/ produced by Yash Chopra Films, Ltd. / directed by Yash Chopra
/ starring Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta & Rani Mukherjee
/ music by Madan Mohan & Sanjeev Kohli / lyrics by Javed
hear Yash Chopra's deep voice recite poetry as amber fields
and blue skies fill the screen. Just as you realize that this
movie will be like all of Yash Chopra's movies loads
of fun! the dream sequence is cut short by...a gunshot.
Veer-Zaara takes the format of popular Bollywood movies but
adds depth and unforseeable complications. Just when you're
feeling like you've seen it all before, the story throws you
the film begins, Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan), an Indian
man, languishes in a Pakistani jail. During his twenty-two years
in prison, he has never spoken to anyone. Along comes lawyer
Saamiya Siddiqui (Rani Mukherjee), assigned to represent Veer
in what everyone considers to be an unwinnable case. Desperate
to prove herself in a profession ruled by men, Saamiya coaxes
Veer to tell her the story of his past.
story unfolds in flashbacks, with a natural and simple logic
that leaves you emotionally overwhelmed. As Veer explains how
a young Pakistani girl named Zaara Hayaat Khan (Preity Zinta)
changed his life forever after their chance meeting in a dusty
ravine, Saamiya becomes determined to set him free. The viewer,
meanwhile, is swept up in Veer and Zaara's ill-fated romance.
The lead characters are so strong and sympathetic that you fall
in love with them without even realizing it.
portrayal of Veer evidences his immense experience as an actor.
From a young passionate lover to an old man whose spirit has
been crushed, he essays the role effortlessly. Khan is especially
talented in romantic roles, making this role a perfect fit.
Zinta also instills life into Zaara, a sheltered Pakistani girl
who firmly adheres to the morals and traditions of her upbringing,
but has a mind of her own and strength of character to match.
Zaara is a far cry from the bubbly modern girl whom Zinta usually
plays, but Preity strolls through the movie with no trouble
might have been lost amidst the throngs of talented supporting
actors. Instead, she shines. With the help of excellent dialogue,
she turns in her strongest performance in years, virtually stealing
the show in the second half. The industry will no longer snicker
that Rani Mukherjee is just a pretty face.
supporting characters in the film also excel. Their incredible
characterizations draw the viewer into the story, making what
could seem like a fantasy feel heartbreakingly real. Divya Dutta,
who plays Zaara's close friend, deserves special mention.
dealing with the topic of Indian-Pakistan relations, Veer-Zaara
shuns the jingoistic message of so many Bollywood films. By
focusing on people rather than politics, it sidesteps stereotypes
and broadcasts a clear message of peace. In this film, villains
and heroes are distributed equally across the borders. But the
true historical achievement of this film is its music. Unfinished
pieces by the late, great music director, Madan Mohan, have
been reworked by his son to create a magical soundtrack. Yash
Chopra always wants the best, and the songs in Veer-Zaara are
simultaneously melodious and insightful, elucidating the feelings
that propel the narrative and engaging the viewer's heart as
well as head.
Veer-Zaara evades description; the viewer must simply experience
it for herself. To watch it is to fall in love with the characters.
You will emerge from the theatre feeling like you have just
immersed yourself in a different, more magical world. A few
grouches have scrupled about the film's brilliance, but after
the recent drought of good movies, Veer-Zaara is inarguably
a must-seeThis movie has something to offer to any fan of Indian
reviewed by LilAni