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11th-Nov-2010 02:36 pm
I seem to have a knack for loving movies that no one seems to and I don't even get why half these movies are such a flop! Examples from 2010 include Kites, I Hate Love Stories, Anjaana Anjaani, and now Veer (listed in order of when I got around to seeing them :P)! None of these are completely perfect in the way that Jab We Met and Salaam-e-Ishq (yes, another inexplicably under-appreciated gem) are for me, but still - they were not awful. The only awful movie I've encountered this year so far has been Raavan actually. Anyway I am happy in my ignorance and shall blithely continue to enjoy the movies I enjoy, but the bad thing is that because these movies fail financially it becomes unlikely that someone will try attempt a similar sort of movie again. That's my only regret :(

I was looking forward to Veer quite a bit from the promos already. It looked like Jodhaa Akbar, only more fun. And I wasn't disappointed. For all those who went into this film expecting historical accuracy, I have to ask, do you also  believe Kareena every time she says her latest movie will change the face of Indian cinema? If yes, then enough said. If no, then why would you expect Veer to be a film that aims to accurately depict the struggles of the Pindari and the lifestyle of Britain and India in 1862? When I saw the promos I expected a masaala movie using a period setting. I have to wonder at your state of mind if when you saw the trailers you expected a serious period film o_O; If they didn't want me to be under this false assumption then why did they bring up the Pindari at all, you ask? If you ask me, the Pindari were used as a namesake in this movie. After all one of the interviews during this movie's promotion also mentioned that the tribe in Veer was inspired by the Cossacks in Taras Bulba. These are just references that the film makers chose to use to inform their version of a warrior tribe. For those from their audience who are familiar with the Pindari movement the name should have served as a lens with which to calibrate their viewing of the background and lifestyle of the tribe depicted in the movie. As for the rest who weren't much familiar with the Pindari, and I suspect they expected the majority of their audience to fall in this category, the name would have a sense of history and importance attached to it that suited the 'epic' and 'ferocious' tone they wanted to go for. Bas, aur kuch nahin! At least that's the way I see it, aage woh jaane aur aap jaano. Personally one of the aspects of Veer I enjoyed the most was it's magpie-like tendencies to borrow whatever it took a liking to in order to decorate its historical fantasy canvas. Then again I love movies like Saawariya and Moulin Rogue for this very reason as well. The sets, props and costumes in these types of movies are meant to be highly stylised and convey a look or complement an emotion and have no intention of mirroring realism in my opinion. So in this case I get to see rustic Rajasthanis, Victorian-esque fashion, lavish sets, musical interludes, a royal coronation, a swayamvar, a jousting tournament and some hilarious battles - hai na WIN? Mere dictionary main tou hai (at least in my dictionary it is :P). But then again I am also the kind who will probably thoroughly enjoy Dharam-Veer (the serial not the movie) when I get around to it and I will be under no false impression that it will be any more accurate than Veer :P

Enough defending though! Haters gonna hate just like gaitors gonna gait so I'll stop belabouring the point and get on with it. I plan to pretty much talk about the movie sequence by sequence while also discussing the various things I enjoyed so much. So, uh: SPOILERS, she said, stating the obvious.

Veer is a story about the eldest son of the Pindari warrior Prithviraj Singh (Mithun Chakraborty) whose name is, you guessed it, Veer (Salman Khan). Years ago Prithviraj's Pindari tribe suffered a betrayal at the hands of Madhavghar's king, Ajmal Khan (Jackie Shroff), who went over to the dark side by making an alliance with the British forces in India at that time. Ajmal Khan invited the Pindari over to fight with him against Chandangarh and promised that in exchange for the help he would return the land that belongs to Pindari back to them. The Pindari take a leap of faith but we already know this can't end well for we saw Prithviraj ominously state prior to the flashback that "vishwaas - vishwaas mein hi vaas hai vish ka" (within faith lies poison - this only makes sense in hindi because vish=poison and vishwaas=faith, epic dialogue is epic right?). As it happens Ajmal has been distracting Prithviraj with a hilariously dumdaar conversation which goes something like this: 

Ajmal: reserve your hoity toity tevars for when we take over this country yo!
Prithviraj: yeah whatever dude, we only fought this one battle to get back our land so...get on with it will you?
Ajmal: sure sure but haaaaaaave you met TED These English Dosts of mine?
Prithviraj: >:[  wtf is going on? I thought these dudes were supposed to be with those Chandangarh fellows who we just KOed?
Ajmal: *mocking laugh* Prithvi Prithvi Prithvi (I like how he decides they are on such good terms that he can shorten this ferocious warrior guy's name) you won't get these rajneeti ki baatein (politics) so tum sirf angrezi sharab piyo (just drink this English liquor)
Prithviraj: *unflinching stare* hum sirf angrezon ka khoon peete hain (we only drink English blood) <LOL! 4SRS? Pindari=Vampires :O
Ajmal: *eyeroll* I know we are around the same age but... generation gap! You are so old fashioned with your hatin' on these sexy Brits.
Prithviraj: STFU and GTFO of our land now
Ajmal: Zameen? Hmmmm kahaan chaahiye zameen? Vahaan? Vahaan? Vahaan? Vahaan? (Land? Where do you want land? There? There? There? There?) < you just KNOW that this dialogue is gonna come back and haunt him :D
Ajmal: Anyway, im in ur base killin ur d00dz!

Yes that's right! While Ajmal has been distracting Prithviraj like so his English lover James Fraser (What? Don't tell me you didn't notice the nain mataka (sexyeyetimes) going on between these two!) has sneaked up on the Pindari with his British forces and  is keeeeeling them. The Pindari, or whatever is left of them, have to beat a hasty retreat but not before Prithviraj in his anger cuts off Ajmal's arm! Yes you read that right! That scene was a clear indication of the kind of awesomely hilarious fight sequences that were in store for us during the rest of the movie. With a vow to one day have their revenge and Prithviraj promising that he will kill the king and his English friends or die trying the Pindari leave the deserts of Rajasthan for greener pastures to the tune of pavan udaave batiyaan. In the middle of their travel's Prithviraj's wife gives birth to a son and Prithviraj risks the chance of The Newborn One catching pneumonia by walking into the rain for the sake of a dramatic declaration of "Yeh mera Veer hai, iske liye kya baarish kya toofan!" *thunderbolts & lightening ensue* And thus our story really begins!

Oh wait, hang on. First we need to see a scene from Veer's childhood so we can spend the rest of the movie waiting for Veer to deliver on his promise! To give us an indication of how Veer spends his life in a rough and tumble atmosphere where he is expected to grow up into a fierce warrior we get shown a scene where he fights his dadda (father, Prithviraj) and obviously fails to win but promises that one day he will throw his dadde in the well just like so! The dadda grimly tells Veer that "waqt ko tujhse bahut umeedein hain" (future expects a lot from you No pressure). Epic dialogue is epic right!?

Right, now our story really begins! Veer has grown into a hatta katta Pindari mard who is currently chasing an imperial train with his fellow Pindari in order to raid it. They are able to overcome the British soldiers on the train and successfully do so. Not only that but Veer also gets to begin his love story when he enters the ladies coach and snatches a broach from the princess (Zarine Khan) but then decides to return it when a hand maiden shouts after him that the musical broach is the aakhri nishaani of the princess' mother. Ofcourse when he is returning the broach the top part with the cupid/angel remains stuck on his...err poncho-like shirt. Epic symbolism is epic right?

Veer returns with his brother Punya (Sohail Khan) and fellow dacoits to the new (and greener) Pindari homeland. Ofcourse we get treated to yet another fight sequence between dadde and his Veer. Good effort but no cigar. Better luck in throwing your dadda into the well next time! Meanwhile let's all watch the Taali Maar song sequence which helps depict the barbarian-like Pindari lifestyle (much like what Thok De Killi was to Raavan) and segues well into a scene where Veer is expected to sacrifice a baby goat during some religious ceremony. I admit I was dreading what was about to occur and was all ready to close my eyes, but go Veer! Much like when heroes in desi mythological stories demonstrate their wisdom by going against the grain and then explaining to the angry onlookers why they did what they did Veer displays sensibility by refusing to raise his sword against the weak and defenceless.

Veer and Punya are sent to London in order to understand the English better so that the Pindari can understand how best to defeat them. Punya is overawed at the gorgeous London architecture but Veer remains unimpressed. Luckily Veer runs into the incentive he needed to stay in London - he spots the princess from the train they robbed in India! What are the chances eh? *grins* I thought it was truly hilarious how Veer thinks "London mein trainwali dikhayi de rahi hai, yeh fitoor mere dimaag se kab utrega?" (I've started seeing the Girl From the Train in London too? When will this madness end?) while Punya is frantically gesturing that it IS her XD Song tiems nao!? Haanji bilkul! Que the gorgeous Surilli akhiyonwale. I can't decide if my favourite part was the Head Nodding Bench Girls, The Rumaalwale Stair Boys or the the ZOMG Grand Palace Veer is dreaming the Princess is dancing in!

At the University College of London Veer and Punya are sent to a special "tribal" school where 'native' students from the various nations the British empire is ruling are sent so they can be brainwashed. Ok yes I know the whole thing is slightly ludicrous along with the fact that the college is co-ed but go with the flow guys. Their lecturer is suitably racist for the purposes of the narrative so Veer can display another heroic trait, that of being Articulate & Well Read. He quotes Lord Bernard Shaw saying "clothes don't make man, man makes clothes" in response to the lecturer deriding the tribal students' attires and further argues with the lecturer when he starts launching an attack against India (that whole dialogue of his was hilarious and awesome by the way). This earns him claps from his fellow tribal students as well as a public beating from the university authorities. Other people probably complained that Veer was too long? Well I have to say I wish it was longer! I wanted to see more scenes with Veer, Punya and other "tribals" studying and discussing strange English customs and words in the context of their own culture. How fun would that have been!? Anyhow, as per the plan Veer writes back to his dad with observances on how the English authorities think and explains to him (and us) that in order to better blend in Punya and him have decided to embrace the English culture, which is why we shall be seeing them in suit boot vagairah from now on. About time because I tell you I'm a big Salman fan but some of those warrior costumes wouldn't do even Adonis himself any favours.

In that vein we see them attending a party at some royal club where they run into Yashodhra and her haughty privileged brother Yuvraj. Yuvraj and Veer naturally do not see eye to eye. In fact Yuvraj doesn't think Veer deserves to even look them in the eye:

pata nahin in firangiyon ne in logon mein kya dekh liya ke Royal Club mein aane ka mauka diya...humaari samajh mein nahin aaya (Who knows what the Westerners saw in you guys that they invited you to the Royal Club...I don't get it)
Veer: humein tou pataa hai in goron ne hum mein kya dekha hai, lekin aap logon ka janam tou raaj karne ke liye hua hai. Tou fir aapne in firangiyon mein aisi kaunsi baat dekh li jo ke aap inke ghulaam ban gaye? (I know what the Westerners saw in us, but you guys were born to rule, then what did you see in these Western people that you became their slaves?)

OMGZ Epic Dialogue Is Epic RIGHT!? I don't know about you guys but I was totally loving all this dumdaar dialoguebazi! Outside of parodies one rarely gets to hear straight faced delivery of such mukebaaz type lines these days na? Sometimes one craves those 1970s type stuff y'know? No? Maybe it's just me...Yuvraj however clearly disagrees with me and did not appreciate Veer's prompt retort and having no response witty enough he decides that the best solution is to pretend to help Veer climb onto the balcony (don't ask) but then drop him instead. Yeah. OUCH. Yuvraj isn't done though, he also tries to humiliate Veer & co. by randomly announcing that they will also be doing a performance when everyone is in the middle of enjoying some African style drums and dancing by someone else in the assembly hall (which looks awesome *_*). Yashodhra who has been shown to be a thoughtful and considerate girl and has also started developing a soft corner for Veer isn't pleased at her brother's tactics.

Veer & Punya all take it in stride though :D And thus we get Meherbaaniyaan! I love it when Bollywood movies have some form of continuity going on, be it in the repetition of clothes that characters wear or in auditory form through the repetition of a particular piece of music or when the song that happens actually relates to incidents or dialogues in the movies. Veer does a lot of this! I can't be the only one who caught (and loved) the way Veer used the word Meherbaaniyaan as a sarcastic reply/mooh tod jawaab to Yuvraj! It is no coincidence that Veer performs a song that heavily features the word Meherbaani, the word Veer had said to Yuvraj when he thought he was about to help him up in the balcony scene. Aur jaante ho sone pe suhaga wali baat kya hai (what's the cherry on top of the cake)? Not only has Veer turned this whole situation around to entertain the audience using reminders of that balcony scene (ie the word Meherbaani and dancing while it is obvious that his leg is broken) but he is also taking this opportunity to woo Yuvraj's sister Yashodhara by serenading to her (the song is essentially singing her praises ;D) . Ahhhh where does one find such a eent ka jawaab patthar se (tit for tat) type thing done in a Bollywood movie in such a charming manner these days? The only thing I regret? Wish we had had those scenes of Veer and other tribals spending time together in London and that one of those scenes had shown them all practising their various musical instruments and singing and dancing together and that would have been a neat piece of continuity to add to the use of the African percussion instruments during this song. But nevermind! One can't have it all. Special mention also goes to how adorably Punya & Veer were dancing together and being Laurel & Hardy types together. I also have to mention that I loved the random Scottish/Highland style dance portion that Veer & Yashodhara did together alone! I love how unashamedly this movie incorporates anything and everything just for the sheer fun of it!

Oh dear! Things can't remain rosy though as we later realise that Yashodhara is *dun dun dun dun* Ajmal Khan's daughter! *gasp* (Ok yes, we all saw that coming a mile away but that's the fun of it, it wouldn't be very dramatically satisfying otherwise would it? :P) Yashodhara invites Veer to a party at her stately manor and in the middle of a sweet dance Veer realises that the woman he is in love with is the daughter of the man who almost destroyed his Pindari tribe. Yashodhara clueless continues talking about how the Pindari are barbaric and her dad is planning on destroying them but Veer points out that he deceitfully got a lot of Pindari killed and that the only aim of Pindari is freedom. Yashodhara is still a bit slow in catching up so guess what (continuity moment!) Veer goes over to the piano located conveniently nearby and plays her the refrain that her mother's musical broach used to play and she finally cottons on that he is the same guy who had entered her train coach and snatched the broach from her (but also later returned it). Veer returns the top half of the broach that was left with him and leaves.

And this is where, for a brief moment, the narrative of Veer does falter. I suspect some scene got deleted in the middle? Because suddenly, as though through some telepathic connection between brother and sister, Yuvraj realises Veer's true identity, that he and Punya are Pindari warriors. We next see Veer near the same building where Yashodhara and he had danced with Scottish dancers (maybe he went there to brood?) and she comes in a carriage to warn him that her brother has understood everything and  has gone to the hostel in search of him.

Veer realises that Punya is in deep trouble. Indeed by the time he gets there Punya has been quite beaten up and tortured while the rest of the hostel silently looks on. Veer gets there just in the nick of time and saves the day. This scene was done really well I thought! As he stops the sword that was almost about to lop Punya's head he/we flashback on to Punya getting attacked in the middle of the night by Yuvraj & his cohorts. For some reason that scene really got to me! I could really feel Veer's sheer anger at how he imagined his brother must've been set upon and how he failed to be there for him when he needed him the most. Bas ab hona kya tha! Of course Veer single handedly defeats a whole heap of soldiers and manages to kill Yuvraj's friend. He's about to do the same to Yuvraj but Yashodhara begs him not to and so does Punya. Just like the sacrifice scene earlier we *think* he has gone in for the kill but of course our hero is Noble & has not done so (although the fact that he was repeatedly swording a dead body lying nearby instead was really disturbing :| ). The villainous Yuvraj has no such aspirations to nobility though and the moment Veer's back is turned he tries to kill Veer but during the fight that ensues he himself ends up landing on a sword . I don't think even Yashodhara could be mad at Veer for this. Anyway she urges Veer to go away from England and also promise her he will never come to Madhavgarh. He promises her... that he WILL come to Madhavgarh and either he will marry her with fire as their witness or he will torch Madhavgarh (yeah, IDEK...I didn't get it either). Phir mulaquat hogi (We shall meet again).

INTERMISSION or rather I was watching on my TV so I don't know but I feel certain this must be where the intermission was. How can it not be after that perfect piece of dialogue "Phir mulaquat hogi" right!? That's another thing I miss in Bollywood these days. Sometimes movies used to have this sort of obvious inside reference to the fact that there is an intermission but which also made sense within the context of the movie. You don't see that happen much these days...

Since Yuvraj (yeah obvious name was obvious right? Parents of 1862 I tell you, no imagination...) is dead Yashodhara is now the sole heir of Madhavgarh and thus we get to see her coronation. I really, really liked this scene! Zarine Khan's calm voice-over in shudh (pure) hindi reading out the royal Madhavgarh pledge over scenes of her going through the pre-coronation rituals of getting bathed in milk and being dressed up and of her walking sombrely through the corridors of her Madhavgarh palace and finally of her in front of her subjects taking the oath were wonderfully done! The music, the sad but determined Yashodhara, the lavish decorations and setting in stark contrast to the very reason the event was taking place (the death of the kingdom's crown prince!) and Yashodhara's split second hesitation when declaring during the course of her pledge that Madhavgarh's enemy will be her enemy - wonderfully directed!

Ajmal Khan thinks that to shut up all the other kings and British agents who are questioning how Madhavgarh can survive with just a crown princess that he is going to hold a swayamvar. Not sure what the English equivalent of a swayamvar is called but basically it involves various princes coming to complete challenges set by a kingdom and whoever wins the challenge wins the hand of the princess in marriage and the kingdom.

Meanwhile Veer returns to his Pindari homeland where everyone is celebrating the fact that Veer killed their arch enemy's son. Punya urges Veer to not reveal the truth about Yashodhara but Veer wants to take his father's permission, as he told Yashodhara during their last meeting, to go to Madhavgarh & marry her. So he tells his dadde that he has fallen in love. Dadda & everyone else rejoice! Veer however interrupts the celebrations by saying he is in love with Dhara (DHARA!). Yashodhara (YASHODHARA!). Rajkumari hai. (RAJKUMARI HAI!) Madhavgarh ki. (*acrobat stops mid-leap over a fire* *dancer stops mid-dance* *hookawala breaths in a whole heap of smoke*). Until:
Prithviraj: haha hahahaha kya beta hai mera! (What a son I have!)
Veer: *mwah* Kya dadda hai mera! (What a father I have!)
This was one of my absolute favourite moments in the movie! Was NOT expecting this :D :D :D
We then find out that Mangla, Veer & Punya's mother, was also the daughter of an enemy of the Pindari and when her father did not agree to the marriage Prithviraj & Mangla eloped. I thought it was a nice touch.

As an aside, I have to say the Khan brothers are always enjoyable in the way they play off each other. I thought it was fun in Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya, God Tussi Great Ho and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na and I found it fun in Veer too. Little things like Veer pulling Punya into the well he got thrown into or Punya kissing Veer's forehead when he is dreaming of Yashodhra in the first Surilli Akhiyonwale, or Punya encouraging Veer to keep his cool in front of Yashodhra because he'll be there with him but then promptly running after gori ladkiyan to understand English people better, or Punya helping Veer wear his shoes when his leg is broken, or Punya urging Veer not to reveal the truth about Yashodhara to the Pindari ...all these were quite adorable little sibling moments.  /aside

Prithviraj then informs Veer that > 15000 Pindari are ready to now set off for Madhavgarh to attack it and that they can then conquer the kingdom and get Veer married to Yashodhara. But Veer asks Prithvi if he had taken a whole army along with him when he went to set out to get Mangla and when Prithvi says no then Veer asks how he could even think his son would do that (epic dialogue delivery was epic I tell you!). Point taken. Mangla gives Veer her kangan (bangles) to give to her bahu (daughter-in-law). And thus Veer, Punya and a couple of others set off to Madhavgarh to the tune of Surili Akhiyonwale (which you will remember has been sung earlier in the movie also). Yes I am going to go on about how awesome musical continuity in Bollywood movies used to be and how one rarely gets to see this these days :P I love musical continuity like when first the male sings a song and then many events later the female sings the same song (like with the 1961 Jab Pya Kisi Se Hota Hai) or when a song starts, then a couple of scenes happen and then the song restarts where it left off (Ya Rabba from Salaam-e-Ishq), or when there is a happy and sad version of a song in a movie (Main Gaaun Tum So Jao from Brahmachari) or when the same song but with slightly different lyrics is used in the movie more than once (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne with Sun Le Tu Dil Ki Sada or the title song in Kaho Na Pyaar Hai)...you get the picture. In this case the song is a straight repeat of the earlier Surili akhiyonwale (though the album has a different duet version also) but nonetheless it was appreciated. And hey, not just by me! My parents loved the repetition as well and have ever since become infatuated with this song.

While on their way to Madhavgarh Veer & co. come across an English party that they know are friends of Madhavgarh. In order to take advantage of this opportunity we witness a hilarious sequence where Punya has to pretend to be a tiger (I don't care where the costume came from ok? But yes possible Convenient Prop Is Conveniently At Hand thing happened, I admit it) and Veer "rescues" Lady Angela from said tiger. Later introductions happen and there's a bizarrely random sequence that I only now got during my rewatch. Punya introduces himself to Lady Angela's friend as Poonam. I remember at the time thinking it was weird Punya had a girl's name. Then Angela introduces her friend, a girl, as William. I guess the joke was he had a girly name and she had a manly name? Anyway, Veer & friends finally meet Ajmal Khan! He was part of Angela's expedition I think. When Ajmal first meets Veer he says "badi hi veerta ka kaam kiya hai apna" (you've done a very brave thing - the *nudgewink* dialogue trick obviously being that he says "veerta" without knowing this is the Veer who killed his son). Veer and Punya pretend they are from Rusai valley and that Veer is the prince of that place. They give off the impression that they are sympathetic to Ajmal's cause of getting rid of Pindari because they too have suffered at the hands of dacoits. More subtle dialoguebaazi happens where you know what Veer & Punya actually mean but Ajmal is completely clueless. It was awesome :D And to top it off Veer extends his hand to shake Ajmal Khan's knowing full well his dad cut his arm off. Ajmal extends his Fake Hand Made of Gold With Built In Bracelet and Emerald Rings. Oh sorry did I forget to mention that's what Ajmal did after his hand got cut off? It was a riot watching Jackie Shroff do various hand movements with that arm during the movie. But the best scene is this one where Veer grips it so tightly that the hand ACTUALLY COMES OFF HAHAHAHAHA. The looks on Ajmal Khan's entourage! PRICELESS XD

And then I laughed out loud once again when William told this story to Yashodhara as she was getting dressed: "Oh, Princess! I was so scared... so scared! Accidentally your father's hand came out!" HAHAHAHAHA I'm sorry...but just thinking about this is making me giggle uncontrollably all over again... William continues talking and goes on to say how the Kunwar (Veer though they don't know that's his name) is very brave..."woh kya kehte hain hindi mein...Veer!"(what do you call it in hindi...Veer). On queue the musical refrain from Yashodhara's mom's broach plays from the other ballroom where they are meant to be rehearsing for a dance. Yashodhara is remembering Veer, she runs to the ballroom... and whispers his name to herself. MUSICAL CONTINUITY ALERT! As she turns away we hear Veer start to sing "dabbi dabbi saans mein suna tha maine, bole bina mera naam aaya" (I heard my name through a faint whisper) - how appropriate right!? :D Gosh I am such a sucker for when stuff like this happens! Not to mention that lines like "dekha tumhe tou araam aaya" (when I saw you I felt relieved/at peace) and "tere bina saans bhi chalti hai, tere bina dil bhi dhadakta hai, yaad nahin tha yaad aaya" (I can breathe without you, my heart can beat without you, I only just remembered) were so relevant because they hadn't seen each other for so long and had parted in not the best circumstances. I love how Veer & Yashodhara don't get to dance together much in the song but they have eyes only for each other. Well mostly, other times Veer is trying to annoy Yashodhara by not looking at her.

Veer is trying to goad Yashodhara by spending more time with Angela than her. BTW music continuity alert!!! In the verandah when Angela and Veer are together he is teaching her a Rajasthani musical instrument which was playing the tune of pavan udaave batiyaan (yes the song we heard when the Pindari were migrating). Anyway Veer wants Yashodhara to be with him but she wants him to leave and threatens to do what a crown princess should have done by now - tell her father that he is the enemy of their kingdom, if he does not leave by sunset. In the vein of musical continuity as we await the sunset we once again hear pawan udave batiyaan ho batiyan, tipo pe na likho chithiyan ho chithiyan (the wind carries messages, do not write messages on leaves) and this time the song stopped as we hear the message that Yashodhara writes when she learns Veer has not left and then continues where it left off. Loved that as her lady in waiting carries the message to Yashodhara's dad you can hear the singers sing "chitiyon ke sardeshe videsh se jaawengi chalengi chhatiyaan" (when these messages leave foreign lands they will only cause grief) and then when we see Yashodhara question her decision and run to stop the message the singers sing "roko koi roko din ka dola roko" (someone stop the day from setting). You really just have to watch it - the whole song is so complementary to the situation at hand. Love it when Bollywood pulls something like that. When Yashodhara reaches her father's study and inquires after the message he is reading she realises that her lady did not pass on the message. Instead Ajmal talks about how the Kunwar (Veer though Ajmal doesn't know it) has suggested that they go after the Pindari now as it is the right time and as Yashodhara argues that this is a foolhardy thing to do Veer enters and continues to convince her father that he should strike now.

Yashodhara leaves angry and in her room her lady tells her she gave the letter to Veer and Veer walks in reading the letter out loud. Yashodhara and Veer have a fight and there's this HILARIOUS scene where she bites his wrist for a while to no avail and when she realises it is pointless she stops and he looks at his wrist and says "apne tou humaari kalaai pe ghadi banaa di, ab tou accha waqt aana nischit hai" (you've made a watch on my wrist, now Good Times are definitely about to start). My family and I literally laughed out loud XD The dialogues in this movie are truly worth watching this movie for. What else can one expect from a dialogue writer whose name is Shaktimaan Talwar right? The name literally means Strong Sword and this case is reminding me of the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword"... surely the name is a clever pseudonym? If not then this is one of those freaky coincidences like how Wordsworth turned out to be such a brilliant poet heh. Yashodhara asks him who would he choose if he had to choose between his father and her and Veer says he will choose the truth. So Yashodhara says that if a father is truthful and good then everyone follows him but what should one do if the father is wrong? I don't need to tell you that the melodramatic soul within me was lapping up the dialogues in this sequence, feeling totally emoshunal at the ethical dilemma at hand and the turmoil the princess was going through. Veer tells her he will support her in her pledge to protect the kingdom and will not attack at all until the Madhavgarh army attacks first. But he also wants her to face the truth and acknowledge that he is Veer in front of the whole world. And he leaves her with a phir mulaquat hogi. Have I mentioned before how much I love catchphrases in movies? No, well I do :D Especially fun ones like this! As he leaves the thumri (pawan udawe batiyaan) concludes with a call to Kanha as Yashodhara kneels before a statue of Krishna. Little touches like these are what tell me that the makers of the movie thought everything well and truly ten times before starting out and made sure the songs accurately reflected the film's situations.

Cracks are beginning to appear within the Pindari however and not all agree with Veer's promise. One Pindari in particular is quite vociferous about the potential non-battle and Veer and this guy end up in a challenge where the battle is to death. When Naunihal tries to calm everyone down Prithvi says "kamaan se niklaa teer aur zabaan se nikali baat kabhi vaapus nahin aati" (an arrow shot from the bow and words spoken from the mouth can never be taken back). Epic dialogue is...you know the rest. And so Gajdhar and Veer fight to decide the fate of 15000 Pindari. I don't need to tell you who won. I DO need to tell you that Veer follows through with a catchphrase he said often earlier in the movie: "jahaan se pakadta hoon paanch sair gosht nikaal deta hoon" (I rip off 5 kilos flesh from wherever I catch hold of someone). Yes, he LITERALLY WITH THIS BARE HANDS just ripped off this challenger's flesh. I AM NOT KIDDING. And then Veer says "tulva lena. paanch sair gosht hi hoga" (you can get it measured, it will be 5 kilos for sure). HAHAHAHAHAHA. I am normally a queasy person and don't much like violence in movies to be honest but when THIS is what you are going to get so be it! The fight scenes in this movie truly are Ghajini levels of hilarity like when some guy with a bat was hitting Amir Khan on the chest and the hits were simply bouncing off him as he kept walking forward. I LOLed at that and had to LOL at this too. Anyway with that Veer silences any detractors and proves himself to be a worthy leader and the Pindari agree to his plan.

In Madhavgarh the swayamvar for yuvragi of Mihir vansh, rajkumari Yashodhara has begun. I really like how much this movie paid attention to the details. At the swayamvar Angela introduces her finance John to Yashodhara and explains that he has a passion for folk music and this is why she has been learning folk music from Veer. Like we didn't even need to know this y'know? The scene where we saw him teaching her could have been taken at face value to be a ploy of Veer's to make Yashodhara jealous but many scenes later they add this tid bit ...and that's what I find so endearing about Veer <3 Fraser, yes King Ajmal's lover remember, returns and has brought some freak of nature fighter to the swayamvar and the princes gathered are expected to fight this guy in order to win the hand of the rajkumari. No one is willing to do so when they see the giant warrior, Rhino (yes, really and he sounds like one too) though. Ofcourse amidst the very obvious long and uncomfortable silence where the English General is mocking Indians by asking if there are any real men present cause he wants to see how hot the rajput blood is (really now, is this the time to talk dirty? Don't make Ajmal jealous in front of a crowd!) enters ...VEER! His entry is announced by horses neighing and elephants trumpeting. All very epic and foreboding as befits a great warrior.

Ajmal Khan is still under the mistaken impression that Veer is Kunwar Mahendar Prataap Singh. This particular Kunwar has agreed to the joust however he is just going through the motions and after an initial win doesn't fight back. Basically he's silently doing emoshunal atyaachaar (emotional blackmail) on the princess by challenging her to either suffer him getting badly injured or worse him getting killed unless she publicly calls out his name in front of the whole crowd thus acknowledging that not only is she in love but that the man she is in love with is none other than a Pindari and the same Pindari who killed the kingdom's prince! You'd think I'd be mad and eyerolley here but it's hard to be so for one who has enjoyed this movie so much. I was silently staring at Yashodhara waiting for her to work up the courage to admit all just like Veer. And right when a spear was going to tear Veer apart she does! The tide turneth. Rhino is defeated in the most hilarious manner possible - 180° head turn!!! To the tune of Mother's Musical Broach/Surili akhiyonwale Yashodhara runs to Veer, he gives her the kangan, adds the obligatory blood sindoor to her forehead, stops her from bowing before him and lo they were married.

Ajmal Khan is not amused. He disappointedly scolds his Yasho saying that with *this* one hand (not the Gold Hand With Built In Bracelet And Emerald Rings, in case you were wondering) he has cradled her for countless hours and tucked her into bed ...she interrupts him saying that that's why she has always followed him till now "lekin yuvragi ke liye Veer ka raasta hi raajdharm hai (but for this princess Veer's path is the path of righteousness). EPIC DIALOG- oh wait are you getting sick of me saying this over and over again? REALLY? But see this dialogue really IS epic! On. So. Many. Levels!
1. The path is righteous for her as a princess because if she is married to a Pindari then the Pindari won't harm her people
2. The path is righteous for this princess because she has to follow her heart
3. Veer's path is righteous for the princess as in the path that she has chosen with her lover Veer
4. "veer"'s path is righteous for the princess as in the path of courage because it takes courage to stand up against your beloved father who you think is wrong
Ajmal Khan fails to appreciate the beauty of this simple statement though and is ready to kill his daughter with his sword but luckily Veer stops him before he is able to do so by...breaking off the sword with his bare hands hahahaha (by now I am guessing you know not to ask "are you kidding?"). 

Ajmal & cohorts are informed that the Pindari have surrounded Madhavgarh and that eventually they will have to admit defeat. Ajmal is furious but Fraser quotes the Gita to Veer saying that war should be the final option so they are ready to give up Madhavgarh in return for safe passage of all troops. More nain mataka (sexyeyetiems) happens between Fraser & Ajmal so you know they are lusting after each other at an inappropriate time planning a betrayal just like at the start of the movie. Veer agrees. Pindari disagree. Veer thinks gaining Madhavgarh without bloodshed is good as many innocent lives will be saved but Pindari want revenge. Using epic dialogues Veer demonstrates strategic thinking explaining how all this can help towards the ultimate goal to defeat the colonial powers in India. Unfortunately if you think back to 2 hours and 9 minutes ago you shall recall that Prithviraj promised that he would not spare the king and his English friends. And if you can't remember that far back a convenient flashback will refresh your memory. Pindari can't go back on their word. Obviously. So what else can be done? A battle to death the next day between father and son aur nahin tou kya. The winner shall decide the fate of everyone.

But for now the newly weds shall get to spend one last night together living each moment like a lifetime (their words, not mine). You're probably tired of me shouting musical continuity already but I'll say it one last time: Musical Continuity FTW! Part of Surili Akhiyonwale starts playing again :D The next day Veer leaves with a phir mulaquat hogi.

You'd think the movie would have maxed out on epic sequences  by now but hellz no! Can there be anything more melodramatic than a father son battle? Veer declares that "dadda tera beta itna bada veer nahin hai jo dharam ke is raste pe chal sake" (father, your son is not so brave that he can walk this path of righteousness) and gives up his sword but his father responds that "duniya ko yeh kehne ka muka na de ke teri ragon mein dadde ka khoon nahin!" (don't give the world a chance to say that you are not my son). And with a hug and an adorable flashback, where we realise with a heart flip that in fact what Veer is doing (fighting for the country and opposing his father) is exactly what his father taught him (for a Pindari courage > promise > father > country) when he was young, the fight commences! During the fight Fraser & Ajmal put canons in place strategically so that they can attack the Pindari. Moar epic dialogue baazi happens where Veer says he won't let his father be stained by the accusation that a father killed his son and his father retorts that he will also not let him live with the burden that people exclaim that a son killed his father. LOL, IKR? Too good yaar.

Their fight is thankfully interrupted by Ajmal shooting Prithviraj, which Veer interrupts, and so the stupid Pindari all rush forward so they are in range to get blown up by canons. Luckily for them the king's Indian cohorts have a change of heart so when Veer's Pindari friends ask him if he was fighting to save these treacherous beasts Veer gets to proudly state that no, he was fighting for *that*. *that* being the Indians in Madhavgarh realising that they should be fighting against English for the country and not among themselves. A mini-revolt in Madhavgarh begins and heaps of bloodshed vagairah vagairah (etc etc.) Finally Prithviraj gets to mockingly ask Ajmal "kahaan chahiye tujhe zameen?" (where do you want land?) before carrying out his promise at the start of the movie's flashback.

Now that the movie is ending Veer realises exactly how zakhmi (hurt) he was from Ajmal's treacherous bullet and decides to breathe his last. Phir mulaquat hogi.

Years later in 1920 Veer's son Veera is now old and carrying forward the revolution that his father began. Oh and in case you were wondering Veer delivered on both his promises - he comes back (as his son's duplicate) and finally manages to overthrow dadda into a pool of water ;)

And that concludes my epic Veer write up! I am sure I can appreciate the irony that this write up is probably as long as the movie it aims to defend and will be enjoyed by exactly the number of people who loved Veer, i.e. 1. The 1 being me :P But I don't regret this one bit I tell you. Not one bit. Seriously though I still fail to see what was so bad about this movie? If you have gotten this far in the write up then you deserve a medal then you know already how completely enjoyable the music and dialogues were for me. Additionally the over the top and melodramatically 'epic' tone in the movie is not something we have had the chance to enjoy among the recent crop of Bollywood movies so this was really quite a nostalgic and refreshing watch. The acting, well, nowhere did I feel that any actor was anything less than satisfactory on that count. I am a Salman fan but usually I am the first to be mad at him when he is a bit lazy in his dialogue delivery or expressions but this wasn't the case here at all, I felt. The visuals - my write up probably failed to give credit on this front but seriously the visuals were a feast for the eyes - being both full of splendour and conveying a harsh 'barbaric' existence as required. The story was engaging, and I actually think it is pretty cool that Salman manage to write it 20 or so years ago. Maybe I'm the only one who'll say this but I'm glad he wrote it and I'm glad this movie got made. I haven't had so much fun with a movie in eons. It didn't take itself seriously and infused romance and laughter in a genre that isn't usually given to the latter. All in all, this is actually going in my list of favourites! And I am completely unapologetic about it.

Too bad the rest of the world does not share my ~great~ taste so it is unlikely this sort of period movie shall ever get made in Bollywood again. There go all my hopes of a movie version of Dharam Veer happening down the drain *le sigh*

11pgs/~7500 words in case you were wondering :P
stock | india
11th-Nov-2010 02:24 am (UTC)
I actually forgot to mention this but know what else is great about this movie? Not all the angrez (English) characters are evil! What's the last Bollywood movie you saw (especially one related to colonialism) where there are Western characters, other than the Token White Lady In Love With The Hero, that have lives of their own (like lady Angela & her fiance) and are not considered bad or evil? In this case all the Western civilians are never shown in a bad light and there's none of that pukeworthy Western Ladies Have No Morals crap either.

omg I have officially lost it - I am talking to MYSELF in the comments!
17th-Nov-2010 07:26 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Paruuuuuuuuuuuulllllllllllll (FFMOTW), Happy Birthday to you!

And for once, I remembered since the moment I woke up. And then subsequently kept saying it was the 17th, even when I was talking about tomorrow. Hope you have a good one! *MWAH*
17th-Nov-2010 10:13 am (UTC)
awww thanks Jules. Is that double F there because you remembered Zarina is the current holder of the title? How flattering you think I shall regain my throne in the future mwahahaha
17th-Nov-2010 10:23 am (UTC)
LOL yes that's what it was for ;) But it wasn't for "future", it was for "former" :$ STILL r u planning to overthrow her at some point? (A)
21st-Nov-2010 02:29 am (UTC)
Late reply is late

mwahaha I must've been for me to interpret the extra F as Future not Former ;D

p.s. I now agree. Gawain > Lancelot ♥

Edited at 2010-11-21 02:33 am (UTC)
24th-Jan-2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
This is an extensive (no, epic) write-up, nakhrewali, and you've made some excellent points throughout. As you know, I enjoyed Veer, but wish it were more restrained. However, I don't think this hurts the chances that historic fiction be employed in future films. Well, at least not by too much.

Can there be anything more melodramatic than a father son battle? Yes! A grandfather-grandson battle. Wait, they have a quasi-battle in there too! :D

Interesting you note Salman writing it 20 years ago. A few of us were talking about it, and agreed that if this were a 1980s film, the response would've been different. At least for me, looking at it through that prism meant little compromise in evaluation.

Regardless, I enjoyed it! I don't know why almost everyone was so very negative about it, it certainly has its moments.
26th-Jan-2011 08:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for replying :)

Yeah I'm not worried about the lack of historic fiction so much as lack of crazy magpie masaala historic fiction ;)

Can there be anything more melodramatic than a father son battle? Yes! A grandfather-grandson battle.
Ha! True.

I'm so glad Veer got made now rather than back then though because I'm selfish and love that it has such good production values, a lack of which often prevents me from starting old movies...

I'm glad someone else found it enjoyable.
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