Sunday, October 16, 2005

Shahrukh can pop into my bedroom whenever he wants: Veer-Zaara

It took several starts for me to get through this - I kept re-watching the beginning, where they bump along on top of the bus and enjoy the countryside - not because it's bad, but because I kept getting interrupted, then having to re-start to make sure I remembered what was going on. But once I got going, it was great. I had expected this to be much more politically cheesy than it was, and I was happy that most of the "why can't we all get along" sentiment was contained in just-freed Veer's courtroom speech. The love story, too, was not quite as grand as I had thought, which was just fine by me.

The best moments of this movie are the light-hearted or simple ones: Zaara dancing around her beautiful house, Veer's aunt brushing Zaara's hair, Bauji sneaking his bottle of rum, Veer throwing nuts into Zaara's mouth as she clutches the little platform on the ski-lift across the river.

This is by far my favorite Amitabh Bachchan performance. His character had substance, but at no point did he or the director trade on the actor's status or persona. Plus he looked like he was really enjoying himself in the role, and I think in the other things I've seen him in he's either scowling too much or just tossing the whole thing away, as though it's a flat role quite beneath him. And even if that's understandable (I'm thinking the stern but inspiring general in Lakshya, for example), we all know that there are no small parts, only small players. So thanks, Amitabh, for demonstrating why you're a star.

Again, this probably says something about me that I shouldn't publicize, but I had to pause and find something to use as a fan after watching Veer haunt Zaara in "Main Yahaan Hoon" (which has an additional layer of humor, now that I've seen Main Hoon Na). That was really, really sexy - the continually shrinking space between them, the quite personal scale of where he appeared, the small daily routines that he joined. That Zaara's got quite an imagination. I wonder if she'd let me borrow it.

2 comments:

Sanket Vyas said...

Wow - i can't believe no one has commented on this movie yet. Classics as far as Bollywood movies go (in my opinion) consist of films from the 40's all the way to the mid 80's but none really too much further. There are a few that I allow in to that rather small fraternity and this movie is one of them. The grandeur of the story, the bringing together of 2 countries that are so close yet hate eachother so much and of course the small things.

The way that SRK & Preity sing about their respective countries, the complete surprise that AB & Hema Malini took me by as they were uncredited in the opening titles, the grace of Rani's character and the touching love story of Veer/Zaara themselves.

For my friends who have never seen a Bollywood this is usually the first one I give them and then let them work their way up to 'Dor'. If they like those two then we keep going down the list...

Beth said...

I need to re-watch this...I haven't seen it since I wrote about it two and half years ago.

I'd love to know what your other post-80s classics are!