No, I will not cheer for Veere Di Wedding. It's regressive

It portrays independent women as they would possibly exist in the imagination of most men.

 |  3-minute read |   05-06-2018
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The idea was to watch a movie on women bonding with my women friends. Because, you know… nostalgia. And this gang constituted of women who were young(ish), independent, sassy and people like us.

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Here is what happened when I watched Veere Di Wedding.

It made me angry. Because this movie does not celebrate independent women in the real sense at all. It portrays independent women as they would possibly exist in the imagination of most men. That is, they are either smoking, drinking or talking about men/sex. Now, women do all of these things. The problem with this film is that in it — this is all they do.

None of them, barring Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, have jobs. Is it any wonder then that their main preoccupation is with who is sleeping with whom, and how will they find a man to marry.

Sonam is a practising lawyer. Her mother is frantically trying to get her married off. Because (hold your breath) she is almost 30!!! As Sonam whines about it to her friends, there is not a peep about how this may impact her career. In fact, barring a fleeting mention of how dirty the toilets and court rooms are, I can't recall even one example of what Sonam's workplace concerns/challenges are.

In fact, such is Sonam's portrayed desperation for marriage that after one failed attempt at a fixed relationship she promptly goes to bed with a man she herself derisively calls a "dukaandaar". And eventually seems willing to even "adjust" and date him. Kyunki, you know, shaadi ke maamle mein, kuchh nahi se kuchh bhala.

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By the way, this lack of a job doesn't stop these ladies from living it up. They party, dress rather well and even jet off on an impromptu "bonding" vacation: all of it, one assumes, on their parents' hard-earned money. I am sorry, but this is the sort of entitlement that most modern women today can't dream of. In fact, they work at both the home and office. Most have to work doubly hard at office too, in order to be taken seriously.

The one I found most problematic is the character Swara Bhasker plays. Is it only a coincidence that the one character with a bad marriage is shown permanently smoking, drinking or cussing. I could muster zero empathy for her, despite the occasional scene that introduces us to her cold, distant parents. Maybe she gets no emotional support from them, and they torment (figuratively) her so she could consider moving out of their house and stop being a freeloader?

And finally, let us talk about that masturbation scene. It's great that the existence of a woman's sexuality, and her need to masturbate, has been recognised and depicted on screen. But let me tell you what happens next. Swara's character is "caught" masturbating by her husband. For which, he first divorces her! And then proceeds to blackmail her for Rs 5 crore. And Swara Bhasker agrees to pay it!!!

So let me get this straight. Swara's character allows the act of masturbation, which is a completely natural, non criminal, nothing to be ashamed of activity, to be used against her for divorce and blackmail. And most importantly, she is ashamed enough of being "caught" masturbating to give in to that blackmail demand. Now that doesn't sound like a modern, young woman to me.

So why are we supposed to love Veere Di Wedding? Just because it shows a girl gang? If I want to see a film on where women share a meaningful friendship, I would rather watch Lipstick Under My Burkha again.

As for Veere Di Wedding

Women smoke, drink, cuss and masturbate, but they do much much much more.

Sorry, this is not my idea of feminism or of what young, modern women are like, or aspire to be.

Also read: Munna Bhai to Sanju: How Rajkumar Hirani 'legitimised' Bollywood's No 1 enfant terrible

Writer

Padmaja Joshi Padmaja Joshi @padmajajoshi

Editor, India Today TV

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