Shashanka Ghosh’s “Veere Di Wedding” (Friend’s Wedding) might scream itself hoarse that it is “not a chick flick”, but it is obvious from the beginning that it draws inspiration from one of the biggest chick flicks of our times – Darren Star’s “Sex and the City”.
It’s hard not to notice the similarities – the outrageous clothes, the profanity, the incessant discussions about men, and the friendship between the women that form the basis for the show. Ghosh and his leading cast make enough adjustments to ‘Indianise’ the film, bringing in elements like interfering in-laws, ostentatious Indian weddings and pushy mothers who want their daughters to either get married or stay married. But at its heart, this is an Indian redux of Carrie Bradshaw and friends.
The Carrie here seems to be Kalindi (Kareena Kapoor Khan), who has been proposed to by her partner of three years, Rishabh (Sumeet Vyas), but is unable to get over her reservations about the institution of marriage. She’s surrounded by three of her oldest school friends. Avni (Sonam Kapoor Ahuja) is a lawyer who can handle tough clients in court but is unable to counter the incessant nagging of her mother (Neena Gupta) about finding asuitable boy and settling down. Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) is the foul-mouthed, rebellious one who is also struggling with her divorce. Meera (Shikha Talsania) is married and living in America, but estranged from her conservative Indian family because they cannot accept her white husband.
When Kalindi announces that she is getting married, her friends rally around her, protecting her from her overbearing future in-laws and her own broken family. It would seem four seemingly smart, rich and urban women would have something else to talk about, but in Ghosh’s world, all they do is think about men and marriage.
This movie would fail the Bechdel test miserably. But it would pass the chick flick test. “Veere Di Wedding” has the humour and pizzazz down pat. Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania get all the best dialogue because they are not saddled with emotional tracks like the other two leading ladies.
In terms of humour, “Veere Di Wedding” works well, but it stutters when it comes to the emotional conflicts, which feel unreal and contrived. The sets are opulent, the costumes are expensive and these characters all live in the rarefied bubble that is Delhi high society.
Thankfully, at least three out of the four actresses manage to put in a heartfelt performance. Sonam Kapoor stands out like a sore thumb in a laboured and awkward turn as Avni. Her performance symbolises all that is wrong with the film – it values superficiality over substance.