Movie Review: 'Veere Di Wedding'
Opened: 1 June 2018
Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Swara Bhaskar, Shikha Talsania, Sumeet Vyas, Vishwas Kini, Ayesha Raza, Vivek Mushran, Edward Sonnenblick, Manoj Pahwa
Director: Shashanka Ghosh
Producers: Anil Kapoor, Rhea Kapoor, Nikhil Dwivedi, Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor
For a film that boldly proclaims that ‘it’s not a chick flick,’ ironically, Veere Di Wedding is exactly that. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not one for hypocrisy – so I won’t sit here and berate the genre, because unlike most I’ll happily admit that it’s my biggest guilty pleasure. And Veere Di Wedding did whet my appetite for at least half of its run time until its cursed second half where, unsure of where to take its script, and having exhausted most of its gags, director Shakshanka Ghosh, who in the film’s first half takes some applause-worthy risks, suddenly gets cold feet and settles for a contrived, final act where his protagonists end up tossing all their values out the window, and completely compromise the film’s intent in the process.
Based on four foul-mouthed childhood friends Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor Khan), Avni (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja), Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) and Meera (Shikha Talsania), and their brushes with the complexities of and emotional ties in their lives, Veere Di Wedding’s central gag and plot revolves around an unexpected marriage proposal and the subsequent wedding which brings the four friends together, and ultimately causes a rift between them, until it’s all rather conveniently tied up so that they can bugger off on a girly holiday, resolve their differences and issues and backtrack into the very wedding that was the bone of contention between them in the first place.
Veere Di Wedding has a cracking first half and the humour although crass and in-your-face, will surely bring the house down. There are LOL moments galore as the four protagonists play off of each other spectacularly, leaving you intrigued of what’s to come after.
Alas, the second half goes for a complete toss as conflicts are resolved without much ado and the film becomes the exact thing it’s trying to parody.
The problem with Veere Di Wedding is that it can’t quite decide what it wants to be. A coming-of-age comedy about four women who choose to live life by their own terms, a convoluted love story which has zero fizz, or a film trying to hammer the point across, that no matter how brazen and nonchalantly you traipse through life, ultimately, the only thing that matters is family. And that’s exactly the problem here. If Ghosh had stuck to her guns and gone down the unconventional route, where the women ditch all their obligations (and the worthless men in their lives), then the end result would have been something to truly celebrate. Why go all out and start out with a bang only to resort to the message that no matter how much of a cretin your man is, marriage is what ties life up in a neat bow, and that ultimately that should be the be all, end all of every woman’s existence? As a result of this mishap, one can’t help but feel that despite having the right the ingredients, the final blend although satisfactory, lacks that wow factor which would have taken it up a notch.
The other problem here is that while the brazen attitude of the gung-ho women is somewhat refreshing, their consistent and generous use of expletives, after a point begin to jar, because they seem to have been forced into the screenplay to shock thereby appear completely exaggerated, unnatural, and frankly quite unnecessary.
Despite its glaring holes though, the four ladies more than make up for it, and you can’t help but feel that what they signed up for wasn’t what the film ultimately turns out to be.
Among them, for the most part Kareena in the titular part is spectacularly effortless and underplays her part beautifully. That she looks like a million dollars goes without saying, but you can’t help but feel it’s a part she’s played before and one that she can, by now play in her sleep. Sonam is also on point but it seems that she's a tad unconvinced by what is expected of her. Is she the conventional doe eyed girl who abides by her mother’s wishes or is she dying to inch out of her comfort zone, run free and break her shackles? It’s a bit of a confused part that hasn’t been written too well. She does deliver though and has improved leaps and bounds in both her expressions and delivery.
The other girls Swara and Shikha in contrast are the more interesting characters and they more than do justice to them but their arcs needed to be further etched, especially Shikha’s who is by far the most affable of the four. The remaining players are efficient and earnest, but given how strong her character is, Kareena definitely deserved a better, stronger love interest here. Sumeet Vyas is flat and bland and you often wonder why Kalindi puts up with the nonsense meted out to her by both his character and her in laws. A better actor in his place would have given the character more empathy and depth instead of being so boringly one dimensional. Vishwas Kini as Bhandari, on the other hand, is definitely the better of the two male leads, nailing his comic timing and at times even stealing a few scenes from right under Sonam’s nose.
Veere Di Wedding also suffers from a sub plot too many – the one about an annoying stepmother with a witch like cackle and another that involves a feuding gay uncle (Vivek Mushran, remember him?) add little depth to the overall plot, however it is refreshing to see one of our films go all out with a gay couple and integrate them into the proceedings without making much of a song and dance about it.
So is all the brouhaha surrounding Veere Di Wedding warranted? Well. Yes and no. It’s an absolute hoot when it’s not taking itself too seriously, but falls woefully short when it’s trying to be contrived and conveniently tying up loose ends.
For all its blemishes though, the ride is worth it for the four ladies, each of whom are a riot – I just wish they’d been given a better arc in a different film, rather than one that is only partially satisfying. Perhaps we deserve a sequel where they do a Thelma and Louise, ditch all the societal nonsense and ride off into the sunset with their IDGAF attitudes. Here’s hoping.
Veere Di Wedding is out in cinemas worldwide on 1 June 2018.