Director: Shashanka Ghosh
Never mind Cyndi Lauper’s enduring feminist anthem, as far as Hindi movies go you’d think it’s always the boys that just wanna have fun. Such a shame that 17 years since Dil Chahta Hai we still haven’t had the definitive female-bonding movie.
Veere Di Wedding, starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, and Shikha Talsania as a quartet of sassy best friends just doing their thang, is clearly intended to plug that hole…but boy does it miss the mark!
When Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor) accepts her boyfriend’s proposal despite her misgivings about marriage, her BFFs show up to support her, and to escape their own lives for a bit. Meera (Shikha Talsania) is coming to terms with how a baby changes everything – from one’s body to one’s sex life. Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) has just broken up with her husband and is discovering what gossips Delhi aunties can be. Divorce lawyer Avni (Sonam Kapoor), incidentally the only one out of the four with anything resembling a career, is dealing with an overbearing mother who won’t stop pestering her about getting married. In the days leading up to Kalindi’s marriage, the foursome bond, bicker, identify what’s holding them back, and ultimately heal, while completely exhausting you in the process.
In the hands of director Shashanka Ghosh, Veere Di Wedding channels everything from Bridesmaids to Sex and the City, but the script (by Mehul Suri and Nidhi Mehra) never lifts off the ground. And it’s not hard to see why. The film’s notions of feminism feel misguided. Its idea of women cutting loose is basically women acting like badly behaved men. So the ladies here swear like sailors, drop f-bombs and coarse Hindi gaalis. They talk freely about sex and orgasms and drink till they pass out and wake up in strangers’ beds. None of it would’ve been a problem if it didn’t feel so labored. Or frankly, if the film delivered even a smidgeon of fun. But Veere Di Wedding isn’t fun. Actually, it’s the opposite of fun – it’s a slog.
You could – and in all fairness, you should – put it down to the lazy, uninspired writing. The plot is wafer-thin, the conflicts are predictable, the meditations on life never profound, and nothing is ever really at stake. You know that unresolved issues with estranged family members will be settled, but you’ll wish they didn’t go about it in such a perfunctory manner.
Every supporting character is reduced to a stereotype and mined for easy laughs: the loud Punjabi father who disregards his son’s request for a small, private wedding because “itni sharabein jo pi hai”; the clingy mother-in-law-to-be, the immaculately turned out gay uncles, the player cousin always ready with a line, the eligible bachelor who’s a mamma’s boy, and more in that vein.
On the upside, some of the dialogue is genuinely funny, and the film’s most inspired moments are the bits in which the four protagonists are just hanging out together, shooting the breeze. To that end, a getaway to Phuket is shrewdly written into the plot, and we’re rewarded with more than one montage of the girls frolicking about in their swimsuits. Shikha Talsania and especially Swara Bhaskar nail the outrageous lines without a hint of inhibition, and Kareena Kapoor brings some feeling into even the most schmaltzy, manipulative scenes.
But these are small pleasures in a two-hour film that frequently feels like a fashion spread sprung to life. I had faint memories of Veere Di Wedding just hours after watching the film because it’s largely contrived and forgettable.
I’m going with a generous two out of five. It’s an opportunity missed.