How is Veere Di Wedding getting the buzz that Angry Indian Goddesses didn’t?
The upcoming film Veere Di Wedding is all about female bonding, women being uninhibited, confiding in each other, supporting each other, and so on. Does that make it very similar to the 2015 film Angry Indian Goddesses?
Asked if he feels Veere Di Wedding takes inspiration from his film, Angry Indian Goddesses director Pan Nalin says, “There’s a whole lobby going on that’s like ‘this film is that one’s copy’. I have an opposite reaction when somebody copies my work. I feel happy that somebody somewhere is, may be, inspired... or, [they] might have not seen my work, maybe it’s pure coincidence. It gives me strength that somebody has to go out of their way to copy my work. I’ll be freaking out or slip into depression if people stop copying my work.”
The mainstream Bollywood film, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, and Shikha Talsania, doesn’t appear to have the edge of Nalin’s drama, starring Sarah-Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Anushka Manchanda, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Amrit Maghera, Pavleen Gujral, and Rajshri Deshpande. But there’s a much starker difference. The film with bigger names is generating a lot of buzz and will get a widespread release, whereas the film with more grit struggled to find screens.
“Without big, powerful stars, it’s very tough to release a film,” believes Nalin. He was recently asked on Twitter why movies like Angry Indian Goddesses “aren’t exposed or given their due”. To which he replied: “It’s because India is a star struck country which fails to see amazing talents like [the actors in his film]. They’re probably better off with Veere di Wedding (sic).”
Once it released, Angry Indian Goddesses got rave reviews, but Nalin says that a lot goes into the dynamics of a film’s release and just “making a good movie is not enough”. He explains, “We realised that there’s a tremendous amount of bullying by certain powerful distributors, theatre owners, and exhibitors. We weren’t able to get the shows we wanted. We even paid for the trailers, but they weren’t running in the cinemas.” At one theatre, his film was doing better than a major Bollywood film, but the cinema still pulled his film out, because the Bollywood star was the cinema chain’s brand ambassador. Though he laughs about it now, Nalin says that it was “disheartening”.
He adds that “even those films that were good wouldn’t have worked had they not been carried on the shoulders of Aamir Khan (Secret Superstar, 2017) and Karan Johar (The Lunchbox, 2013)”.
But those who’ve watched Angry Indian Goddesses still write to him, and that gives Nalin some happiness.
Filmmaker Pan Nalin; Stills from Angry Indian Goddesses (top left) and Veere Di Wedding (left)