Veere Di Wedding
Director: Shashankha Ghosh
Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam K Ahuja, Swara Bhasker, Shikha Talsania
Veere Di Wedding has a problem at its foundation that is hard to shake off. It also plants a doubt in our minds about its intentions. Is it to illustrate a systemic issue in a world populated and controlled by men, meaning, is this a problem--within the film--at all? The women in Veere Di Wedding — they call themselves Veeres--are defined by the men in their lives, present, past and future. Scratch that. Defined is the wrong word.
The issues in their lives are the handiwork of men — a father, a husband, a fiancé. Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor), who lost her mother early, has issues with her straying father. This affects her idea of marriage, and therefore her problems with her fiancé Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas) and his family. Sakshi Soni (Swara Bhaskar) has had an unhappy marriage, is on the verge of divorce, afraid to broach the topic with her parents — who are filmed behind closed glass doors with Sakshi always outside, unable to step into their side and declare what she wants.
Meera (Shikha Talsania) is married to a foreigner, a step that has separated her from family. We don’t see that family. We see only the father and that’s all the film will give us. The film is narrated by Kalindi’s mother from the other side of life, whom the four loved and respected equally, and, even now, look up to as some sort of womanly ideal. The last remaining Veere is Avni (Sonam Kapoor), whose family boasts of the absence of men. There is no dad, no brother, no boyfriend. There isn’t even a mention, by Avni or by her mother (Neena Gupta). The mother’s day job is to fill that male void, browsing matrimonial websites all day and giving her daughter the shortlist while Avni, as a divorce lawyer, helps unhappy couples sever their vows in court.
This is the only intriguing part of the film. The happy, content family is the one that has no male presence. It is also noteworthy that we know next to nothing about their careers. Kalindi seems to be good at doodling, but what does she do in Australia? We don’t know what Meera does, whichever first world country she lives in. In one scene, Sakshi’s husband implores her to look for a job and she dismisses this idea.
But Avni? Of course, we know what she does. She’s a lawyer and a successful one at that. Avni seems the most sorted out of everyone in the group, each having committed their own mistakes. They own up to it and are trying to get past it at their own pace. In the class of society they belong to, the South Delhi demographic, being woke is nothing but doing the decent thing. Avni is the only one who seems up to it. She is the only person who is seen having a conversation with someone belonging to a different social class. She talks to her house help, a victim of domestic violence, and tells her she is going to help her get out of that marriage.
The entitled brats with a handful of first world problems steal from an ice cream cart, when the owner is distracted. It is Avni who goes back and leaves some money on the cart. Have the men in their lives affected the three women so much that they’ve forgotten to feel everything from their own emotions to empathy for others? What is this utopian world Avni and her mother are living in that they are happy, stress-free, understand each other better than any other pair in the film, and their only problem is that they can’t find a man who can be Avni’s partner for life? There is even a joke where the mother wonders if Avni is a lesbian based on what she’s wearing.
Apart from that this Veeres’ version of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara could have been funnier, snappier, zanier. It takes itself a little too seriously and gives us nothing in return. Yes, it is great to see unabridged lines straight from the streets with cuss words intact. They do look and act like people from the real world, albeit from the top one per cent.
The film is designed to be onanistic in nature, not to mention a physical manifestation of the same that can be considered its own achievement. Maybe that is the success of a film like Veere Di Wedding. Not that the film is good, but that it got made. Its positives exist despite itself. If the boys can get together, bankroll a losing cause and make a pointless Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, then the women can too. It signals their right to be superficial. Now that the film is out after all the posturing, we can go ahead and make better cinema.