The F word is liberally used in the trailers for Veere Di Wedding, whether it is in English or Hindi, said casually or with feeling. There’s another F word that’s being bandied about at the scores of promotional events the cast have been attending to talk about the film: feminism. Not quite the one to rise to the occasion in this regard, Kareena Kapoor Khan, whose character’s wedding appears to be the event the film is plotted around, recently said, “I believe in equality. I won’t say I am a feminist. I would say I am a woman. Above all, I am a human being. But I would say I am as proud to be known as Saif Ali Khan’s wife as I am to be Kareena Kapoor.”
Releasing on Friday, Veere Di Wedding is directed by Shashanka Ghosh (Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II, Quick Gun Murugun and Khoobsurat), and stars Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor-Ahuja, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania in lead roles, as four friends who each face a set of challenges in their lives. While the cast collectively seems shy to talk in length about feminism, the F word they do want to focus on at the moment is Fun. “I’m playing Sakshi, who’s urban, English-speaking and educated and so incredibly rich, that she’s never heard ‘no’. She’s a lovable brat, but mostly an idiot. I had fun bringing a certain type of randomness to this character,” says Bhasker, who took up the role as a change from playing “characters from BIMARU states”.
A change of scenery was also why Talsania jumped at the chance of coming onboard the film. After her debut in Wake Up Sid (2009), where she played Ranbir Kapoor’s best friend, Talsania did several theatre projects and parts in independent films. “A lot of scripts coming my way played to the stereotype of a big girl who is hungry or horny, or both. I was the last to be cast — Mukesh Chhabra, the casting director, called me and asked me to come for a look test. My character eloped, married and has a small child. I liked the script because it’s about four friends at different stages of their lives. I didn’t see gender right off the bat, I saw their friendship and it was very relatable and real,” she says, adding, “I do see gender but a film is not about boxes, but about how different characters engage with each other in a storyline.”
Fresh of the celebrations of her own wedding, Kapoor-Ahuja has thrown herself into promoting this film. “My sister Rhea was 21 and I was 23 when we decided to make Aisha. People were shocked that we were making a film about a girl who wasn’t perfect or the most likeable. Then, Khoobsurat. But look at the excitement for this film,” she says, adding, “I’ve been in the real world, this industry for 11 years, so I know that labels will be thrown at women anyway.” After changing her name post her wedding to Anand Ahuja, Kapoor’s screen credits are due to undergo a slight alteration as well. “I’m a very vocal feminist and I did mull over the name change for quite some time. I am a part of his family and I want to acknowledge that, just as he has added my first name to his name. Going forward, my name on screen will reflect that too,” she says.