To say that Salman Khan's new release Veer is a period drama that could perhaps do with a little more plausibility and detailing is a massive understatement, even though it confesses at the very outset to be based not on facts, but pure legend. But having said that, what one must remember is that- before anything else- this is a Salman Khan film (the actor, in fact is even credited with the story).
It's daft to go looking for any authenticity here, because past, present or future- irrespective of time period or time zone, Sallu will remain Sallu- and unabashedly so. And in (and as) Veer, Salman does what he does best; pump up the testosterone and the rugged charm in his vintage style. He's armed with his share of trademark punches and punch lines, and every time he turns to give someone that lethally ferocious look, we hear the roar of a tiger in the background. Yes, it's that kind of the film and Salman Khan's fans without doubt will be cheering and roaring in unison as he breaks a sword with his bare hands and pummels a WWE-style British Bulldog- oops- warrior to pulp.
The story, (very loosely) spanning the late 1800's and the early 1900's revolves around the tribe of fierce warriors called the Pindaris, and how they are cheated by a Rajput King (Jackie Shroff) who by deceit, joins forces with the ruling British to rob them of their land and the lives hundreds of their warriors. How they get revenge, led by Veer and how he falls in love with the daughter of (obviously) that very Rajput king along the way is what the film is generally about.
It would have really helped if the central love story of the film, between the Pindari warrior Veer (played by Salman) and the Rajput Princess Yashodhara had some meat, like its refreshingly plump and well-fed debut actress Zarine Khan (who has a pleasant screen presence but lacks personality). But this is, after all, a Salman showcase, and the writers obviously couldn't care much about making the female protagonist a well-written character and create genuine romance and drama instead of just making her stare wide-eyed into the searing , kohl-rimmed eyes of her hero.
Nevertheless, even for the more incredulous viewer, Veer remains a reasonably entertaining masala period saga, steered by director Anil Sharma (more in control than in his last few efforts) and peppered of course, with ample moments of unintentional hilarity (I am tempted to give out the ending, which left me in splits). Also, it is pretty well mounted on a large canvas with respectably executed war scenes (by Bollywood standards, at least), and though there is also plenty of tackiness on display with most of the costumes (including tight leather pants worn by Salman) looking like they are borrowed from a school play (Anna Singh, what were you thinking?)- The makers have clearly put in effort into their product instead on banking on sheer crudity. Even Sajid-Wajid's music- probably their first effort for a historical- is mostly pretty easy on the ears, though it obviously lacks the richness that such a film demands, but then, you can't expect them to do a Rahman.
Watching films over the years, one realizes that a film should be judged for what it really is, and not what you think it should be. And like I said before, this is, after all, a Salman Khan film - and I have to admit it lives up fairly well to that title. This clearly is Wanted in a period setting, and if you are a Salman Khan fan, I guess you would want to catch it. On second thought, if you really are a Salman Khan fan, you wouldn't care for my opinion, would you?
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