Four girlfriends, each a rich offspring. Check. Each with a damned personal life and trying to get away from it. Check. Tons of booze and smoke. Check. A typically maddening mother-in-law. Check. A ridiculously big, fat (and cliched) Punjabi wedding. Check. Veere Di Wedding tries so hard to be fun and 'cool' that it runs out of breath. It gasps and does not survive.
Was I trying to pick 'moral' flaws here? Certainly not. This is the 21st century and we are all in for women making their own damn choices on the kind of sex they want, the kind of a marriage they choose, the number of children they desire, the flavor of pasta they eat and what not? But do you set a norm for what looks ideally 'classy', 'empowering' or 'fun'? No, you don't.
Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor Khan), Avni (Sonam Kapoor), Meera (Shikha Talsania) and Sakshi (Swara Bhasker) were inseparable when in school and the love was never lost. Avni is haunted by her mother, who wants to marry her off. Sakshi's marriage is hanging from the cliff. Meera is deserted by her family for having married against their will. But as Kalindi agrees to beau Rishabh's (Sumeet Vyas) proposal of marriage, the four of friends reunite to celebrate their Veere's wedding.
Kareena's marriage triggers most of the film, setting the moods, both good and bad. At times, the humour is really on point, dialogues are edgy and the comic timing is right. At other times, the 'coolness' is just plastic. I wonder if all films revolving around a girl gang have to look and feel the same. The Kapoors might really, really want to convince us that it's not a chick flick. They also might emphasize hard that they aren't trying to be empowering here. But the truth is, they don't stay true to either. Hence, Shashanka Ghosh's girls are high on abuses (because why not? Men do too) and resort to an expensive holiday to recover from a setback. A more ordinary woman with real problems but a not-so-fancy life probably has no place in a Bollywood film. But more than that, the definition of an upfront, in-your-face woman OR a troubled, sex-starved woman isn't one that's drowning in alcohol or smoking out the sassiness. When a thing of choice becomes a representative status quo in popular culture, it's alarming.
All the performers including the four actresses have given it their best shot. The film largely runs on Kareena, her flamboyant screen presence which is complemented by Sonam, Swara, and Shikha. But what's equally important are the judgments they bring on your plate and the questions that they raise. For how long will Bollywood only pick weddings that are overdone, mothers who are melodramatic, brides who're confused? In its favour, Veere Di Wedding also has moments of pure love, free will, unconditional friendship and positive conclusions. But does it stand up as a film that will move you? It doesn't.