“Veere Di Wedding”… A plasticky but passable entertainer whose existence may not be the worst thing in the world

Posted on June 3, 2018

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Spoilers ahead…

Based on the trailer of Shashanka Ghosh’s Veere Di Wedding, I was afraid it was going to be two hours of women saying “fuck.” I’m happy to report that’s not the case. They also say “chooth,” “maa ki aankh” and “john.” The latter, in case you were wondering, refers not to one of Christ’s apostles but to what urbandictionary.com calls, rather charmingly, “a dick large enough to wreck Godzilla’s vagina.” This film, in other words, is less about The Last Supper than The Lasting Shtupper. Let’s begin with the man (Edward Sonnenblick) who owns that john. In a stunningly imaginative feat of screenwriting, he’s named… John, and he’s married to Meera (the warm and very likeable Shikha Talsania). Her family hasn’t accepted their marriage, and so he’s seen in bed, in whichever foreign country they’re in, poring over a Hindi dictionary. That’s how Meera knows the Hindi word for orgasm: charam sukh. Going by the reaction of some viewers around me, this revelation clearly hit the G-spot.

Veere Di Wedding tells three more stories, about three of Meera’s friends. Swara Bhaskar is saddled with the worst track. She plays Sakshi, whose reason for splitting up with her husband is a lot of fuss about nothing: a storm in a D-cup. Sonam Kapoor overacts hysterically as Avni, a divorce lawyer who cannot land a man. A few decades ago, Arth showed us that a woman was not defined by marriage. If the Shabana Azmi character’s journey was a nineteenth-century novel, Avni’s is an International Women’s Day tweet. But Vishwas Kini, as an amiable dolt named Bhandari who pursues her, infuses some fun into the proceedings. Avni, at first, nurses morning-after regret when she wakes up beside him. But Bhandari just flashes a goofy grin. She may keep saying “no,” but he remembers what she said a few hours earlier: “yes, yes, oh God, yes!”

Kareena Kapoor Khan — who looks fantastic – plays Kalindi, the fourth of these unapologetically rich girls. The film could have been called Cheques and the City: an average-looking guy is laughed off as “below poverty line.” It feels crass. In this world, it also feels true. Kalindi’s track – her impending marriage to Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas) – is the longest, the one with the most girth. Kareena is encouraged to mug broadly — her horrified reactions to traditions around the wedding have you wondering if she’s never been to India or grown up in an Indian family, but Kalindi and Rishabh are a couple you root for. They are palpably together. The romcom parts of their relationship are the best parts of Veere Di Wedding  — though the only aspect of the film that makes you slap your head and exclaim, “Genius!” is the casting of Neena Gupta, who scandalised the nation by having a child out of wedlock, as a marriage-obsessed mother.

Veere Di Wedding, written by Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri, is a lazy film, too content with easy zingers. Issues are raised and resolved in so little time, it looks like a new scripting technique: premature elucidation. But whenever the film doesn’t try too hard to show you how hip it is, it’s not entirely unlikeable. Yes, something like Parched is a far better example of female bonding (with gloriously colourful language), but it was seen by some 25 people. It’s important, even through an imperfect film like this one, to speak about women’s issues to a large audience: that it’s okay to masturbate (or even for a woman to desire sex), that there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re on the heavier side and find yourself in a swimsuit, that marriage isn’t everything, that having drinks in a bar doesn’t make you “easy.” As plastic as it is, Veere Di Wedding does for heterosexual women what Dostana did for gay men. It makes it safe for bedroom topics to be discussed in the drawing room.

Copyright ©2018 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi