Veere di Wedding is finally here after bouts of delays: the first because of star Kareena Kapoor Khan's pregnancy, and the second after producers decided to delay the premiere for a few months.
Such last-minute tinkering understandably caused the internet rumour mill to fly with discussions surrounding the state of the film.
Fortunately, Veere Di Wedding delivers on its initial promise: it is a fun, feisty and slightly ribald comedy but with a tender heart lurking not far beneath.
A story of friendship
The film revolves around a tightly knit group of four friends as they face the trials of family, modern-day romance and a big Indian wedding.
Triggering that journey is Kalindi (Kapoor-Khan), one of the group’s staunchest individualists, who on a whim decides to tie the knot with her long-term boyfriend Rishab (Sumeet Vyas).
Shocked at the news, the remaining girls; the hot-shot lawyer Avni (Sonam Kapoor), the perennially angsty Sakshi (Swara Bhaskar) and family woman Meera (Shikha Talsania) converge to support Kalindi as she prepares to run the gauntlet of cultural and religious customs that are all part of the wedding ceremony.
A topical tale
What follows next is the film juxtaposing scenes of the splendour and glamour that goes behind a high-profile ceremony with the brooding questions and doubts the girls feel when discussing notions of relationships and family.
This is where the film is most intriguing. In a refreshing break from standard Bollywood fare, where marriage is often dealt with superficially at best, Veere di Wedding makes an effort to ask the tough questions: is having a family a sacrifice? What do we gain and lose by inviting someone else into our lives? And is the traditional marriage effective for today's well-connected generation?
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Such topics should resonate well beyond Indian audiences and the smart way that it's discussed and presented by screenwriters Nidhi Mehra and Mehul Suri sets the film up to be enjoyed by the non-Bollywood filmgoer.
A strong cast with chemistry
Another feather in the film's cap is the strong casting. Her name may be the most prominent in the posters, but Veere Di Wedding is more an ensemble drama than a straight Kapoor-Khan vehicle.
The multiple story-line features all four main protagonists who are all challenging traditional norms in their own ways. Despite her impending ceremony, Kalindi struggles to shrug off the view that marriage is a trapdoor to heartbreak.
On the other hand, Avni’s desperation to get married has her making suspect decisions; Meera’s family bliss is tainted by her father disowning her for marrying a non-Indian; and Sakshi is keeping a low-profile after splitting up with her husband after only a few months marriage.
While director Shashanka Ghosh (2014's Khoobsurat) does a fine job of skilfully giving each story its due while keeping the film pacey enough, it is ultimately the sheer chemistry all four girls share that allows the film's two-and-half-hour running time to never feel onerous.
More than the lavish dance sequences, Veere di Wedding shines in the more static scenes where the girls sit together to share anecdotes and reveal hard truths.
The genuine warmth on display is beguiling and it’s not long before you are rooting for all of them to find what they are looking for.
The final take
While a lot is being said about the film's vulgar humour – it was enough for Pakistan to ban the film from cinemas – the film is by no means as colourful as the 2011 US all-girl comedy Bridesmaids.
While the film certainly raises a few eyebrows on occasions it is all done with such joy and mirth that you can’t help cackling along.
So it's best to keep the kids at home and enjoy the smart and adult fun that is Veere di Wedding.