Dear Veeres, let’s stop pretending this is about feminism okay

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All sound and fury (and high fashion!) signifying nothing – this, unfortunately, sums up the experience called Veere Di Wedding. Bold and beautiful alright; but sorry, nothing brave happening here, folks. It’s all gorgeous faces in famous brands, mouthing cusswords, guzzling alcohol, rushing into crazy decisions - and rarely if ever really touching our hearts. Any attempt to scratch the surface here goes as deep as a layer of perfectly-applied make-up: Lovely to look at yes, but that’s about it.

Early on you get an inkling about the core of the film, which centres around four-poor-little-rich-girls in uppity Dilli. Avni (Sonam Kapoor)’s maid enters her house, her face covered in ugly bruises. A divorce lawyer, Avni makes some random statements about teaching the woman’s abusive husband a lesson. But there’s a line Avni drops so casually, it is shocking in its insensitivity… She tells her maid something that goes like, “We have to do something to sort out this problem. I can’t have you serving me tea every morning with a battered face.” Yes, that cruel.

RECOMMENDED READ: Veere Di Wedding Film Review: All gloss and glam, hardly any soul

Avni drops another telling line when she tries to show her support to Sakshi (Swara Bhasker), whose husband berates her for dressing sloppier than a maid – the word used in the derogatory sense again. Avni hugs Sakshi and tells her she will not have anyone call her best friend a ‘bai’. Cruel and caring in one swift sentence; our veeres probably don’t even know they are like that only.

We should perhaps know better than to expect any real and lasting messages on female empowerment from a chick flick that kept proclaiming it wasn’t one. Four sassy chickitas - one running away from marriage, another longing to tie the knot, the third separated from her husband and the fourth yearning for her father’s blessing after she has botched up relations by marrying a foreigner… and it’s marriage that’s at the centre of their focus. The sheer irony of the situation is blithely lost on them.

The film is a fashionista’s paradise. The veeres swan around at every moment in clothing that would cost ordinary folks their annual salary thrice over. They drive the swishest Bentleys, live in well-appointed homes, and can even take off on a super luxury Thai vacation without blinking a mascara-ed eye. Their personal issues eventually come off as little more than ‘first-world problems’ that one simply cannot sympathize with.

The veeres are near picture-perfect creatures who appear to simply skim life’s surface. Worse, the film does not do justice to their common sense quotient either. Take Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor Khan), the central character. On the one hand, she decides to grit her teeth and go through with the big fat Punju wedding only because it matters so much to her fiance’s family. Just as you start to appreciate her maturity, she starts to roll her eyes at every excess by her over-the-top in-laws till she eventually squabbles with the poor fiancé onstage, demanding, “Are we getting married for ourselves or for our family?”

Not even Sakshi (Swara Bhasker), who otherwise impresses with her straight-talking and her wisecracks, is given a decent amount of grey matter. She allows herself to be blackmailed by her cad of a husband simply because he caught her using a vibrator to pleasure herself. Inexplicably dumb behaviour from a woman who is otherwise a sharp lass who has her wits about her.

If we are to believe the veeres, the best way to deal with a wedding that is not of your liking is to run away and leave all your loved ones panicking. The best way to deal with rejection is to get smashed and land up in bed with a man whose full name you don’t know. The best way to deal with no sex in your marriage is to lie to your gal pals about your husband John’s John.

A film does not become daring by portraying a past-middle-aged couple getting it on, on a sofa in the living room while the man’s daughter (Kareena) sits eating her breakfast at the table nearby. The stepmother stopping mid-act to turn to ask the girl if she is comfortable is worse still.

Under all the haha-heehee (mostly forced) there are too many uncomfortable truths that Veere… prefers to ignore. Or maybe the fault is all ours in expecting a more engaging, realistic experience from a film that is the downgraded Hindi screen version of Sex and the City.

 

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