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!