Confession time. I’m a Bollywood junkie. I grew up on a healthy diet of Bollywood movies, music, live concerts et al. One of Bollywood’s latest offerings #VeereDiWedding is unlike anything I have seen. There’s not a single romantic scene behind the trees or at the beach. And no, you cannot take your children to watch this, and think you can get away with blocking their eyes when there is kissing involved, make that a big NO! There’s sex, sex-talk and swearing, lots of it!
I’m not a Bollywood critic so this is no review; rather it’s about the changing paradigm and what it represents, or not, for the South African Indian community.
A woman. Brave, fiery, independent, career-driven and ambitious. It truly is great to be all that. But it doesn’t matter much. You are only considered to be accomplished in life if you’re married and have at least one child – but yes, everyone will still question you about when you are having another. These are the frustrations expressed by the characters in the film, and it’s real. The film is so real that for the first half it felt like I was watching something so familiar, that it could be anyone I know. Yes, I even saw my own traits in some of the characters. I’m sure I will be judged for that, but so be it.
It’s raw too. Love, separation, family commitments, pleasing others, heartache, friends who tell it like it is, drunken revelry and a fight that packs some punches…. ask anyone and they will tell you that this is what Indian weddings are about. Somehow they do bring out the best, and the worst in people.
It is overwhelming for a young woman. So overwhelming, that she can become a runaway bride. Or, she gets a divorce. And then, the gossiping starts. Divorce must mean she cheated, why else would she be getting divorced? And look at how she dresses? Shameful.
I think the biggest shame is not allowing a young woman to be who she wants to be.
Let her make her own mistakes, and learn her own lessons. It’s one of best messages in the film.
Some of the messages though, will be lost on the South African Indian audience. I overheard judgemental sneers from cinema-goers at the end of the movie. Granted, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, because this isn’t about a girl who is going to meet her prospective groom with a tray of tea. Face it, she is more likely to meet him when she looks for something stronger to drink or to light up a cigarette. I’m not advocating that this is how love should happen, but it often does. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t.
Arranged marriages, friends who hook you up and dating sites, these also exist, with hilarious but sometimes happy endings. The film is frank about this too. But then, love can happen when you are not looking, or with the most unlikely person. Oh yes, the film delves into that.
#VeereDiWedding means my brother’s wedding. But there’s no brotherhood here. It’s about a sisterhood, that is giving women the respect and the openness to be as bold as men, if not bolder. And why not? It’s not male-bashing. Those who feel that way are certainly not open-minded. I won’t bash you for that, it’s your prerogative. I respect you.
But, the big question is: why is it so difficult for society to sometimes respect a young woman, and her choices? Married or not, living with a man, partying with her friends – it’s HER choice. Of course, she wants to make her parents and family happy, but there should not be a formula that she has to follow. She can break the rules, and do things her way. If her path is different, it should not be viewed with disgrace.
And while the film revolves around four childhood friends, now as adults, it does not appeal only to those who have walked that journey. I loved it, and my best friend wasn’t at my wedding as I only met her a month later. Today, she understands my life journey better than anyone else. I can turn to her for anything and speak my mind. She will be honest and when needs be, she will tell me I’m wrong. It’s such friendships that effortlessly transform into family bonds.
The characters are wealthy, but I know from my own experience, that status has nothing to do with friendships or romantic relationships. It’s about feelings, and looking out for each other. It’s as simple as, “I got your back, no matter what.” And that makes it all okay.
Friends forever, and family forever. The generational gap between parents and their children can make communication difficult. But not impossible. When you are able to express yourself, rather than suppress yourself out of fear, then things do fall into place. It’s about taking control of your destiny. And when it comes to that, there should never be lines drawn between the two sexes. It’s yet another mistake that society makes.
The film says all this, and much more, without being preachy about it. It’s about accepting who you truly are and the friends and family who stand by you, with their flaws, and all. Frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanks to my real life VEERE, my brother Taresh, for the movie treat and coffee catch up!

12 thoughts on “Veere!

  1. For someone who doesn’t watch eastern movies, let alone not even being Indian can fully comprehend the amount of emphasis the older generation of “Aunties” places on young women, and I too, heard all the lines when it came to being different and an extrovert. The best part is when people judge you by saying you’re behaving like a man… (never said to me but I’ve been a witness here and there). Nothing separates us other than our trail of thoughts and how we wish to judge others on traditions in which we don’t even understand completely. A women’s place isn’t in the kitchen, as any male chef that! A woman can be a mechanic or pilot or even a soccer player. Limitations and expectations of others (it’s a book on its own). I love the fact that this piece shouts “Maya”., who isn’t afraid to be honest with herself or anyone else for that matter!

  2. Damn I missed this post.. and the movie.
    Thank you for recapping this piece as 1 of your 2018 blogger highlights…

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