Epic twist for Salman showman!
By MovieTalkies.com, 22 January 2010
It's an unabashed ode, a showcase for the star power of Salman Khan. In'Veer', he is almost superman-like in the manner in which he manages to combine strength and cunning and overcome his father's enemies and restore the pride and honour of his father and his tribe. The first half of the movie unfolds quite well as one is taken back to the cause for discord between the Pindaris and the ruler of Madhavgarh. The story moves quite crisply in this segment. But with the emergence of Salman Khan as the saviour of the Pindaris, the film is not quite so different from any other ordinary Hindi film. There is the usual romance between a man and a woman of two warring factions, there is revenge and dollops of nationalism thrown in for good effect, and plenty of fighting. That, in short, is the story of 'Veer,' one that has been penned by Salman Khan himself.
As a story, it has its merits, but once this story is transposed onto the screen, it looses itself in the attempt to portray Salman the macho actor, as the ultra-macho Veer. The film really starts slipping once Salman as Veer and his brother, played by Sohail Khan, land up in London, ostensibly so that they can gain an insight into the workings of the 'conniving' English mind.
There has been so much detailing gone into creating the look and feel of a historical epic in the film, that one feels a little let down in the London portions. Also, all that Veer seems to be doing in London is trying to find opportunities to meet Yashodhara (Zarine Khan), the daughter of his enemy, singing songs or bashing up his beloved's brothers and even killing them off. The love angle is a bit weak, and it is difficult to understand why Yashodhara would feel anything more than gratitude or some kind of fascination for Veer. One wonders if she would even overlook the death of her brothers? The London sequence seems to be crafted to give the two Khan brothers a chance to indulge in some tomfoolery, especially Sohail.
The opening sequences, the desert, the vast army of the Pindaris covering the expanse, the fort, all are quite exquisite. Even the setting for the 'swayamvar' of Yashodhara is done quite well. But the moment you start taking the film slightly seriously, you have some something as absurd as Sohail dressing up as a tiger and frightening a British mem so that the two brothers can play saviour and infiltrate into the enemy camp. The film is full of such part-serious and part-absurd sequences which make for a very disjointed viewing experience.
Then there is this whole thing about honour, which makes a father and son take to arms against each other, the farce of which is brought out brilliantly by a Pindari warrior in the film, played exceptionally well by Shahbaz Khan, in a brief role, when he upbraids them about fighting against each other. Veer's logic doesn't come out quite well. His transition from a revenge-oriented hero to a mission-oriented hero doesn't quite come across well.
One of the problems with this film is that the end seems to drag on a little longer than needed. A little more crispness with the action would have been better. The cinematography is exceedingly good, especially in the desert sequences, and so is the film's music. All the songs have been picturised very well indeed, and Veer's first meeting with Yashodhara too has been done very well.
But 'Veer' is far from the sort of film one can take seriously and there is little to take home, besides its music. Anil Sharma manages to create a few moments, but they are too elusive and have hardly any impact on the movement of the film's plot. One had heard that the film had a strong plot of a father-son relationship, but there is very little new ground that the film explores in this area. In fact, there is little which touches one about the relationship; and with no help coming from the script, there is little poignancy about the whole relationship. Our filmmakers need to take a lesson from the manner in which Hollywood directs epic 'masala' dramas like 'Gladiator' and 'Braveheart'. Besides the scale of production, it is the manner in which they manage to retain the emotional core of the film, which is what one remembers about these movies. In 'Veer, Salman's death fails to move one, unlike, say a 'Gladiator'.
Salman is all over the movie… and while he gets his action sequences all right, the emotional core is sorely missing. Mouthing clichéd dialogues doesn't help his cause one bit. Mithun Chakraborty who plays his father, is unable to create any impact whatsoever. In fact, someone like Shahbaz Khan, who plays a Pindari warrior himself and has just a few dialogues to mouth manages to display more passion and involvement than the veteran. Zarine Khan, who makes her debut in the movie, simply manages to look sweet and plump in the film. Jackie Shroff as her father, is just about passable. Puru Rajkumar reminds one of his father, the late Raaj Kumar ever so slightly in the manner in which he looks and delivers his dialogues. However, he is just a shadow of that gifted actor.
Take away all the trappings of grandeur and 'Veer' is no different from countless other Hindi films made on family rivalry. It manages to hold one's interest only in parts. For the greater part… it's only showman Salman.