* No amount of gloss can substitute for an engaging story.
* Not all directors are capable of pulling off a period film.
* No star - howsoever strong his rankings are - can infuse life in a comatose script.
Everyone's awaiting Veer with bated breath. The film industry will get another breather if Veer goes the 3 Idiots way the box-office. The junta will have one more fascinating genre to look forward to, if Veer appeals to them. But your hopes go crashing as reel after reel of Veer unfurl.
Salman Khan [who has been credited as the story writer of Veer] takes Taras Bulba, adds Gladiator, Conan The Barbarian, Troy, Titanic and even Kranti [the end is a straight lift of Manoj Kumar's Dilip Kumar starrer] and comes up with this khichdi which gets unpalatable after a point. Veer is about a warrior and at the same time, it's a love story too. Sadly, neither does it evoke any patriotism, nor does the love story make your heart go dhak-dhak.
The writing [screenplay: Shaktimaan Talwar, Shailesh Verma] is so fragile that one is mentally exhausted by the time this marathon movie finally reaches its finale. Of course, Salman's star power tries hard to salvage the situation, but window dressing doesn't help if the store has nothing to offer. Final word? You have to be a Veer to sit through Veer. Colossal disappointment!
As the British enslave India with their devious Divide and Rule policy, kings and nawabs fall to their guile and cunning schemes and entrust their precious kingdom to the foreigners. Except for the brave Pindaris, who prefer death to dishonour and will fight to their last breath to save their land.
The bravest, the toughest, the strongest of the Pindaris is Veer [Salman Khan]. As Veer takes on the might of the British Empire, he also has to fight the conniving King of Madavgarh [Jackie Shroff] as well his own jealous tribesmen. At stake is his love for princess Yashodhara [Zarine Khan], daughter of his sworn enemy. At stake is his thirst to avenge his father's dishonour.
Veer has it all - great stars, opulent and majestic sets, adrenaline pumping action scenes, but no soul [read script]. The movie begins with a bang, but the moment the story shifts to London, it crashes!
Frankly, it's a screenplay of convenience. Salman meets the woman of his dreams within minutes of reaching London and that looks so unreal. You try to digest it and move on to the next scene and lo! The damsel studies in the same college that our hero has enrolled in. Now that looks fake!
The sequence at the interval is interesting, although it remains a mystery how Puru Raaj Kumar gets to know of Salman's identity. At this point, Salman becomes a killing machine, slaughters more than a dozen people in the hostel campus [including a few gora soldiers] and conveniently escapes from London with a badly injured brother [played by Sohail]. Now that is taking it too far.
The second hour goes on and on and on, emphasising on unfulfilled promises, seething anger and revenge, love and freedom and frankly, you are least bothered by now. In fact, you lose interest in the proceedings. Period. The climax is so long drawn and more of an anti-climax, while the ending is bizarre and unintentionally funny.
Director Anil Sharma fails to deliver. That's the bitter truth. The project had everything going in its favour, but alas, Sharma and his writers make a complete mess of the story. Sajid-Wajid's music is melodious, but why repeat one song ['Surili Ankhiyon Wali'] again and again? The background score [Monty] is top notch. Gopal Shah's cinematography is splendid. Tinu Verma's action scenes are dynamic and in fact, the saving grace of Veer. The production design [art: Sanjay Dhabade] give an authentic feel of the bygone era.
Veer rides on Salman's star power, but even his hardcore fans will be disappointed by this movie. Zarine Khan resembles Katrina Kaif, but wears one expression all through. Mithun is okay, while Jackie does his bit well. Sohail Khan irritates. Puru Raaj Kumar and Aryan Vaid get no scope. Neena Gupta is as usual. The English actors are stereotype.
On the whole, Veer proves the age-old adage true: All that glitters is not gold. The film may open very well at single screens thanks to Salman's popularity and the hype surrounding the film and may also enjoy a healthy extended weekend [Tuesday, 26th January is a holiday], but given its exorbitant costs and poor merits, Veer will face an uphill task to recover its costs. This one's a monumental disappointment!
Veer drives home a few hard facts...