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By Subhash K. Jha 


Film: "Veere Di Wedding"; Director: Shashanka Ghosh; Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Swara Bhasker, Shikha Talsania, Sumeet Vyas; 

 

You only live once... Right? Best to make it as filled with festivity and joy as possible. "Veere Di Wedding" embraces the hollow yet strangely satisfying rituals (for some) of hedonistic living in Delhi's upper class business community (the kind that Sonam Kapoor has married into) with a rush of fervour that leaves the audience breathless.

The director quickly introduces us to the four childhood friends who grow up into designer glory by the time we settle down in our seats with our popcorn. Then the revelry never stops.

But wait, it's not only about four frocked friends frolicking in froth. There is a secreted sorrow in all of this celebration. Kareena playing Kalindi the quietest, saddest, most confused and the most elegant of the four protagonists, has a distant far-away look in her eyes throughout the film.

This could either be Kalindi's aching regret for missing out on a normal family life (her beloved mom passed away and her dad married a giggly airhead played by the wonderful Ekavali Khanna). Or it could just be Kareena wondering if Taimur has had his Cerelac.

This is a bright, bubbly, bouncy film which marvelously harnesses its actor's actual energy into the characters.

The very talented Swara Bhasker as Sakshi is a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, almost-divorcee splurging on her wealthy parents' money while they sit and watch her wedding video wondering where they went wrong. Swara's "Anarkali Of Arrah" effortlessly gets into Gucci.

Then there is the almost-unknown Shikha Talsania playing a young obsessive mother married to an understanding compassionate Australian (played by Edward Sonnenblick, the guy in "Firangi" whom Kapil Sharma kicked). Shikha's comic timing has to be seen to be believed. Bollywood embraces the other-ness of glamour. And that's good news for actors like Shikha.

Sonam Kapoor, looking like a million bucks, plays the hoity-toity prudish divorce lawyer looking for some man-action in her parched life. Sonam's Avni is arid, waiting to be married. Her encounter with a spot of lust with a prospective groom is outrageously funny. Sonam is in a splendid form filling that fancy clutch-bag with real emotions. Not easy to do.

Blessedly, the men in this chick flick (for the want of a better genre description) are not all seen to be chauvinistic idiots. Some of them are actually quite interesting. The nameless guy who follows (stalks?) Sonam's Avni to every noisy function and even gets her into bed (and even gives her her first big ‘O', we are told) is so loud and cheesy, he is a scream.

Imagine if the drunk Kajol in "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" had actually woken up in Shah Rukh Khan's bed after a night of pleasurable sex. Sonam's Avni in "Veere Di Wedding" is in that position.

Under the glaring light of pleasure, there is a dark sorrow. Regret runs deep in the bowels of the bacchanalia. Though outwardly every character is constantly partying, the hollowness of their existence is felt in throbbing threads of anger and regret. Some of the actors, so busy having a good time, fail to express the tangled mess of troubled unresolved issues that the brilliant script raises.

"Veere Di Wedding" makes us forgive the failures. These are people who don't seem to take themselves seriously. There is laughter and sunshine, and who are we to complain about the constant noise of partying floating in from their plush homes?

Kareena's gay uncle (played by Vivek Mushran) and his live-in partner are concessions to tokenism that needed more fleshing out. But the narrative is too restless and anxious, too impatient to move to the next level of fun, only to rip the revelry at the seams.

This film is great fun to watch. The quartet of gorgeous women are more entertaining than the four guys in "Dil Chahta Hai". One of whom had famously said, "You can't improve on perfection".

True, but you can do a helluva lot with imperfection. Specially if you have the wealth to play around with to hide your ongoing bouts of gaffes and faux pas. "Veere Di Wedding" is one helluva joyride, a designer's delight and yet not quite the air-headed experience it loudly proclaims itself to be.

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