Veer-Zaara, 2004

Directed by: Yash Chopra

I watched this last night with my two pupils (i.e. B’wood novices) K and L.  K in particular is an amazing success story, a year ago she couldn’t understand my obsession with Indian Cinema and especially couldn’t stand the music (she had an issue with the voice registration; we’re all Opera singers, just ignore it) So what did I do to persuade my two pals that “east or west” Bollywood was “the best”? I sat them down and made them watch Dard-e-Disco. Conversion complete. I am, when necessary, an excellent sales-woman and champion for the Indian film industry. Since then they have been hounding me for daily installments in their educations. It’s wonderful.

Anyway, back to VZ…

It took me years for me to finally see this. One of my best friends growing up was from Pakistan and she always told me “you HAVE to watch it. You just HAVE to!” So I did…

I don’t want to discuss the plot, you can find that anywhere. There are so many wonderful moments in this film, and I want to talk about those.

-The music, oh! The music in this movie (weird jazzy-saxophone included) is just phenomenal. You can actually buy the soundtrack for this movie, a rarity in Indian films that I wish was practiced more often. It’s poignant, dramatic and touching. Sure, a little romanticized and overtly emotional, but that’s just Bollywood, and that’s what you get. The filmi songs are just so so good too. The first one you see is so camp and so typical YRF that you want to gag, but you can’t because it’s just that good and precious to see SRK hoping around and being happy. And if you’ve never seen “Main Yahaan Hoon” then you’ve never seen something so inclined to induce me into a fever and heavy breathing. K and L made use re-watch that particular song at least 3 times.

…if only…

-The cinematography is breathtaking. There are so many shots that just make you think “Yash knew what he was doing”. The settings, scenery, colors and little details scattered throughout provide lush surroundings for this “love legend”. The post-production details are impressive too. So many times there are awkward “cut offs” in either music or feeling as the film moves from scene to scene, and it’s one of my only peeves; but in VZ, there is only one of those moments, and you’re so caught up in the story when it happens, that you don’t even notice it (unless you’ve seen it a million times).

-Amitabh Bachchan! In this movie he’s so fun and happy and smiling and funny. It’s refreshing to see him like that, compared to his frowning, stern parenting roles. If I had to pick a grandfather, Chaudhary Sumer Singh would be my top choice. (Kirron Kher also gives a great Maa performance, if I could pick a filmi Maa, she’d be mine!)

-Preity and Shahrukh and Rani!!!… it took me a long time to get used to Preity Zinta and like her, and what finally hooked me was this movie. She gives a great performance and her character is simply lovable. How I like my Shahrukh is the way he appears in this movie. His face isn’t the hard, chiseled thing he’s sported since Om Shanti Om, nor is it the cutesy, baby face of DDLJ. In this movie he sizzles. His eyes, his hair, his eyebrows, his Adam’s apple… yum! Rani also gives a good performance as Veer’s lawyer who has heart, hope and compassion.

The short and short of it (and this movie and its review are neither short) is that I love Veer-Zaara, it’s a good one to take down when you haven’t seen it for a few years and just get caught in the “legend” of Veer and Zaara’s love, and all of the sweet, short little moments in between the moments of grandeur that  are what make this movie touching and all around good.

*I wrote this during my ethnomusicology lecture so if it’s disjunct or just plain poorly written it’s because I was trying to look “engaged” in the lecture and my teacher would periodically call on me to pronounce the Indian names of musicians, instruments and songs…

One thought on “Veer-Zaara, 2004

  1. Hello Eringee,And thanks for that great review of my favourite B'wood movie! I've just discovered your blog, and have only started, so I'll be back.Oh, By the way, you didn't mention the last song (Tere liye) in VZ… was it because it didn't strike you as that good? For me, that was THE absolute marvel!cheersyves

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