Veere Di Wedding movie cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Swara Bhaskar, Shikha Talsania, Sumeet Vyas, Vivek Mushran, Neena Gupta, Manoj Pahwa, Anjum Rajabali
Veere Di Wedding movie director: Shashanka Ghosh
Veere Di Wedding movie rating: 3 stars
‘Veer’, pyaar se, ‘veere’, is used for the male of the Punjabi species. That a film about female bonding flips it around and calls its female leads by the same name tells you something you need to know about Veere Di Wedding. That it is the quintessentially Dilli film, is clear from the opening frame. That it is about girls-growing-into-women is equally plain. That we are going to be buried under mounds of designer stuff, and unending jibes on the super cool S Delhi aesthetic vs the cheesy W Dalhi ‘chamak dhamak’, is right there too. And when you have Kareena Kapoor Khan and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja leading from the front, can the brands, all falling over each other in their eagerness, be far behind?
So far, so obvious. What I was looking for, in this tale of these four young women, all very up to the minute in terms of apparel and shoes and bags, and other accouterments which swish, rich young ladies are equipped with these days, is whether this film goes beyond the froth and the attendant silliness and the stereotypes and broad brush-strokes to actually say something, to mean something.
On that score, I have to say that it’s not just the name that has been flipped around. A few notions have been turned on their heads, and a few things have been subverted, and for a mainstream Hindi movie carrying heavy-weight names on and off screen, this is good enough. Could it have been better? Of course, it could.
But, and this is what keeps us watching, the four ‘veeres’, Kalindi (Kapoor), Avni (Kapoor Ahuja), Sakshi (Bhaskar) and Meera (Talsania)—are a solid bunch despite their riches and girlish squeals and their entitled troubles. Kalindi and Rishabh (Vyas) are about to do the ‘mandap’ and the ‘mangalsutra’ thing; Sakshi is wondering how to get rid of hers, Avni is deeply desirous of one of her own, and Meera has gone a step ahead and produced an offspring (she’s the only one who’s gone and managed the marriage thing) while still being able to drink vast quantities of the good stuff.
What’s crucial is that their friendship and their closeness feel like a real thing, and in that sense, it goes beyond gender: if you are the kind who will reach out to that friend-like-family when in serious trouble, that’s your ‘veere’ right there, and this is a believable quartet, fluent-Hindi-gaalis-giving, lots-of-sex-please-we-are-modern-Indian-women playing to the gallery schticks aside.
Their situations are not unique. Far from. You can see bits and pieces of well-known Holly-Bolly rom coms (hamaari ‘runaway bride’ waapas aa gayi, asks the father of the girl), the too-understanding parents (from our own Dil Chahta Hai) and one scene, which mimics a cult scene from a cult movie, featuring a sex toy and a woman in the throes of a blow-your-socks-off big one.
Speaking of which, the film is loud, no doubt about it. It has no songs that are memorable: the sangeet song-and-dance is terrible. Kapoor Khan gets the biggest part, expectedly. Then comes Kapoor Ahuja, whose ditsiness is rescued by likeableness. Bhaskar plays a filthy rich creature with the pottiest of mouths, and it takes a little getting used to her (as, I suspect, she took a little getting used to wrap herself around such an against-type role), and there are some awkward edges there, but Bhaskar grows into her role as she goes along, and has the best scene in the movie. Talsania is lovely, and even though her full shape leads to the obvious nasty jokes, she overcomes it. Bollywood, please give her more.
Part of the film’s appeal is the affection with which its characters are written, even the loud, garish West Delhi family about to gather Kalindi into their heaving bosoms. They are loud, but they are loving, and Manoj Pahwa aces his role as the ‘papaji’ who doesn’t mind cheques worth a few crores bouncing as long his puttar can get a massive engagement party. ‘Ek hi toh beta hai mera, hainji? Haanji’. The ‘beta’, played by Vyas, is very good too.
What’s also nice, even if it really doesn’t get enough room for detailing – is the presence of a gay couple – a middle-aged gay couple – who feel more married than the much-marrieds in the movie – without any nudge winks. For a film which coasts on ‘shaadis’ and ‘samadhis’, and tradition to include a decidedly non-hetero-normative relationship is a win. Love is all we need, oh yes. Especially when the ones saying it are women, seen laughing full-throatedly, enjoying themselves, being themselves.
Net net, Veere Di Wedding is a fun ride, which squeezes past its creaky tropes and partial squelchiness by some smart casting choices, and perky performances. And lines which connect. ‘Shaadi toh foundation hai jhagde ki’, says a character, and I found myself chuckling. As did many people around me.
Hai na ji?