We now have a high-spirited female version of Dil Chahta Hai (2001), for lack of a better comparison, with mainstream actors. VDW gets the core of breezy group friendships right and doesn’t delve much into life stories as its depth lies elsewhere. The awesome foursome glide in tandem taking us on a rib-tickling, racy and memorable adventure instead.
Freely living in their space without filter, we have seen these girls in real life but they have been missing from Hindi cinema. A young mother needs to party hard; a bride demands a drink to ease her stress; a single girl leads a kiss because she is horny; a woman screams expletives into the phone. No judgment. No justification, aid or loophole either.
Wow. Like, really. Wow.
Not every venture featuring lead women actors needs to bear the burden of being chick flick or feminist. There is a commercial place between frivolous and serious which can still convey an important message by just being. This is that.
Director Shashanka Ghosh and writers Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri do an outstanding job with the storytelling, script and dialogue and this is where true gold is. An ordinary story turns extraordinary with mundane scenes that knock Hindi cinematic boundaries subtly and beautifully, boldly touching upon and normalising aspects of female sexuality, motherhood, marriage, and single life.
Commitment issues in a woman, check. She races into a toilet at the mere thought of marriage before saying yes; the audience I am watching it with goes into double splits. Perceptions of motherhood, check, check. She vomits a mad, drunk night into the toilet pot as her two-year-old cutely imitates “uwooah”. More amused women in the cinema. Masturbation, check, check, check. She is gadget-happy, nothing comes between her and a good time. Giggles and laughs. A man who has different views of wife vs. girlfriend, check, check, check, check. She calls him out pronto, and finds a man who doesn’t. The Nirmal and Bhandari characters elicit the right responses from women.
The lives of Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor), Avni (Sonam Kapoor), Sakshi (Swara Bhasker) and Meera (Shikha Talsania) unfold in an OTT Delhi wedding setting which works like a charm. Especially with the banter and colouful vocabulary. The girls meet after ten years for Kalindi’s wedding. With dysfunctional families in the mix, life’s complicated while they are caught amid the flamboyant and hilarious celebration prep. All that jazz does happen for real, complete with a couple mounted on a fake moon and a wedding scene with varying degrees of flashiness. So it gets both the Delhi wedding culture and sarcasm down pat.
Kalindi fears marriage even as she accepts boyfriend Rishabh’s (Sumeet Vyas) marriage proposal. Their relationship is captured well. Everything is right and yet external pressures weigh on them. Avni struggles with the lows of single life, a pushy mother completing the picture. A suitor tanks and a fling soars who she judges rather unfairly. Only she gets over it, unlike her male counterpart Nirmal. Sakshi is battling a separation from her husband, trying to steer her mind away from the final decision by having a good time partying. Happily married to American John (Edward Sonnenblick), Meera is having body image issues after the baby.
The choreography is excellent, mapping the comical wedding dances and the friends’ emotional journeys. Music is racy and blends well with the grandeur, despite varied composers. Shashwat Sachdev composes the loony Pappi Le Loon (Sunidhi Chauhan ♥), crazy Bhangra Ta Sajda, peppy Bass Gira De Raja and the melancholic Aa Jao Na. White Noise creates the quirky Laaj Sharam and Vishal Mehra the lovely title song Veere and lively Dagmag Dagmag. Tareefan is super sizzling.
The editing by Shweta Venkat Matthew is meticulous, crisp and in tune with the entertaining and warm tone. Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s cinematography is immersive.
Performances are above par, across the lead and supporting cast. Neena Gupta (Avni’s mother) is graceful, Anjum Rajabali and Kavita Ghai (Kalindi’s father and mother) are effective, Ayesha Raza and Manoj Pahwa (Rishabh’s mother and father) are rollicking. Alka Kaushal is perfect as Santosh Aunty. Vivek Mushran (Cookie Chacha) and Sukesh Arora (Keshav) rock as an everyday gay couple (sans usual mannerisms).
The few good men supporting the women are talented. Vishwas Kini makes Bhandari likeable and balanced despite the initial creepiness. Edward is earnest as the quintessential husband. Sumeet Vyas is A-excellent and holds his own splendidly opposite Kareena. They are quirkily flawless as a pair.
KS3 are electric and magnificent as buddies. They nail the Delhi banter, camaraderie, body language, chemistry, insecurities, parallel long-distance lives and naughtily push each other’s buttons.
Kareena Kapoor is exquisitely understated, lending calm and charm to Kalindi. Her eyes do most of the talking. Sonam Kapoor makes Avni delightfully goofy, correct and heartfelt. Watch her regal stance when she interacts with the brazen Bhandari. Shikha Talsania‘s Meera is sweet as sugar and mad as a hatter as the need arises. Her ‘mother dairy’ act is effortless and sparkling, she delivers some saucy lines with deadpan relish. Swara Bhasker’s Sakshi is the knockout performance in technique and spirit. The masturbation scene will etch her name in history. She’s the real bro, effortlessly wild and cool.
It is six on five for the VDW team. The one extra is for educating us urbanites on what an orgasm is called in Hindi. Khh baby khh. Send your thinking brain on a vacay to experience the joys of this Charam Sukhh.
Rating: 6 out of 5
Veere Di Wedding. Director: Shashanka Ghosh. Writers: Nidhi Mehra, Mehul Suri. Players: Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Shikha Talsania, Swara Bhasker, Sumeet Vyas, Vishwas Kini. Music: Shashwat Sachdev, Vishal Mehra. Theatrical release: Balaji Motion Pictures, Anil Kapoor Films & Communication Network, Saffron Broadcast & Media.
Hamida Parkar is a freelance journalist and founder-editor of cinemaspotter.com. She writes on cinema, culture, women and social equity.