Film Review: Veere Di Wedding
Sex and the City meets every Hollywood chick flick in this flippant and fashionable story of four girlfriends. Swara Bhaskar channels Kim Cattrall’s Samantha as Sakshi, while Avni (Sonam Kapoor) is an obedient daughter and lawyer echoing Cynthia Nixon’s Miranda.
Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri’s story is about four school friends—Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor), Avni, Sakshi and Meera (Shikha Talsania)—now grown up and reunited for Kalindi’s impending wedding to Rishabh. Avni’s mother (Neena Gupta) is scouring matrimonial websites to find a match for her daughter. Meera is carrying baggage of her father’s rejection of her American husband. Sakshi’s wealthy parents are burdened by the bills for a destination wedding that hit the skids in less than a year. Kalindi is dealing with her dysfunctional family and her fiance Rishabh’s (Sumeet Vyas) voluminous and smothering one.
Weddings can be overwhelming at the best of times, and none more than the big fat Punjabi Delhi wedding. Kalindi tries hard to take the demands of rituals in her stride, but swinging off a crescent moon in a spangly gown is where she draws the line.
A girl’s trip to Phuket provides perspective—and plenty of opportunity for the girls to drink, dance and parade in designer resort wear. These are contemporary urban, entitled but empowered women who smoke, drink, swear and speak about sex openly. This is indeed a refreshing demographic for Hindi cinema. These girls may dress in haute couture and wake in the mornings with impeccable make up, but their attitude, preoccupations and easy banter are quite relatable.
One can’t help but think that in the hands of a different director the onscreen happenings might have found some deeper meaning. But Shashanka Ghosh’s shot blocking, the camera work and the frivolity of the first half are compensated for in the second half. Problems and characters become more real, situations get resolved; these girls don’t just wanna have fun. Gradually they demonstrate that they really do have chutzpah.
One the subtler aspects of the script is the way in which the relationship between parents and children pans out. There’s a delightful scene where Sakshi finally tells her parents the truth about her marital problems and the unexpected reaction is what subverts the status quo. It’s moments like that which lift Veere Di Wedding from a fashion show to a slice of life film.
Bhaskar relishes her role as a foul-mouthed brat in a loser marriage, but her handling of the cigarette is so awkward you wish Ghosh had given her some other habit. Talsania owns Meera with her love handles and comfort eating. Sonam Kapoor doesn’t always seem at ease as Avni. Kareena Kapoor Khan is all-in as the overwhelmed bride-to-be, but at times she seems to be sharing her bemusement at the events unfolding around her with the audience.
Fortunately, the four lead actresses meld together seamlessly. They laugh and cry together and stay united through good times and bad. While the men are adjuncts to the plot, they pitch in sportingly. Vivek Mushran is understated as the gay uncle, Vishwas Kinni is crackling as Bhandari, the ostentatious suitor who doggedly pursues Avni, and Sumeet Vyas gets a meaty rule as the thoughtful fiancé, playing Rishabh with restrain.
Everything about this film is deliberately put together, like the cushion covers co-ordinated with kaftans and teacups. If only, like Meera, who carries her girth with aplomb, all of Veere Di Wedding had been as natural and comfortable.
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