Veer needs a little dharam

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Batul Mukhtiar

FILM >> VEER
DIRECTOR >> ANIL SHARMA
STARRING >> SALMAN KHAN, SOHAIL KHAN, MITHUN CHAKRABORTY, ZARINE KHAN
RATING >> * * * * *

SALMAN KHAN DOES insouciant charm well, but in Veer he foregoes it to scowl and frown through the film. On several occasions, he forgets to lip-sync. Veer’s (Salman Khan) long hair is distracting, but he does carry the film on his muscled back. Dadda (Mithun Chakraborty) puts in a powerhouse performance. I’m all for filmi mothers being saucy and sexy, but Neena Gupta’s Pindari mother does thrusting chest heaves in the face of her two grown-up sons. Someone please tell her Choli ke peechche is passé.

After a 12-course, 6,500 calorie brunch, one is inclined to be generous about Princess Yashodhara’s (Zarine Khan) ample curves. But the ringlets don’t help. Nor do the oversized velvet gloves with her ghaghra cholis.

Anna Singh pulls out all the velvet curtains in her godown and dresses up London’s fair extras in sacks. Sohail Khan (Punya) wears an empire cut blouse in one scene, with a disconcerting display of cleavage. The Pindaris wear fur-lined jackets in the desert heat. Salman Khan wears a dark brown school uniform and a hat that remind me of old Billy Bunter book covers.

The Pindaris live in Rajputana, sing Punjabi folks songs, dance Highland steps when drunk in their caves, and die to Hinglish rap set in Italian opera music. London University is made up largely of ethnic groups, particularly Indian princes. And no one knows anyone’s lineage.

A costume drama can soar well enough without historical accuracy, like Dharam Veer andKohinoor, but flounders without humour. No, Dadda beating the hell out of his son is not funny, even if the Pindaris find it so. Punya as the sidekick younger brother is not funny. And no, lines like “Everyone in England speaks English” are not comic.

The musical brooch motif is done to death. Gopal Shah’s cinematography is submerged under excessive digitisation. Veer may have done better if it was not trying so hard to be an epic, and Salman Khan wasn’t trying so hard to hold on to his vanishing hair.

Maybe Salman Khan should take a holiday for a few months, grow bald, grow lean, and come back with a script that is close to his life.

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