Life is a Cinema Hall rating: (2 / 5) (This rating is only a snapshot. The details are in the words.)
It must have seemed like a marvelously enthralling idea on paper. At a time when women – at least, the privileged ones – are finally taking charge of outing their abusers, are more in control of their lives and careers, mainstream Hindi movies needed a project to hold a light to the strong, independent ones out there. A movie that delves into what makes these women tick, a mad mix of humor, rambunctious behavior, and yet a salve soothing what’s hurting them deep inside.
Veere Di Wedding (Friend’s Wedding), directed by Shashanka Ghosh and written by Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri, isn’t that movie. The premise isn’t stunningly original, but that’s okay – for whatever the guys do, the ladies do better, and here’s more power to them and all that. Four childhood friends gather from around the globe to take part in one of their weddings – one that promises to be a nostalgic, funny ride with the mandatory dysfunctionality thrown in to raise the laughs and maybe down some thoughtful moments as well.
Kalindi, played by Kareena Kapoor Khan, has acquiesced to boyfriend Rishabh Malhotra’s (Sumeet Vyas, quietly likeable) marriage proposal, and they fly down to New Delhi to kickstart the big frat India wedding. Which is where Kalindi also meets Rishabh’s quirky, spectacle-loving family, headlined by papa and mama Malhotra (Manoj Pahwa and Ayesha Raza, both splendid), her own besties Avni Sharma (Sonam K Ahuja), Sakshi Soni (Swara Bhaskar), and Meera Sood (Shikha Talsania), the last in tow with her toddler. Here’s where Kalindi’s fraught relationship with her father, Kishan (Anjum Rajabali) and his second wife Paromita (Ekavali Khanna) comes to the fore, as does Kishan’s tetchy communication with his brother, Cookie (Vivek Mushran, saddled with a preference that has no angles in the script). You’re also given a tantalizing glimpse into Kalindi’s relationship with her mother, Ritu (Kavita Ghai).
All of this ought to have come together in an enterprise that, like all true-blue dysfunctional familial dram-coms should have been a satiating and moving experience. What director Ghosh does instead, is focus on mostly laughs and smart one-liners in the first half – and there’s something truly gratifying to see our heroines cuss and let go – which works to some extent before it begins to wear thin. The director seems to realize that too, but instead of digging in the dirt to give some depth, he throws in an inexplicable trip to Phuket that becomes a unfathomable and weak clip-montage of confessions that are mashed with pub visits, dancing, and dips in the pool. None of what comes off those banters rings genuine, and it’s as if Ghosh ticked off the list to tell you what ticks the gals off. There’s a bravely shot masturbation scene and actor Swara Bhaskar does it with gumption. But even that’s a pyrrhic climax and fails to connect to the core of what drives these women emotionally and physically.
Which is what the problem with the movie is. Despite some solid performances from the leading ladies – Kareena Kapoor Khan is superb, having fun and bingeing on self-doubt with the right mix, even as you wish her emotional strength as an actor was exploited to the hilt; Sonam K Ahuja breezes through her role that fortunately doesn’t require too much of weightlifting; Swara Bhaskar is very good, hers an act that’s spirited and devil-may-care; Shikha Talsania is a riot and a natural – their poorly written roles (as of all other actors as well – Neena Gupta is wasted too, sadly) just don’t launch the movie into an orbit of lunatic emotions that you’d expected its arc to. You long for more insight into Kalindi’s relationship with her mother, especially because it is Ritu’s voice over that narrates the opening, pre-interval card, and closing – but that’s just a gimmick as are other plot points, all of which bounce off the script like a bad cheque.
Veere Di Wedding is content with airbrushing its women with expensive costumes, makeup, electronic gadgets, gags, and situations that stream on their surface, ignoring the complexities that flow beneath. Which is a pity, for there’s more to modern women than sex, drinks, and mock and roll.
Life is a Cinema Hall ratings chart
(1 / 5): Don’t bother
(2 / 5): Not too great
(3 / 5): Worth a watch
(4 / 5): Very good
(5 / 5): Drop everything else NOW
Veere Di Wedding is rated A (Restricted to adults). There’s language and some sexual activity.
Veere Di Wedding
Director Shashanka Ghosh Running Time 2h 5 min
Writers Nidhi Mehra, Mehul Suri
Stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam K Ahuja, Swara Bhaskar, Shikha Talsania
Genres Comedy, Drama
Watch the trailer of Veere Di Wedding here: