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A PERFECT EMOTIONAL STORY

By S. Mahapatra

Critic's I-view

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Conflict, flashback, twist and romance are the important elements to present a perfect epic drama as a film and when the undisputed king of Bollywood melodrama Yash Chopra returns to the floor for direction after seven long years then 'Veer Zaara' is expectedly a good presentation. Director Yash Chopra has perfectly implemented the basic elements of a remarkable melodrama to give an emotional love story to the audience in this festive season of Diwali.

This emotional love story is not only a serious entertainer but also one which contains a message for the public. Based on the love story of an Indian Air Force Squadron Leader and a Pakistani girl, this film gives a message to strengthen the bond of love between India and Pakistan. The story begins with the sorrowful life of Sqdrn. Leader Veer Pratap Singh (Sahrukh Khan) who is in imprisonment in the central Jail of Lahore for the last 22 years. Everybody has forgotten his real name and calls him by the name of 'Kaidi No 786'. One day a Pakistani lawyer Samiya Sidiqui who is a councilor with the National Human Rights Commission reaches the jail to take up the case of Veer Pratap Singh.

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Veer Pratap, who has not opened his mouth for the last 20 years, talks to her tracing his past existence. Zaara Hayad Khan (Preity Zinta) is a smart daughter of a strong politician of Pakistan Jahangir Hayat Khan. One day Zaara comes out of home on a journey to India without informing anybody to fulfill her grandmother's last wish. She had promised her grand mother that her last rites would be completed in India in a place of Sikh Pilgrimage called 'Tirthpur'.

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On way to India, Preity meets with a bus accident and Veer rescues her as a part of his duty. After that, Veer accompanies the lonely Pakistani girl Zaara to complete the last rites of her grand mother and soon they become good friends. Now Veer brings her to his village to introduce her to his parents Choudhury Sumer Pratap Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) and his wife. Here Choudhury Sumer Pratap Singh is impressed with Zaara as she proposes to open a school for the girls in the village.

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Before leaving the village Choudhury asks his son Veer to propose to Zaara. At the railway station, jusst when Veer is about to propose to Zaara, her would-be husband Raza Sirazi (Manoj Bajpai) appears on the scene. Soon Zaara returns to Pakistan and Veer returns to duty with the memory of Zaara. Zaara's liking turns to love for Veer and just before her Nikah (negotiation) with Raza she discloses her love for Veer.

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Veer also reaches Pakistan but their union remains a dream. Everybody knows that the political career of Jahangir Hayat Khan (Boman Irani) depends on the marriage of Zaara and Raza. He is not ready to accept the marriage of Veer and Zaara. Beacause of Jahangir Khan's reputation Veer and Zaara sacrifice their love and Zaara agrees to her Nikah with Raza. The plot proceeds with Pakistani police arresting Veer on allegations that he is Rajesh Rathode and works for RAW as an intelligence agent.

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Obviously, Raza Siraji plays the crooked role in this. Veer is not ready to reveal the truth in order to save the dignity of Hayat Khan's family. At the same time, the bus in which Veer was supposed to leave for India meets with an accident on the way and all the passengers meet with death. Looking at the passenger list, everyone thinks that Veer Pratap Singh is dead.

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But when Zaara hears about Veer's death, she breaks Nikah with Raza and flies to Veer's native village to fulfil the dream of Choudhury Sumer Singh. When the case reopens, Samiya Sidiqui is not able to arrange any strong proof to identify Veer. So she moves to India to find a person who can identify Veer Pratap Singh and finally she meets Zaara. It is only then that she is able to convince the judge that kaidi no 786 is the Ex- Indian Airforce Officer Veer Pratap Singh and wins against public prosecutor Zakir Ahmed (Anupam Kher).

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'VeerZaara' is an emotion packed love story. The King of romantic melody King Khan Sahrukh along with Preity Zinta breathes life into the lead roles. For the first time Rani Mukherjee's appearance in a strong role of a lawyer is satisfactory but fails to meet the expectations against Anupam Kher in a long courtroom scene. Contrary to his image of a comedian, Boman Irani for the first time appears as a serious father who is more concerned about his reputation. Manoj Bajpai, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini leave a fiar impression on the audience despite their short appearances.

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Kiran Kher's role as a serious responsible mother after 'Devdaas' is impressive and lively. The narration of his life story by Veer Pratap Singh himself makes the film more attractive. Frequent flashbacks and twists keep up the interest of the audience in the film. All the songs move with the script and lead the story forward. Packed with some Punjabi cultural events and messages for a better relationship, love among the Indians and Pakistanis, 'Veer Zaara' is a perfect presentation from the Chopra camp for this Diwali.

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