up on, smoke and drink, are not coy about sex or spewing cuss words. They talk about how everyone is only taking about getting married, they crib about how society only wants them to get married, they discuss their own wedding expectations all this while rolling their eyes, swearing to their hearts content and  laughing  etc. The genuine trust, friendship and bonding between the leading ladies is frankly the best thing about the film ,fill it with fun and warmth. It’s a female-driven film but it doesn’t mean that it is a film about women empowerment.

 

The whole movie is just about “Shadi ka Topic”. Everything and everyone in this movie exists to remind and prepare us for a huge, big fat Punjabi wedding .There are familiar cliches to tick — broken  dysfunctional family, token gay uncle, a “lesbo” joke, body image issues,   a mandatory foreign trip, predictable twists and turns and a neat, ‘all is well’ resolution. . From hideous dresses to  lavish shaadi mandaps, you can expect many rib tickling moments – all at the expense of the gossipy aunties of West Delhi!

The film starts off far too loud, with non-stop and overdone background music and sound effects to try and tickle audiences. This makes film, at first, like a bad sitcom, which is not just at odds with the authentic performances but occasionally makes them appear less subtle than they are .The four leads are earlier shown in school uniform. They have the kind of early sisterhood that predates judgement; they are friends first  who likes to talk about “shaadi-waadi” and 10 years later  also, when they grow up, still hovering around “wedding shedding”! They derive their fierceness from being a unit.

Kareena Kapoor  ,playing a role of Kalindi is the one getting married that sends all her buddies Avni (Sonam Kapoor), Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar), and Meera (Shikha Talsania) into a tizzy. Rishab (Sumeet Vyaas) is sweet and caring and Kalindi loves him alright, but her journey to becoming Mrs Malhotra is hilariously astonishing. The easy breezy first half  of the movie gives us a quick tour of all that’s keeping Kalindi’s friends busy.

Avni is trying to find her Mr Right, while her mother (Neena Gupta) hyperventilates about her single status. Sakshi is a flamboyantly wealthy brat struggling with a divorce who likes her drinks straight-up, Meera is an exasperated mother who is only too glad to leave her Batman-pyjama’d child in more grown-up hands.

Veere Di Wedding lands several blows to the patriarchy while never giving up its Masala Entertainer roots .The writing is assured and nuanced, with telling details about these girls, their men, and their families. After a while ,as the over-the-top background sounds settle – or we get used to them – the film’s cleverness becomes apparent. It is yet another movie, in which womanhood is not all about being virtuous. The ladies are flawed and susceptible to transgressions;  free-spirited yet confused  when it comes to the choices they make or the commitments they want to run away from. They commit mistakes and chose to learn (or not) from their failings

The casting is clever and spot-on .Shikha Talsania and Kareena Kapoor  perform impressively – and casually – enough to cut through this cheesy treatment, but the film’s style initially makes Sonam Kapoor and Swara Bhasker appear a bit broad, even though all four characters play off each other very well. The other performers are Sukesh Arora as Keshav, a silent and stylish man who speaks volumes with his eyes, Vishwas Kinni who makes Bhandari both unmistakably loutish yet vaguely charming, Sumeet Vyas as the groom who used to think only his mother was crazy, and Ekavali Khanna as a stepmother with an alarmingly loud cackle. It’s the surprise presence of Anjum Rajabali, Neena Gupta and Ekavalli Khanna that ground the fairytale and give it unintended heft.

This cross between Sex and the City and Bridesmaids works hard to raise eyebrows. The women swear freely, imbibe furiously and rail frequently against convention and hypocrisy. A holiday in Thailand is  to allow the characters to visit strip clubs and prance about in swimwear. The chemistry between the actresses never feels fake, but the situations into which they are forced rarely seem convincing. However, there are major minefields here as well, that stem from the way women have been traditionally framed, represented and seen on screen. Is a smoking, drinking, self-gratifying heroine truly defiant and rebellious? It’s about men and their mothers, relationships and families than I, me, myself. The tone swings between the jocular and the serious but never once grave. There is wit in the chatter and camaraderie in the sorority. So far,  “ Veere di Wedding “is an average movie.

 

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