Love Aaj Kal 2020 Character Post: Veer

The 3 of you who loved this movie, this is for you! I expect LOTS of comments! Oh, and if you only vaguely enjoyed the film, you can comment too, that’s allowed.

Veer! The movie comes at him backwards. We see a strange young man who is brilliant at software but has no job and throws himself into stalking the girl he just met. And then later we fill in the rest of it.

I’m gonna come at him forwards. His family is wealthy, and uppercrust. The things most people in India dream of, he already has. His family is global, overseas is no challenge for him. They have a comfortable house, they have beautiful things, they can enjoy artistic pursuits. No worry about obsessing over a career and “practical” choices. And beyond that, he is smart. He is naturally gifted at software to the point that he is being headhunted instead of hunting for a job. Professional success at the thing he enjoys doing is right there in front of him without needing to strive. If he follows the rules laid out by society, his parents, everything, he should be happy and strive no more.

Love Aaj Kal: Kartik Aaryan introduces his 'other half' Veer ...

Veer’s first line is “we are not optimizing the situation”, while about to have an anonymous hook-up with Zoe. It’s about Zoe, about feeling this connection with her and wanting a lot more than just a one night stand. But it also tells us how he looks at life. Veer is not a settler. In any area.

Veer is, strangely, the healthiest person in this movie because he refuses to settle. He believes he is worth more than settling. Without being arrogant about it. He doesn’t want the one night stand with Zoe because he thinks they could be more, but he doesn’t pressure her to agree. He is just there, waiting and hoping. He will not take less, but he will take nothing. That is his choice again and again. He will take no job at all, rather than a job he cannot believe in. He will take no relationship with Zoe at all, rather than just sex.

That takes a lot of courage, to turn your back on half-happiness because you believe you deserve full happiness. This is a film about rich people and their love lives, seemingly pretty light weight. But Veer’s belief that half-happiness is not worth it is a vital argument that applies to Indian society top to bottom. Don’t have a marriage where you have to “adjust” afterwards, don’t accept an unhappy relationship with your parents just because they are your parents, don’t snap up a job just for the security and money. Better to be unmarried, better to fight with your parents than let it fester, better to take the smaller less impressive job that requires no full commitment.

Most of this courage comes from within, it is simply how Veer is. But the film gives us a few details of his life to see where it could come from the outside. First, he has Aspergers. Just enough to make him less able to read and understand the non-verbal communication of other people. Which has also made him less afraid of judgement from other people, he says the truth because he doesn’t always know when it might hurt someone, doesn’t know that it is wrong.

More important than that is the information we get about his family. An only child, clearly very loved and indulged by his parents which gave him a healthy sense of self worth. But at the same time, observing the hidden fractures in his parents’ marriage, the way their “perfect” life was filled with compromise and unhappiness. He knew love from his parents, and he knew the lack of love they felt towards each other, he knew what he wanted and didn’t want.

In other movies, this is shown as a privileged thing, the people who can afford to follow their Dreams because everything is handed to them. Nothing is handed to Veer. It’s not about wanting his dreams to come true, it is about understanding what is possible, what is the optimal version of the situation, and working towards that and nothing less than that. One night with Zoe would be good, but he can give that up in the hopes of a lifetime with her. A contract job with a corporation could mean money and security and an overseas life, but he can give that up if it leaves him free for a job that matters to him and the world, that is more than just money. He is still working freelance, he can support himself, but his future plans are about looking for the best possible option, not grabbing the best option he can get right now. And he will find Zoe and watch her and give her rides, that is better than taking sex right away, better to wait and have the possibility of something more.

This is part of why he appreciates Zoe. She also refuses to compromise, she has her dream career and she is going after it despite the struggle at the start. But in their relationship she is afraid to say what she wants, afraid that it is impossible. They break up because of that, she isn’t as fearless as he is.

Part of why Zoe appreciates Veer is because he always says straight forward what he wants, unlike her mother who changes with the wind. But that is also why they break up, she can’t believe he really truly means what he says, that someone could be that fearlessly honest.

Love Aaj Kal movie: Kartik Aaryan-Sara Ali Khan romance is banal ...

Okay, that’s what I’ve got! What do you think about Veer?

13 thoughts on “Love Aaj Kal 2020 Character Post: Veer

  1. Veer really was something that in a previous movie by Imtiaz and if Ranbir was starring would be the main character. In a way, he is with his passion, complicated parents and love problems, but instead of being a privileged entitled self-centred jerk, he is an honest sweet person who understands others. It is like Imtiaz realized that Ranbir’s characters were mistakes and tries to rectify them here with Veer who has all the privilege and passion and problems in his life, but who is much more caring about Sara than Ranbir ever was about Deepika or Nargis in his movies.

    He is also so supportive to Sara, but also isn’t just distantly pining to wait for her (in a sense) and actually goes to do something with his life, but has told her that he is waiting for her and he is there if she comes back to him. He gives the option straight on that Ranbir or Deepika didn’t do and still in a way waits because that is the kind of person he is and he is OK because we know his character. Unlike in Tamasha where Deepika was a mystery completely except for one song and her motive for not enjoying single working woman life and not have other relationships were confusing because she has a good life and she would not enjoy it because of LOVE…ugh.

    I just love Veer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Veer is an answer to all the struggling unrequited lovers, and struggling young man who are unhappy with their lives. He takes responsibility for himself, in every area. He likes a girl, so he finds her and offers her motorcycle rides and listens to her and gets to know her, and is ready for rejection. He wants a more satisfying life, so he braves uncertainty and rejects safe jobs and then goes out and finds an unsafe one that he likes. All you have to do is look beyond yourself and try to make other people happy (what does Sara want from him? What job will help people in the world?) and you will be a lot saner and happier and just over all better.

      I love how his romance both is and is not like the usual one. In every other movie, he falls in love at first sight, stalks her, pressures her, convinces her she “owes” him love, then when they are separated he pines away and tries to “win” her back. Instead, he falls in love at first sight and tries to actually get to know her with no expectations. When they are separated, he knows he can’t “win” her back, she is the one who has to change from within, so the best thing he can do is go off and try to find something else that gives meaning to his life. While still being there for her! Ranbir in Tamasha just disappeared from Deepika’s life and went off to find his own happiness, no kind good-bye like Veer gives Sara. Ranbir in Rockstar was all about Nargis, no care at all for his fans and the greater world. This was just the perfect in between, Veer can always love Sara and be there for her while still loving the rest of humanity.

      On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 12:37 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      • I have to say that I am loving this Imtiaz Ali writing of JHMS and also Highway more than I think I have ever loved any of his other works! I swear he must have had some kind of an epiphany after Ranbir and realised what he was doing with his characters that weren’t good and tried to rectify them and do them justice with these later movies. It just feels to me this way, but who knows.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I could see that! His films post-Tamasha (the nadir of his treatment of female characters) are so extremely female focused, it does seem like he somehow discovered what was missing.

          On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 1:05 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Veer is my most favorite male character of all Imtiaz Ali movies. As you said above, he is just a perfect balance of everything. What I liked the most about him was that despite all the visible “shortcomings” in him, and him being aware of it all, he was never insecure. When Raj first sees him with Zoe outside the cafe, Raj was almost mocking him and kept his hand on Veer’s shoulders and Veer instead of overreacting out of ego, repeated the same gesture indicating that ” I know what I am doing, don’t tell me “, he is not at all concerned with what anyone thinks and is somewhat detached from all the materialistic world.

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    • Oh great moment! I saw the hand on shoulder slightly differently, as part of Veer’s Aspergers, he is mimicking what other people do because that is how he learns what is appropriate. But it’s still your larger point, Veer sees Raj as equal to him, so he does the same thing to him. No insecurity, no inferiority, confident that he is doing the right thing.

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  3. I didn’t get one scene, in the beginning when the Dhak Dhak song is going on, we see Veer writing something on the wall in his house ” stop this train”, why was he writing that it seemed as if he is noting down his thoughts or maybe it was meant to indicate that he was on the spectrum? What do you think?

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    • I thought that was on a public wall, a place where lots of people write graffiti, and it showed how Veer wants to be part of the community but struggles with it. He clearly thought carefully what he wanted to add, and then wrote it in careful small letters.

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  4. Veer looks much much better on the paper and it confirms my opinion that Kartik wasn’t good in this role. I wish someone else played Veer e.g Avinash Tiwari. He has the right look and much more talent. I’m sad that such a good character was killed by the bad trailer and lack of right definition.

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