BY ANUJ RADIA

Veere Di Wedding (VDW) has been the talk-of-the-town since it’s inception. Although it is dubbed as “I’m not a Chick Flick”, the movie is India’s first all-female coming of age buddy film.

Regardless of the trailer’s reception, one cannot deny that the movie is set to challenge the stereotypical portrayal of female characters in Hindi cinema.

Plus, with a stellar cast consisting of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Shikha Talsania and Swara Bhasker – there seems to be a very fresh appeal to this Shashanka Ghosh film.

Despite all the hype and high premise, how good is Veere Di Wedding? Asian Style reviews.

VDW is a high spirited and upbeat coming of age story revolving around the lives of four childhood friends Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor), Avni (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja), Meera (Shikha Talsania) & Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar).

Ten-years-later, when these four best friends reunite, they do not realise how much life has changed from what they expected.

The film is set against the backdrop of Delhi, where the girls are born and brought up – it has a focus on the trials and tribulations in modern day world, regarding family acceptance, marriage & societal perceptions.

One could appreciate the efforts of director Shashanka Ghosh’s endeavours to present a buddy film that is centred on four girlfriends undergoing various circumstances in life.

As such, it is interesting to see how these friends address each other as ‘Veere’ (meaning ‘brothers’ in Punjabi) – this name is usually lovingly addressed from one boy to another.

In Bollywood buddy films, we usually see a group of men sitting together, smoking, drinking alcohol and talking openly about sex. Seeing a group of women, doing the same is quite refreshing. VDW does not shy away from the foul language and sexual references. It is uncensored, quite literally.

From the gossipy aunties to the pompous wedding festivities, Ghosh attempts to tackle stereotypical occurrences and characters which exist in society today.

For instance, scenes like where Kareena’s father-in-law (played by Manoj Pahwa) attends a work phone call, exchanges a few cuss words and then continuing to do Pooja, is an example of the hypocrisy that exists in Indian society today.

However, these interpretations are far from being realistic and natural. It seems as though Ghosh’s interpretation is far too larger-than-life and caricature-ish, which makes it hard (at times) for us as the audience to relate with.

Having said that, there are plenty of humorous quotients in the film which will make one laugh out loud. But with regards to the story, it seems like an episode from the YouTube channels of Girliyapa and All India Bakchod (AIB).

In fact, AIB even made an episode on honest Indian weddings, which also addresses the same stereotypes as VDW. However, why that video was funnier than this ‘non chick-flick’ is because the YouTube channel was not trying to make a statement. Plus, their gags were far more relatable.

I feel as though Veere Di Wedding screams of feminism and despite tagging the film as ‘Im not a chick flick’ – this just makes the project seem too pretentious. It gives the impression that the movie is making an in-your-face statement, rather than having a sole purpose to entertain.

In the past in Bollywood, we have seen instances where strong female characters become the film’s main focus. For instance, Kangana Ranaut in Queen, in which the movie’s storyline was simple yet effective and the comedic timing was not bragging about being bold. With VDW, the boldness and explicit nature seem to be the sole focus of the film – rather than the story and script.

For months now, we have been fascinated by the film’s main cast line-up. More importantly, because this is the first time Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Kareena Kapoor Khan feature in one movie together.

But I must say, both actors are their usual – though Bebo seems much disenfranchised with it all. Nonetheless, she tries her best to portray the part of the commitment-phobe Kalindi well, though she lacks that zest which she usually brings to her roles. Sonam tries her best with the comedy portions. She endeavours to portray her part without going overboard.

Though, the real show-stealers here are Swara Bhasker and Shikha Talsania. Swara, firstly, is dynamite as the drunkard and stoned divorcee Sakshi. The beauty about Swara’s performance is with a role like that, it can be easy for an actor overdo their part. But Swara adds gusto to her character. The way she delivers the one-liners with such ease will make you blow whistles and chuckle.

Shikha has been previously seen in films like Wake Up Sid. In this Shashanka Ghosh film, she does not solely exhibit her comedic streak well, but she also enacts the sentimental quotients effortlessly. The way she blurts out lines like “Toh Teri lene ke Liye degree bhi chahiye?” will completely catch you off guard and tickle the funny bone. As for the rest of the supporting cast, they fit the bill.

On the whole, Veere Di Wedding has some good funny quotients – which makes it an average one-time watch. But the problem is that the film tries way too hard to make a point.

As a result, we are left to question: does Bollywood really need films with excessive swearing and over-the-top explicit nature to show how independent and strong modern Indian women are?

2.5/5 stars

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