Veere Di Wedding is not a chick flick Image: Balaji Motion Pictures
There are good films and there are bad films. And after everything else, there are dangerous films. Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker, Shikha Talsania and Sumit Vyas starrer Veere Di Wedding is stuck somewhere in the middle of being bad and dangerous. And a look at a film that dealt with kind of similar issues in a less glamorous, more believable way, Lipstick Under My Burkha (starring Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kamra, Plabita Borthakur, Vikrant Massey, etc), is what we need to understand where Veere fails.
Masturbation. Swara is sprawled on a king-size bed, pleasuring herself with a toy obviously not meant for kids. And her husband walks in on her, she is embarrassed but it is THAT moment, hence she cannot come to explain herself, she just has to come. When Ratna Pathak finds herself getting sucked into a whirlpool of emotions as she reads erotic literature, unaware unaccustomed to this sensation her body is experiencing, all she manages to do is cool off under a tap of running cold water.
Kudos to both films for showing women exploring themselves and discovering their bodies, progressive cinema indeed, but while the former extracts nothing but nervous giggle and awkward laughter, the latter hits just the right spot. And we know just how crucial the right spot is in this context.
Veere has been screaming from rooftops claiming that it is not a chick flick. After the borderline crass rendition of masturbation, Veere has managed to put itself up there alongside Kya Kool Hain Hum and Grand Masti, something that cannot be the aim of any cinema.
Of course, that's not the only thing Veeres could learn. Swara aka Sakshi is a rich crybaby who runs to mommy and daddy every time she's in trouble but denounces their existence when they show concern. Konkona cries and wipes her tears herself, picks herself up and does something about the horrific situation she's stuck in because no one else will come to her rescue.
Both Kareena and Aahana are indecisive about what they want — to love, to rebel, to escape — although there're shadows of Sonam, too, in this. But Aahana is neither Miss Goody-Two-Shoes like Sonam nor does she blame her family (remember how everything worked out when Kareena's father and uncle ended their feud?) for her emotional unavailability. We could go on, but...
The social milieu of the two films is different. Agreed. The Veeres can fly off to Phuket whereas the Lipstick girls are stuck in their regressive mohallah. But whoever told you that being rich comes with a complimentary ticket to fantasy land was wrong. Even the guys at Mascard know that money can't buy everything.
What is interesting is that both films are co-produced by one of the most powerful women in the industry — Ekta Kapoor and her Balaji Motion Pictures. Yet the ideology is so different — Lipstick shows you a dream and eggs you to chase it, Veere shows you a dream and tells you can't afford it. Or could it be a thing of the female perspective that Alankrita Shrivastav (director of Lipstick...) brought to the table and Shashanka Ghosh (director, Veere...) couldn't? You know, the entire theory about what men think women want VS what women really want.