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Just when you think you know where the story is going, you are pleasantly surprised and therefore enthralled as the story unveils.
People either love SRK or hate him, but I think he delivers what is necessary for this role without going over the top.
The surprise appearances are great, and Priety Zinta is getting better with every role.
Last, but certainly not least, the music is superb. If you have no other reason to see this movie, see it to know the story that was finally told with these beautiful songs.
10 out of 10
It's Diwali - the time for sweets, new clothes, fireworks, and as is customary every year in India, a star-studded, feel-good blockbuster. Yash Chopra's reclamation of the director's throne after seven long years is a simple return to the classical traditions of mainstream Indian film-making. The flair and sensitivity for romance is intact along with the passion for deep-rooted cultural and traditional mis-en-scene. However, neither is "Veer Zaara" a classic, nor is it even remotely comparable to Chopra's earlier masterpieces such as "Silsila", "Kaala Pathar", "Kabhie Kabhie", and "Lamhe". Yet, it is an ideal Diwali gift, exquisitely packaged, filled to the brim with sentiments and emotions, presented with only the best of intentions.
Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan) has been decaying in a Pakistani prison for twenty-two years. Saamiya Siddiqui (Rani Mukherjee), a local lawyer representing the Human Rights Commission undertakes the challenge of fighting for Veer so he can return to India. As Saamiya tries to unearth the hidden truth behind why and how Veer ended up in this situation, we are taken through a trip down memory lane as Veer recollects the days when he found and lost the love of his life, a Pakistani girl called Zaara (Priety Zinta).
What "Veer Zaara" lacks in terms of an innovative plot structure, it more than makes up for with Aditya Chopra's sometimes flawed, but sensitive writing. The supporting characters are extremely well fleshed out, and his dialogs witty and subtle. The storytelling is further enhanced with Javed Akhtar's lyrical wizardry, and Yash Chopra's tact for stretching defining moments of the story into musical interludes continues to fascinate. "Do pal ruka, khwaabon ka kaarvaan", a fine example of Mr. Akhtar's and Mr. Chopra's brilliance remains etched in your memory.
The film's grand-scale packaging is embellished by Sharmishta Roy's artistic, and exquisitely detailed production design, with each set being highly reflective of the characters that it holds in. Cinematographer Anil Sharma (Lagaan, Kal Ho Na Ho) sets up a rustic, yet opulent scheme to the film's largely rural setting that brings back memories of the evergreen "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge".
Actors including the great Amitabh Bachchan (who makes a stunning special appearance in this film with Hema Malini) have always elevated their performances to higher levels under Yash Chopra's baton. Rani Mukherjee follows in the same footsteps, playing the rookie lawyer with an admirable juxtaposition of nervousness and ferocity. While Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan too perform well in their respective roles, at no point does one feel that these two talented actors are ever challenged with roles such as these. Having played the loverboy so many times in the past, Veer Pratap Singh is a cakewalk for the Khan. The lead pair's chemistry from their younger days all the way to the days of their fifties is highly appreciable however. The supporting cast comprising of Divya Dutta, Kirron Kher, Boman Irani, and Manoj Bajpai make full use of their well-defined characters to enact high-caliber performances.
Other than the story of two fanatically devoted lovers, "Veer Zaara" is a progressive film for the Indian Film Industry because it makes an effort to break stereotypes with respect to Indo-Pak relations. It is a welcome change from the mindless Pak-bashing fare that we are routinely subjected to. Sensitive approaches like this first of all would help improve cultural ties, considering Hindi movies do comprise of a large portion of India's unofficial exports to Pakistan. Equally important is the economic factor because a culturally sensitive film like "Veer Zaara" is bound to officially open up a potentially huge, untapped, cinema-going audience across the border
Watching this film I think I learned a lot about modern Indian culture. Although at times the sentimentality in "Veer-Zaara" is so gushing that it enters into the realm of camp, there is also much substance in the film which is entirely admirable and worthy of esteem: the honor paid to parents and elders, the independence and spirit shown by strong and intelligent women, the respect given to Law and Justice, and perhaps most importantly, the possibility of peace and reconciliation between two peoples and two nations who have been engaged in a long, bitter, and fruitless quarrel.
The film also addresses women's empowerment through Rani Mukherjee's role of a Pakistani lawyer who tries to overcome society. There are many surprising and touching moments in the film. The love story is portrayed grandiosely, with larger-than-life orchestral music of heavy violins and piano. The movie soundtrack is perhaps the most beautiful soundtrack in recent years, and the fact that it was actually composed many years ago contributes to the epic mood of the film. Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta are great choices for the film. They resuscitate their characters with restraint and dignity and have a credible chemistry despite not having much physical interaction. Khan is the main soul of the film and he is believable in everything his character goes through. Zinta is beautiful and compelling as the intelligent and headstrong Zaara, and looks great in traditional outfits. Rani Mukhejee makes a great impact with her relatively minor but pivotal role of the tenacious, level-headed Saammiya. She is natural and impressive and leaves the film as a winner.
Veer-Zaara, though a completely entertaining epic romance, is not the greatest film you'll see and it often goes over-the-top in its emotions. It is far from being flawless and has its share of loopholes where script is concerned. Having said that, it just doesn't matter here. This film is far ahead of anything it can be blamed for. It is about the main values a person should cherish in life: humanity, respect and love, and it conveys this message very well. It is one of those films which become classics instantly, and I recommend it to anyone, whoever and wherever he is.
Yash Chopra has, as always, delivered an all-round entertainer. The songs were mesmerising; Madan Mohans' tunes were beautiful, Lata Mangeshkars voice was 'an out of this world' experience, Javed Akhtars' lyrics and Aditya Chopras' poem meant so much to those who understand them.
Photography was enchanting; such films make people like me who love India, love it even more.
The acting was par excellence, Shahrukh Khan did not disappoint at all, Preity Zinta was the essence of beauty and innocence and Rani was good as well.
I would just like to say thank you to Mr Chopra for a wonderful experience.