While going to watch a Yash Chopra movie, one can almost predict what one is going to see. Two people fall in love, but then separate because the girl is going to marry the man of her parent’s choice. Like any true-blooded lover, the hero goes to the girl’s place and tries to win over her parents.
However, if you go to watch Veer Zaara, expect a little surprise from the master of romantic films.
Chopra sticks to his generic style in Veer Zaara, and what we have is a touching love story strewn with drama and songs against the backdrop of mustard fields and snow-clad mountains.
What’s new in Veer Zaara is that its story moves across two nations. It is not just a love legend but also a human drama in which the protagonist Veer is transmuted from a buoyant and chivalrous man in the first half into a silent and retrospective prisoner languishing in Pakistani jails for 22 years in the second half.
It is a novel (and noble) idea to make a love story between an Indian man and a Pakistani girl and only few attempts have been made in the past to make such films. But Veer Zaara goes a little overboard in harping on the ‘love beyond borders’ theme.
The movie begins like any other Yash Chopra flick with the slow love happening between Veer and Zaara after their accidental meeting as Veer goes about showing her his hometown Punjab and takes her to visit his uncle and aunt (Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini) who fostered him like their own son.
As expected, the viewer is subject to not less than half a dozen songs in the first half. In fact, a few songs could easily have been done away with, particularly the courtroom song Tere Liye that looks simply ridiculous.
Yash Chopra keeps the audience interest alive with regular twists in the story – the sudden appearance of Zaara’s groom-to-be Raza (Manoj Bajpai) who takes her back to Lahore. And then Veer flying to Pak to meet Zaara and confronting her in the presence of her entire family only to be turned down and later arrested on the charges of spying and thrown into jail for 22 years.
The story now becomes more of a human drama and gets new life with the coming of Rani Mukherjee as a Pakistani lawyer determined to find Veer’s truth.
Rani has the best role in the film and she has justified it with a terrific performance that will get her an award. Shahrukh shows flashes of versatility by moving away from his usual repertory of facial expressions while Preity too does a noticeable job with a performance that didn’t demand much histrionics in the first place.
In short, Veer Zaara is a movie that will appeal to many. Although it dabbles in drama at the cost of realism, the movie does pluck a few strings at heart with a story that comes as a refreshing change in these times of sexually explicit flicks.