Ahh, I have grown my hair long and worked out my feeble biceps in order to stand tall with Sallu bhai as a barbarian! While some went for Aamirâ€™s â€śGhajiniâ€ť hairdo, I have gone all outâ€¦even though I look rather ridiculous! Any other actor would look ridiculous as well, but Salman Khan has proven time and again that he can carry off a look like no other actor in Bollywood. Heâ€™s also perceived as the crazy guy with a heart, who tells it like it isâ€¦and of course, he is the beloved peopleâ€™s champion!
Yet, to say that I was not looking forward to this film is an understatement. Donâ€™t get me wrong, Iâ€™ve followed Salmanâ€™s career for the last twenty plus years, and even have most of his movies on DVD (yes, that includes such â€śclassicsâ€ť as â€śJaagrutiâ€ť). So, I do appreciate his rather eclectic style of acting (or charismacting as I like to call it as itâ€™s mostly charisma that holds the audiences attention). Heâ€™s had his moments though, and recently it seems that heâ€™s been putting more of an effort into the films he is in.
Still, from the author of â€śChandramukhiâ€ť, one doesnâ€™t expect much. If youâ€™ve seen that movie, I feel bad for you. If you havenâ€™t, then you are one lucky soul. That movie came from Salmanâ€™s creative side and was a mish mash of the Hollywood film â€śBigâ€ť and every mystical mumbo jumbo Bollywood clichĂ© you can think about. Oh, and did I mention that it also featured Sridevi?
So, when I heard that Salman had the story of â€śVeerâ€ť burning within his creative soul for decades, I at once shuddered and was curious. Would this film, be â€śSuryavanshiâ€ť part 2? If you recall, in that film, he famously said, â€śGoodbye, Namaste, Salaamâ€¦..Sat Shri Akalâ€ť, as he donned the barbarian costume and looked absolutely ridiculous.
Well, I grabbed on to my sword (no pun intended), and as the lights went down in the jam-packed theater I let out a barbaric yell in anticipation. Then the movie began and the crowd was (for the most part) mesmerized. There were cheers, some jeers, some laughter, and more. So read on, for the Planet Bollwood, action/reaction to â€śVeerâ€ť.
The story takes the audience from the hallowed halls of London, to the blood soaked battles of India and in between is a bittersweet love story wrapped in a sweet roll crĂ¨me gone bad. What were you expecting? A classic? No, â€śVeerâ€ť is not a classic, but itâ€™s not that bad either. Itâ€™s got the right amount of masala to hold onto the viewerâ€™s interest and cheer for Salmanâ€™s heroic avatar.
The film suffers not only with its labored screenplay, but also by the lackluster direction by Anil Sharma. Sharma (â€śGadarâ€ť) is quite heavy handed and shows a lack of fluidity that hurts the choreography of the fight scenes (though that is not completely the directorâ€™s fault, but rather of his and the fight choreographer). The director also shows a distinct lack of ability in being able to bring forth the best from the cast. Jackie Shroff is decent, but in a non-threatening love to hate me kind of way. Mithun Chakraborty has a moment to shine, but I wish he had been given more to do. Sohail Khan is simply the court jester that he always is, though the actor has talent if given the right kind of director. Zarine Khan, is a better actor than Katrina Kaif in terms of expressiveness, but is hindered by her having her dialogue dubbed by another actress, which always takes away from a performance.
Now, letâ€™s get to Salman Khan. His performance is not perfect, but his actingâ€™s flawed facets that pull the viewer into the character he is portraying. The silver screen sizzles every time he appears, and he is able to make one believe that he is the title character. Itâ€™s not a performance that will win awards for best actor, but it is one of his best and one that will appeal to a lot of people as the hero who will win no matter what the odds. Many critics love to trash him, but no one can deny that the man has a lot of charisma, and is able to carry off revenge tales like no other.
The music by Sajid-Wajid is beautiful and engaging, with the highlights being â€śTaaliâ€ť and â€śSurili Akiyon Waleâ€ť. The melodies are beautiful (with mood setting lyrics by famed poet Gulzar) as is the musical arrangement (very tricky with a period film as you have to be careful that the instruments fit in with the time period). Monty Sharma composes a thrilling background score, which should be released as an album that could stand on its own. The cinematography by Gopal Shah shows an adept hand at using the right kind of film filters to emphasize the moods of varying scenes. The fight choreography Tinu Verma is interesting when focusing on Salman, but sloppy when focusing on the larger soldier (army) clashing scenes.
So whatâ€™s the final say? The movie is better than a lot of films that Bollywood has released, but doesnâ€™t rise to any form of excellence. Salman Khan has to be respected for putting so much into a genre that doesnâ€™t always do well at the box office and it takes guts for the producers to spend so much money on a film that has so much going against it even before it was released. Yet, the film should be given a chance to live or die on its own sword (merits). Itâ€™s enjoyable, with a performance by Salman that will thrill the audiences, and irritate the would be thespians providing critiques. â€śVeerâ€ť is a flawed but entertaining film that is more enjoyable than it has a right to be, just donâ€™t go in expecting a richly classy film that emphasizes substance over style and you wonâ€™t be disappointed. The film is crassly entertainingâ€¦and certainly paisa vasool. As the gladiators used to say, those who live by the sword die by the sword, and so it is Salmanâ€™s fans that will prove that the sword is mightier than the criticâ€™s pens (or keyboards).