Bollywood has had its share of male friendships in Jai-Veeru and Amar-Prem. But which is the last female buddy film you remember? Was it Lipstick Under My Burkha or Pink or Angry Indian Goddesses? I say none of them. That’s because these were dark, daunting and pointed a finger at the societal structure in one way or the other. Cut to 2018 and it’s Veere Di Wedding. Right from the word go, Veere Di Wedding was a celebration of sorts. From its posters to trailer, it was a riot of colours and fun. And well, after watching it now, I can say Bollywood has found a noteworthy female-buddy film.
Veere Di Wedding was touted as “not a chick flick”. Its lead cast of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania kept asserting that the film wasn’t any dose of feminism too. And well, now I cannot agree any less. Veere Di Wedding is in fact everything sans even a drop of feminism. It doesn’t talk about equality. It has nothing to do with women issues. It does not aim at bringing about any change either. This Shashanka Ghosh film is simply woven around four childhood friendships, some lost desires, self-discoveries and fighting one’s own inner battles.
Veere Di Wedding is not perfect. In fact, several times it falters only to be saved at the right moment. However, it never falls apart. We have four super rich female friends who click champagne glasses after completing school, pay bills in eight figures and fly to Phuket to resolve issues. But isn’t every Zoya Akhtar film on similar lines too, where third world problems are never really on the agenda, where all that these urban kids struggle with is heartbreaks and dysfunctional families? These Veeres are free-spirited yet flawed, head-strong yet confused. They live in their cocoon and are at their vulnerable most when it is about commitments. In short, they can be anyone from you or me. They do remind of Sex and the City. But, even if these four ladies are swapped with four men, the basic plot will remain the same. Hence, I won’t even call it a women-centric film because it just happens to have these girls at the core. (You are free to disagree!)
Veere Di Wedding also deals with a lot more than sheer girl bonding. It also takes a dig at nagging aunties, opulent marriages, the superficial money involved and the extent families go to uphold their image in the society, even if their bank accounts are depleting. Over here, there is no problem between the much-in-love guy and girl. The problem lies with what the people around them expect, and why, just because they live in a set-up and have to abide by the existing rules of the society.
The leads of Veere Di Wedding also use cuss words. So, what’s the big deal? Is it because you hear them from a woman’s mouth? Veere has in a way opened the flood gates towards having films where even women can be shown to have desires, can speak uncensored stuff and yet win hearts with their camaraderie.
Veere Di Wedding’s story isn’t something out of the box. We’ve had ample films on similar lines with obvious climax. But at least its journey was a breath of fresh air. While Kareena chose the best way to return to films, Sonam was good staying in her shadow. For me, the better of the lot was Swara and Shikha, both unapologetic yet fragile. And for Sumeet Vyas, to find his own place among such a strong ensemble was indeed a goal which he managed to achieve successfully.
By the time its song “Tareefan” came in the end credits, seeing these women lip-syncing to a male voice (Badshah) and doing a role-reversal made so much sense. By then, we had forgotten that it was anywhere close to being a chick flick. It was so much more – about friendships, lost love, commitments, marriages, personal desires, and even more. And I repeat, it did not preach anything about feminism, not an ounce!
Sometimes, Veere Di Wedding is a laugh riot, at other times, you just giggle because you feel shy at the audacious dialogues about “charam-sukh”. However, at the end of the day the conversations in the film are too real to be true. You’ll surely go back and reconnect with your Veeres.
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