It is such a shame that during so many glorious years of Bollywood, no movie has been made focusing on the friendship between girls. Veere Di Wedding surely ups the game by finally shedding light on an only female bond saga. However, the story line failed to make much meaning of it. The movie is nothing as the trailer portrays. If you think that this dramatic amalgamation sends a message of woman empowerment, you are highly mistaken. The trailer creates an illusion towards women empowerment, while the movie actually revolves around typical Bollywood clichés of a dysfunctional family, a token gay uncle, body image issues, a mandatory foreign trip, expected twists and to add on, the ‘all is well’ spirit.
The glamorous ensemble depicts the lives of four friends who deal with the trials and tribulations in the modern-day world regarding family acceptance, marriage and societal perceptions. Shashanka Ghosh, the director, has somehow managed to capture the essence of a girl gang by showing all the ups and downs of female friendship. He makes the gal pals laugh and wail with each other, catch up amidst their exhausting lives and ultimately share a genuine relationship with each other. However, on the entirety, the movie fails to be what it sought out to be. The movie claims to revolt against labels stereotyping women on the basis of their body shape, sex drives, talent, and of course, marriage. However, its take on feminism becomes problematic because a lot of the empowerment the movie shows is simply contingent on being rich enough to afford a spontaneous trip to Thailand to deal with tough times. The only somewhat commendable features of the movie include the attempt to normalise female sexual needs, live-in relationships and an exposition of the complex rituals and forced socialisation in Indian weddings.
While preconceived notions of it being like ‘Sex and the City’ were doing its rounds, you will be relieved to know it is nothing like that legendary movie and does not even closely convey the message portrayed in Sex and that City. The plot is wafer-thin, the conflicts are predictable. There is a sense of uninspired writing. As any another Bollywood movie, it shows how life will fall into place eventually in a perfunctory manner and all you need to make that happen is a trip to Thailand.
Most importantly, the film’s notion of feminism feels misguided, and here are a few instances to justify the same. Reinforcing and backing socially stigmatised practices such as women smoking, drinking, or having a sexual drive gains predominant emphasis, but once you look deeper into the movie, there is a presence of ideas completely opposed to feminism. For instance, a good fifteen minutes in the movie is dedicated to show the denigrated position of maids, thus reaffirming social ideas of them being women who are not good-looking or worthy and seeing the use of the term as an insult. It is strange how the director accepted the dialogue ‘nobody can call my best friend a bai (maid)’ and the actors also delivered it with great diction. A more seriously problematic depiction is that of Sonam Kapoor eventually coming around to not only drunkenly sleeping with but also agreeing to go on a date with a man who very evidently showed signs of eve-teasing her at the beginning of the movie.
Acting performances worth mentioning were that of Swara Bhaskar, followed by Shikha Talsania. Swara Bhaskar as a bold and impetuous Sakshi shows no qualms in speaking her mind. She is frustrated with the society bad-mouthing about her failed marriage and making stories about her cheating on her husband. Swara successfully makes the character her own, and does a great job in portraying its predicament. But, it does not succeed in helping pull up the film.
To conclude, while the gal pals make mistakes, identify what’s holding them back, and ultimately heal, they completely exhaust you in the process. Their ostensible brashness surely paints womanhood in a different colour of acceptable sex drive, but this movie has got it totally socially incorrect. The girls surely do openly talk about their sex lives and hurl abuses, but it is no sort of empowerment if you try to stereotype aunties, bully a maid’s image and worst of all, show subtle reaffirmation of eve-teasing.
Picture Credits: YouTube