In Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding, Swara Bhaskar plays Sakshi, an extremely affluent Delhi girl wading through a rough adulthood, thanks to an ugly divorce. She is an alcoholic and a chain smoker, and also fighting the company of neighborhood aunties who, rather blatantly, comment on her clothes and broken marriage. One of the easiest takeaways from Sakshi’s story is how redundant wealth can be ultimately. You might have had an incredible fairy-tale upbringing where you vacationed in Paris and Prague, yet you could end up having a gossipy aunty as your prime enemy in your adulthood, much like an average small-town Indian girl.
The curious case of Sakshi summarizes the basic problem with Veere Di Wedding. It is set in a universe so unreal — opulent and colourful, untouched by dust and dirt, where every character has a designer wardobe — and it tries to connect to every section of the audience with what it assumes as relatable issues. The film, then, is an unpalatable cocktail. For one, how weird is it to see a bunch of girls, who look like they stepped out of a L’Oreal commercial, gripe about lehangas in Delhi being costlier than a pair of kidneys? Most of the characters spend their days soaking in photogenic anxiety, depression and anger, talking about life in a casual, almost bored tone that, after a point, comes across as forced. Several melodramatic scenes that are supposed to make the audience feel good, come across as pretentious. The lack of depth is striking.
In one scene, you see one of the four women chatting with her domestic help in the kitchen; the film’s attempt at saving itself from being labeled entirely elitist. In another instance, you see the girls scrolling through a matrimonial website and laughing at the applicants who are, visibly, from a lower class. Avni (Sonam Kapoor), a lawyer, seems to be the only one in the group with a steady career. But even she is seen complaining about her job because her office has dirty corridors and a mediocre canteen. The film takes pains to show you the expensive brands that the characters use, so much so that sometimes, the film could pass for a brand commercial. Veere Di Wedding, in it’s fixation with display of luxury, resembles a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, with the ceremoniousness in the staging of scenes replaced by a sense of coolness. Characters speak in a mix of Hindi and English, and for comedy’s sake, use chaste Hindi and refer to Hindu epics.
The plot is centered on the wedding of Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor), the anchor of the narrative. She lives in Sydney with her boyfriend and soon-to-be-husband Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas). Having grown up watching her parents fight behind closed doors, Kalindi is marriage-phobic, and the initial meetings with Rishabh’s family confirm her fears. She and her friends, Avni, Sakshi and Meera (Shikha Talsania), who call themselves veeres, come together in Delhi to prep for the big day, and in the run up to it, the girls come face to face with their worst fears and issues, and solve them one by one.
The film is ultimately about “accepting people as they are”, a statement overtly used by films and websites talking to millennials. The characters cuss freely, dress exactly how they please and talk about sex vehemently as though they are giving it back to all those times when Indian cinema portrayed its women as coy and docile. In one of the most hilarious scenes in the film, Sakshi gives the conservatives and the censor board a middle finger by enacting orgasm as her husband watches open-mouthed. But the film overdoes it, and the fun wears out after a point.
The best part of the film, however, are the performances. The actresses are in their element, evidently having a ball playing roles close to their Instagram-selves. Have we seen them more energetic on screen before? Unlikely. And they share a terrific chemistry. Most of the comic scenes in the film fall flat, thanks to mediocre dialogue, but the cheerfulness of the girls brings the screen alive. Kareena Kapoor, Sumeet Vyas and Shikha are particularly good, while Swara Bhaskar smartly manoeuvers a role she has never played before, as a woman who pretends to be a rebel, but is actually guarding a vulnerable heart.
Veere Di Wedding has some charming moments but they are lost beneath its unwarranted glossiness. The film rightly empathizes with its characters who struggle to hold on to their individuality in a patriarchal world, but falls flat as good cinema because it directs all its energy into making everything look good on screen. It could have been a memorable film on adulthood and female bonding, yet it reduces itself to the cinematic equivalent of a 1000-word article on ’10 Kinds Of Clothes Every Girl Should Have In Her Wardrobe.’
The Veere Di Wedding review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.