Friday, January 22, 2010



Salman Khan apparently thought up the idea of making this period film, inspired by Hollywood's Taras Bulba (taken from a Gogol novel) about a father and son fighting an enemy of their tribe and country. He ‘wrote’ the story, relocated it to 19th century Rajasthan, identified the enemy as British colonialists, and the heroic tribes as Pindaris; then all pretence to authenticity was thrown out, though credit is given to a researcher.

A Google search of ‘Pindari’ would be helpful and also show that Anil Sharma's Veer is historically and geographically way off the mark. It would not matter if the film was entertaining or at least engaging. But it is a plodding faux epic that borrows liberally from many period/costume films, and looks like nothing on earth.

Why would anyone want to see a new film about decadent Rajput royals, nomadic tribes and duplicitous Brits, unless it had something to say to an audience today. Sharma's Gaddar, also an Indo-Pak period film, had at its heart an intense love story. This is just a Manmohan Desai style 'mard ko dard nahin hota' comic book film-- a complete no-brainer. Salman Khan fans might want to see him parade around in muscle-revealing hybrid cowboy-Roman warrior costume, but the film with its lavish mounting is likely to evoke laughter in place of awe.

Prithvi (Mithun Chakraborty), a Pindari (they were tribes of foragers, who also worked as mercenaries) is betrayed by the Rajput king of Madhavgarh (Jackie Shroff), who joins hands with the British. Prithvi swears revenge for the deaths of his clansmen, but waits till his son Veer (Salman Khan) grows up and also has a sidekick brother (Sohail Khan). As a newborn, Veer was soaked in rain water to make him a tough guy-- so he has muscles of steel when he grows up.

His father feels that they can't beat the Brits till they learn to think crooked like them, so the 'boys' are sent to a mixed race college in England, where Veer talks back to the sneering teacher and is ordered to be caned; the stout sticks break on his back. Yes, sigh, it is that kind of film.

While he is flexing his biceps and bare abs, Veer also finds time to fall madly in love, with Princess Yashodhara (Zarine Khan--bland), who turns out to be the evil king's daughter. Why doesn't that come as a surprise? Now Veer has another way to defeat the king... whip his army and ‘uthao’ the daughter. Old-fashioned feudal thinking? Don't waste that much thought on the movie; at one point Veer protests against animal slaughter. The film obviously shows more respect for animals that it does for women-- many of whom are giggling morons in tacky period costume (et tu Anna Singh?)

The battle scenes (with CGI help) are grand, lots of top shots of dancing in stately mansions in India and England, but not much else…not even a hummable tune to take home from the theatre.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker