Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Veer-Zaara


It finally happened! A Bollywood romance that my wife didn't like but I did! My wife thought the movie was too slow while the romance was too quick. While I agree with those comments(and not just because I am scared of her!), I still liked Veer-Zaara for its clean romance, likeable characters, positive tone and gorgeous scenery.

The film opens with Veer(SRK), a squadron leader in the Indian Air force, in a Pakistani jail. After 22 years, he now has a chance at freedom since a Pakistani lawyer Saamiya(Rani Mukherjee), for who he will be the first client, is willing to take up his case. So Veer opens up to her about his love for a Pakistani woman Zaara(Preity Zeinta) and how it led to his being jailed.

Bollywood romances usually follow a predictable storyline where boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, they separate due to some contrived misunderstanding and finally unite after the misunderstanding is cleared up. Veer-Zaara follows this too but only upto a point. Shah Rukh and Preity meet in a rather unique way as he rescues her from an accident. Their romance is cinematic since it takes him only a moment and her, a day, to fall in love. But their strong characters do help take some of the unbelievability away.

The point where most movies(including ones which were delightful upto that point, like Hum Tum) lose me is the separation. It requires the lead pair to not talk clearly or do something equally stupid to create a wedge in a contrived manner. But Veer-Zaara sidesteps that nicely. There is no real misunderstanding between SRK and Preity and they are in love even when they separate. Like Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai, their letting go of their love is due to their caring for others around them. So their characters remain likeable and earn our respect.

Veer-Zaara could rival a Vikraman film in its positive outlook and the goodness of its characters(atleast the Indian ones and even a few Pakistani ones!) I mean, in how many films would you see a father wholeheartedly asking his Hindu son to earn the love of a Muslim woman, let alone a Pakistani woman?! But this positive touch leads to some strong scenes like the one where Preity's mother visits Shah Rukh to ask for her daughter back.

The movie caught me a bit by surprise by a revelation in the second half but it was definitely a pleasant surprise. And Yash Chopra's experience shone through in the way the buildup and the scene itself were constructed. But another key scene in the climax wasn't handled quite as well and the scene where the people clap in the court is positively hokey.

Inspite of the makeup, Shah Rukh looks like a young man acting like an old man rather than a real old man. But he is his usual likeable self in the flashback and doesn't overdo it. Preity looks every bit a Pakistani woman. Rani gets the chance to prove her acting chops only as the movie proceeds and delivers her lines with conviction. Amitabh and Hemamalini are delightful in their cameos inspite of their characters being quite cinematic. The movie takes us to some gorgeously scenic places. In fact, I think the reason I didn't find the romance between Shah Rukh and Preity boring was because I was dazzled by the cinematography and locales that provided the backdrop!

17 Comments:

At 12:56 AM, Blogger bhuvan said...

The movie was quite engrossing, up until the point it turned from a doomed romance to a court drama in which Rani Mukjherjee had to prove her worth against a former ally. When SRK made his final speech I was bored beyond belief, but the flashbacks were delightful, beautifully shot and quite rousing.

 
At 1:35 AM, Blogger ioiio said...

preeti Zintakkaaaga edha venumnaalum paakkalaam

 
At 1:41 AM, Blogger skanda said...

"veer zhara" was so boring that i almost wanted to leave the movie half way. watch the film for amitabh and hema malini..they r superb in thier cameos..

 
At 2:09 AM, Anonymous victor said...

hey bj

agreed 'veer zaara' was a good film... very 70's bollywood

though I also agree w/ bhuvan, the whole court drama at the end was too much

though other than that the film was enjoyable

btw bj have you seen 'sarkar' yet... the film is brilliant! it is a must see on the big screen

vic

 
At 8:24 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Balaji, good review.. But, me and my wife both agreed that it was a 'needless tragedy'. Too much of a candyfloss but second part of the flashback was boring (though my wife is a die-hard Shahrukh Fan)..

When we analyzed that, we found it could have been averted the moment Preity's marriage with Manoj Bajpai was cancelled..

 
At 10:01 AM, Anonymous ram said...

young actor kezhavan vesham-naa adhu nayagan mattum thaan...

indha hindi padam elaam poota case...

(Sorry, my Tamizh-patru knows no reason!)

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger pagala'k' said...

Hi Balaji,
Nice review. But, sometimes directors err in making a movie 'too' picture perfect that it makes the viewer concentrate less on the plot and more on the clothes and locales that our actors seem to enjoy. Cinematography should be unobtrusive and should complement the film. Like for example Paheli the recent SRK movie was made in Rajasthan but Rani for some reason is always as fresh as a flower and the clothes she wear are gorgeous and Ravi Chandran is too damn good behind the camera that he never lets you to pause and think of the inconsistencies.

 
At 12:58 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

bhuvan, agree completely. loved the movie until the courtroom scene...

skanda, naturally i agree only with the 2nd part of your comment :) amitabh and hemamalini were great.

victor, true. i really liked the clean romance sans vulgarity which is so difficult to find these days...
waiting for the dvd for sarkar. but have quite a few hindi movies to catch up on before that!

 
At 1:00 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

pagalak, interesting observation... i think that happens in the case of movies where the plot is thin. and i've been reading the same about paheli in other reviews too...

 
At 8:22 AM, Blogger sen said...

Balaji,
I personally feel writing more than 5 lines about this movie is indulgence, a deliberate murder of fresh ideas and celebrating mediocrity.

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

senthil, agree that there were no fresh ideas. but don't think the film was mediocre. Its rare that a Hindi romance keeps me engaged for three-quarters of the running time. so thats something :)

and i'd rather have old ideas packaged interestingly than fresh ideas that fail to hold my interest...

 
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At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello - well as someone who is relatively new to bollywood...I guess my opinion might differ a little. Veer Zaara is one of my favorite movies because of the points it is trying to make. The speech at the end was lovely because of its message. It could have been hokey and it could have been better. But would a prisoner who had been silent for 22 years, worn down, be able to write something utterly elegant? That to me, was actually realistic. A man who had sacrificed his life for a woman, who is now just there behind him, wants to tell the world he is not angry, he is only sad that all of the problems have arisen out of the notion that we are all different...and that our differences should allows us to impose undue harm on others.
-kimbrulait

 

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