The somewhat Heer-Ranjha type title might lead you to think Veer-Zaara is a story of love and the Ultimate Loss. But Veer Zaara is not a tragedy. The tragedy is that you might have to watch it in the near future. After all, research shows us that there is one frothing Shah Rukh fan for every 20 regular Indians, so it's only a matter of time before one of them drags you for three non-stop hours of Weep-Zyada.
At this point we must reassure you, as we do with many SRK films, lest we get bitten by a fan on the loose: we do not hate Shah Rukh Khan. So please don't hunt us down with torches and burn us at the stake. Thank you.
So, Veer-Zaara. An Indian boy falls in love with a Pakistani girl. You can see the problem right there. No, it isn't that this story has already been done. It is that this is a fairly broad outline, with fairly predictable results. Either boy gets girl and there's much rejoicing in the fields of Punjab, or boy and girl die in slow motion since it is the only way they can be together. One way or the other, you've heard it all before.
The story starts in Pakistan as a young lawyer, Saamiya (Rani Mukherjee), goes to visit her first ever client, a man who refuses to talk. Unfortunately, this state of affairs doesn't last very long and Veer (Shah Rukh) tells her his entire story.
Veer and Zaara (Preity Zinta) are thrown together for two days in India, when she comes to scatter the ashes of a beloved grandmother-figure (Zohra Sehgal). Not the cheeriest occasion, but things soon warm up when Veer takes Zaara to his village among the fields. And love blooms everywhere.
But, unfortunately, Zaara is already engaged to marry someone else (Manoj Bajpai), to protect her conservative family and her father's political ambitions. When Veer goes to Pakistan to bring her with him, he realizes that their love has been "selfish". But even though they part, her fiancé still wants his revenge, so he gets Veer locked up.
Not a spectacular story. But we don't think anyone was going for Spectacular Story with Veer-Zaara. This is supposed to be a highly emotional film about everything from Indo-Pak relations to ma ke haath ka laddoo. Everyone cries a lot and the director is always unsure about whether you've actually gotten what he's trying to say. So he says it again and again and again. It's like having a bad joke explained to you in great detail.
For e.g. when the couple is reunited in the end, we have an old, graying Veer and Zaara looking into each other's eyes for nearly 45 minutes, just so you get the full import of this meeting. Then the camera spins around them and you see them as they were when they were young. Then another spin, and they're old. Then young. Then old. Then young. Then old.
A lot of the movie is similarly repetitive and hackneyed. Shenais wail, bhangra blares and scenes jump disturbingly from somber to furiously colorful. The only thing Veer-Zaara has going for it is the all-too-short appearance of Bachchan. When he speaks you jump on his every word for some relief from the wailing melodrama. Also, a few scattered dialogues are composed and delivered with passion. On the whole, this "special Diwali release" is about as enjoyable as your next-door neighbour's display of the 5,000-laddi. Just ceaseless, pointless noise.