Four friends, lawyer Avni Sharma (Sonam Kapoor), Australia resident Kalindi Puri (Kareena Kapoor), mother-of-one Meera (Shikha Talsania), and spoilt brat Sakshi Soni (Swara Bhasker) are childhood friends who grow up to be the thickest of friends hailing from the richest of households in Delhi. They’re brash, loud, with their make-up on point at all times. When not drinking or having fun, they talk about marriage, something that becomes the catalyst for the film thanks to Kalindi getting engaged to her boyfriend Rishab (Sumeet Vyas).
The theme of the film is about women who let their hair down and don’t give in to conventions, about girls who rebel with a cause and wave that middle finger to all those who scream ‘log kya kahenge?’ [what will people say?]. It’s a pity that a film with an interesting cast, and bearing in mind the theme, does little to further the cause of ‘girl power’. Notice that we are not using the term ‘feminism’ because some people from the cast are clearly too scared to use it.
The film has bits where they talk about why sex matters (with rightful reasons), openly emphasises on the pleasures of orgasms (again, with rightful reasons), and then go on a roll why you must always choose your girls over your boyfriend. Yet, it’s the same film that includes a victim of domestic violence in the same scene when something funny happens. The victim, Avni’s help, is weeping away after getting a beating from her husband. Avni, a divorce lawyer, is neither comforting nor does she assure, choosing to squeal with delight when she hears of her friend’s engagement as opposed to focusing on the real issue. It’s baffling because not only does it reek of selective empowering of women, Veere Di Wedding does a huge disservice to the cause they sought out to fix.
Kareena Kapoor Khan, right before the film’s release, spoke about how she believes in equality but is not a feminist, a rather tone-deaf comment considering that the foundation of feminism IS equality. But she’s not the only clueless one here; the entirety of the film has characters with lots of money, no real jobs, and just too much time in hands to go on giving sermons on how, together, they must empower each other when in actuality, they don’t go beyond the bubble they’ve created for themselves. The protective bubble that lets you believe that when a woman swears, craves sex, drinks and smokes, and doesn’t care about what people say – they’ve achieved peak levels of equality.
Sonam Kapoor, who recently got married, plays a woman who is constantly forced to consider marriage. Her character flits in and out, often getting lost between those numerous designer bags and clothes she parades around with. Even waking up in the morning includes her blush on cheeks and eyeliner intact. It’s as though a make-up artist is at her beck and call even when she’s asleep. As Avni, Sonam doesn’t do much considering it’s not just an underwritten character, it’s just packed with layers and layers of superficiality.
Swara Bhasker, as the wild ‘besharam‘ woman, is hard to believe. The same actress who did a stellar job in Anaarkali of Arrah, a film which dealt with consent and having a mind of one’s own, is a complete contrast in Veere Di Wedding. She isn’t bad, but she isn’t convincing enough as the rich, bored woman who blows money and deals with a nearing alcohol addiction. Regarded as a thinking actor, you crave to watch her say or do something mildly intelligent in the film. But, much like the other half-baked female leads, there’s little depth to explore.
Shikha Talsania, though, is the actress who walks away with a better deal. It’s often a trope where a fat actress is roped in only for the jokes. But not Shikha’s Meera. She’s smart, she suffers from real problems such as dealing with a difficult father, a husband from a land so far, and a baby who demands a lot of attention. But she doesn’t make it her world, instead soldiering on with better possibilities and a better future. For Bollywood, albeit not her debut, Shikha is definitely a good find and has lots to offer in terms of talent.
Veere De Wedding, if not for the actors or lack of story, is heavy on product placements. And they’re not subtle! Right from Bikaji’s savouries to Amul ice creams, Air India flights, and HSBC credit cards, the conspicuous placements would make a good drinking game of ‘spot the brand’.
Feminism, friendship, and marriage aside, Veere Di Wedding could’ve been so much more, but all it does is leave you with the unsatisfied feeling of watching yet another movie that does not live up to its hype.