Sallu bhai is back! and how! Strip-me-down-and-eat-me-up is his new avatar in Veer (or as he pronounces it Virrrrr – with ur r’s rrrolling!) If you liked him in Wanted, you’ll love him in Veer. He looks leaner not as bulky as he did in Wanted and this really adds to his Gladiator appeal with the long hair and all. Anil Sharma, the director of Veer has repeatedly emphasized in all his earlier films, familial relationships and love for the motherland; Veer is not different. Set in the late 1800’s Veer gives us a cocktail of Bollywood emotions garnished with Hollywood costumes. To be perfectly honest I went expecting zilch from Veer… I mean come on! Anil Sharma’s previous films include Apne, Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathiyon, The Hero and ofcourse his most prolific work Gadar. Sure all his films work with the masses with the maar dhaad and melodrama but with quality cinema that we see in bollywood every Friday, these films fall below the mark. So even with promos of Veer and everyone saying that this will be the war of the Khans with 3-Idiots and My Name is Khan also releasing around the same time I still was sure that Veer is not something that will be able to stand in the competition. Sadly I WASN’T mistaken! It’s not that Veer is not going to work… with the masses it will definite generate substantial revenue but Veer is does not fall into the genre of “oh! my God what an awesome film!” and with the kind of budget that has been spent on the CGI, costumes and actors of this film it seems bleak that Veer will make a lot of profit.
Amidst the drink-loving warrior clan of the Pindaris is Prithvi Singh (Mithun) a cut throat fighter jiske pran jaaye par vachan na jaaye! Once betrayed in a battle by the Raja of Madhavgardh (Jakie Shroff), who preferred to side with the British and turned his back on the Pindaris, Prithvi swore that he would kill the Raja and every British soldier that he supported. This became Prithvi’s mission and he also raised his sons Veer (Salman Kahn) and Punya (Sohail Khan) with just one purpose in life… revenge on the Raja. As the generations change so must revenge tactics and hence Prithvi Singh sends his sons to study in London so that they may defeat the Raja not only by brawn but also with brain. In London Veer meets Yashodhara, the princess of Madhavgardh with whom he’d had a brief tryst earlier. Veer falls in love with Yashodhara thus consorting with the enemy! But the call of duty is more important to Veer and so unravels this epic love story of a warrior where he must find a way to marry his beloved and also avenge the Raja. Along the way the Veer conveniently murders the Raja’s sons and still manages to get his injured bother out of London scot-free, sings and dances in lots and lots of unnecessary full length songs, dresses in fur-lined coats in the middle of Rajasthan!!!(go figure!) And starts a nation-wide revolt against the British! Wow! Veer truly is an all rounder!
When you’ve watched Veer the one thing that irritates you the most is the kind of potential that the film had… so much more could have been done with this story of valour... for one thing some more valour could have been added! Though Salman delivers a fantastic performance but still none of his dialogues give you the rush of warrior passion that should have been there in a film like this. We’ve seen it in Jodha Akbar, Lagaan, in Hollywood films like 300, Troy and many more. We should have felt for the Pindaris the way we did for the Spartans when Gerald Butler kicked butt saying “This is Sparta!”
Intensity aside a lot of other things in the film are also not consistent. Zarine Khan’s character is a Rajput princess who’s stepped into the shoes of her brothers… Rajput princesses were definitely not damsels-in-distress (watch Jodha Akbar for more details!). Puru Rajkumar’s deliberately put on accent sounds laughable and poor Aryan Vaid’s not even got a mention on the official website. Zarine Khan smiles like Katrina Kaif how I wish she could do a little more acting than just standing there and being pretty like her inspiration! Lisa Lazarus gets no scope. Mithun Chakraborthy gives a good performance where as Neena Gupta is wasted because the director could have easily taken some time from this 3 hour film to show the bravado of a warrior’s mother. Jakie Shroff is alright as the mean conniving Raja, though I love his jewellery! The art director/costume designer has really done justice to the royal get ups. The jewellery for the males, the dresses, the gowns everything looks splendid though the same can’t be said for the tribal get ups. The tribal costumes seem like a mix between the fur-lined hun coats and village wear of India… it’s inconsistent and hence not convincing. Also factually the Pindaris comprised of mostly Pathans and Jats of mixed religions but in Veer the Pindaris are varied and people from the same clan have a Punjabi accent, a neutral accent and some even have a Bhojpuri accent!! The punjabi’s alright but the Bhojpuri Pindari seems a little too far west from his homeland to be in that clan!
Sajid-Wajid set a pleasant music score for this film albeit too long, most of the songs are enjoyable. Though the whole “So you think you can Dance” sequence with Meherbaniyan is forced and unnecessary.
The cinematographer does a good job in portraying the dusty landscapes of Rajasthan to the comfortable lavish palaces but old London is not convincing enough. Though the first shot of Salman arriving in London is really good CGI.
Veer is a heady mix that reminds us of Kraanti, Mard, 300, Troy and Gladiator. In fact I can’t help but draw parallels to Sholay! There’s Veeru and a Punya in place of a Jay and there’s also a Raja who’s hand’s been cut off! ? On a more serious note, Veer had been in the news for several months now sometimes for Zarine Khan, sometimes for Salman’s new look, for the story being Salman’s or even for the budget. So when you think Veer you expected a kick ass epic war film that’ll set a benchmark for future epic films… well stop right there … in fact stop any expectation all together and then you’ll find that Veer passes for a decent film that can be watched once. I guess we should leave epic depictions to the maestros. Overall Veer is Salman Khan … if you are a fan don’t even think twice just go for it… it’s one of his really passionate performances but if you’re expecting a revolutionary film or a phenomenal story or even a story that gets the adrenalin pumping then order a DVD of Troy or 300 instead!
Rating – 2.25/5