Film

Film

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With just the right balance of epic grandeur and break-into-song goofiness, this Bollywood love legend does double duty as a women’s-rights manifesto and a plea for amity between India and Pakistan. Hindu rescue pilot Veer Singh (Shah Rukh Khan, whose welling emotions and quaking stoicism recall Benicio Del Toro) and feisty Pakistani heiress Zaara Khan (Preity Zinta) move from harrowing meet-cute to exuberant cultural exchange (Zaara convinces Veer’s village to start a girls’ school), then plunge into an enforced separation involving Zaara’s arranged marriage and Veer’s unjust imprisonment. Low-lidded Rani Mukherjee plays the Pakistani human rights lawyer for whom Veer’s case is a chance to achieve justice, reunite the lovers, and pave the way for other young women to practice law. Though avoiding messy issues of globalization (Veer rocks mall-wear, but Zaara is no J.Lo clone), director Yash Chopra manages to fight several culture wars while milking the melodrama.

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