Tuesday, January 1, 2008


Something happened to me while watching Veer Zaara. I fell in love- with Bollywood. And I sort of started to like Shahrukh Khan as more than a friend.

It was actually my fifth Bollywood movie(Laawaris, Umrao Jaan starring Aishwayra Rai, Umrao Jaan starring Rekha, Devdas, then Veer Zaara, in that order). Considering my list, I assumed most Bollywood movies dragged a bit too long, were mostly serious and had a strong cultural influence(Yeah, I know I was wrong, but consider what I had seen so far).
Veer Zaara, while at times not too far from that mold, had something different that I found appealing.

It may have been the music. "Tere Liye" haunted me for days...Like I've said before, I grew up loving Disney movies, and there was something about Shahrukh Khan singing on top of a bus that reminded me of the tender innocence that made those films so lovable. "Main Yahaan Hoon", on the other hand, was certainly no Disney movie, but it did make me see good ol' Shahrukh in a different light...

Uzma had pointed out to me before watching Devdas that Shahrukh Khan was kind of a big deal in Bollywood. No, she had said he was a huge deal. And gosh, I just didn't see it. I definitely did not find him attractive. Yet while watching Veer-Zaara, and maybe even a bit during Devdas, I started to feel a touch of his charisma reeling me in. Maybe it was because in VZ he was held up against Zaara's fiance, who to me was just plain creepy. I started to root for Veer because he was just such a good guy when compared to that jerk. And he looked kind of hot in his pilot uniform.

It was the "surprise" towards the end(and if you haven't seen the movie you should stop reading because most of the film's enjoyment lies in this moment)that sent me head-on into Bollywood bliss. I suspected (actually, I hoped) something like this was going to happen, but that didn't stop chills from running down my back when I actually saw Zaara's face appear at Veer's old house. I must have had the same shocked look that Rani Mukerjee had in spite of myself. And I must have watched the part in the courtroom where Veer and Zaara are reunited(to the tune of "Tere Liye", no less) three times before I was satisfied with moving forward. It was just so romantic to me, one who had been disappointed by Hollywood time and again for ruining romantic movies with vulgarity and idiotic plots(with the exception of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember).

Several months later, after putting the film on the highest pedestal possible and watching many more Bollywood films that I loved, I have to say I re-watched Veer Zaara and was less impressed by it. This may have been because some of the shock value/suspense was gone. Also, I realized that some of the things that made Veer-Zaara so unique to me were actually Bollywood cliches used time and again in other films. Not that I don't still love them, but they weren't the creative touches I had once seen them to be.

Of course,I still recommend the movie. Its an extremely touching tale about unselfish love, and so romantic that the first time I watched it I was brought to tears more than once. But its just not at the very top of my list anymore like it used to be.

Text(c) 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood


yves February 26, 2008 at 5:45 AM  

I loved reading that comment & I think I could probably copy what you say and serve it fresh as my own appreciation of the film!

Joss,  April 7, 2008 at 3:07 AM  

Nida, I agree with all this, except the part about returning to Veer Zaara and being disappointed. I loved it even more, because by that stage I realised what hot property SRK was.

Veer Zaara was the first Bolly that made me sit up and take notice too. But I have to say that I saw Shah Rukh in three movies before I realised we were supposed to fancy him. I also saw Kal Ho Na Ho around this time, and I thought that he took all these self-sacrificing roles because he was too old to cut it as a romantic hero any more. And I thought, no wonder, with a big nose like that, and sensible hair, he's just too good. So no wonder Main Hoon Na blew my socks off! Once I realised what we had on our hands here I went looking on the net and found out how hot he is in real life - way hotter than in his movies, I think. And that is the problem, for me, I love him far more when I see him in interviews than in films. He is articulate, funny and really cool. The way he has been appearing recently, with longer hair, makes him look like a god.

Anyway, VZ was my intro to many many happy hours of Hindi film-watching. Glad to be part of the sorority now!

Nida April 12, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

Yves and Joss,
So glad someone finally had something to say about VZ! It really is a great film, and although I did say it lost some sparkle to me after revisiting it, I will also say that I really think it was because I absolutely fell in love with this movie the first time around. I was just obsessed with it.

Joss, I love your mini-tribute to SRK! I have to agree, I love SRK's real life persona, at least what we see in interviews and with fan interaction. I really think he is a class act, and he is one of my favorite actors. I also have a serious crush on him, which I try not to gush too much about on this blog(because I don't want to sound like just another SRK fan) but the truth is, like you, I can totally see why he is such a big deal. I just love him!

One more thing about Veer Zaara...it just has this unique vibe that I feel every time I put the soundtrack on...I really can't explain it...the music just seems to lift me up and take me out of my snow covered home in Wisconsin and directly to the Indian subcontinent, with beautiful open doorways and fresh green grass...:)

h n October 22, 2009 at 5:24 AM  

And something happened to me while reading your Veer Zaara recount. Dunno, but i love to re-live the movies along your words.

And i agree that SRK in interviews is fun (as is Preity, but SRK produces more "quotes").

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