16 years ago, Yash Chopra was planning to return to direction after seven years of gap and Veer Zaara happened. He says it is a tribute to his Punjabi roots. This movie on cross border lovers is a creation of Aditya Chopra and is beautified by original music compositions of Madan Mohan as revised by his son Sanjeev Kohli. The lyrics are by Javed Akhtar. Starring Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji, the film sensitively portrayed the relations of India and Pakistan. The movie was well-received by the critics, and praised all over the world, which ended up earning it several awards and a huge box office collection.
The story of two lovers Veer, an Indian Air Force pilot and Zaara, a Pakistani girl from a strong political background happen to fall in love. Their love is pure, innocent and very real. Separated by circumstances they spend 22 years of their lives loving each other in solitude before Saamiya Siddiqui gets them justice served. With music that plays with the strings of the heart, emotions that do not let the eyes dry and a heart-breaking poem, in the end, make this movie a classic.
To know what it did to those who watched it, here are a few heartfelt letters to its characters.
To Veer Pratap Singh
Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh … from where do I begin? This letter filled with my admiration for you is going to be long.
I was 7 years old when I first saw you in that helicopter, you, in that blue uniform and aviator glasses simply stole my heart. I wasn’t old and wise to understand much but enough to understand the depth of your love for Zaara, sorry ‘Your Zaara’ for whom you left your family, job, country and everything else behind. To think of it, you actually left your identity as well.
You didn’t think twice before resigning from your job the moment you got the news that Zaara loves you back and you need to go to Lahore to get her. It wasn’t some random job but the one which was your pride. You did it for whom? A girl of another religion and another country? And not any country but one which is not treated as a neighbour but regarded as an enemy. For you, her identity didn’t matter, all that matter was that you loved her.
When Raza plotted a dirty game against you, you knew you cannot go back to your country, to your family, unless you name Zaara and ask for help. But that would’ve meant to stain her honour and it was something you wouldn’t do even in your dreams. So, you chose an eternity in jail over freedom by staining your beloved’s honour. At such an early stage you taught me what true love looks like and how one should stick to it, no matter what.
Even when Saamiya came to help you, you weren’t ready to take Zaara’s name because you wanted to keep her honour as it was, untouched! How could you love her so much? And that too in a few days? And how could keep on loving her even when she wasn’t even around for 22 long years. How could you keep on dreaming about her every single moment of your day and night? How could anyone sacrifice all his life for someone he/she met for a couple of days? If someone would have asked this to me before I saw you, I would have easily replied with a no. But after knowing you, I can’t.
Zaara described you as, एक ऐसा शख़्स जिसकी आँखों में सच्चाई है ओर बातों में शराफ़त। एक ऐसा मर्द जो एक औरत पर अपना सब कुछ लुटाकर मोहब्बत करेगा। एक ऐसा शख़्स जिसको कोई फ़र्क़ नहीं पड़ता की मैं एक पाकिस्तानी हूँ ओर वो एक हिंदुस्तानी, and rightly so. You proved that she was right. You were someone who could happily sacrifice his life for the woman you loved.
You know people say such love only exist in fiction and not in reality. But for me, you’ll always be real and I’ll always be waiting for My Veer to come and take me home. Thank you for giving me your eternal tale of love to cherish forever and to show me that no sort of power can put true love apart, and as your fellow lover, Om has said “kisi cheez ko dil se chaho … to puri kainaat usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai”
Lots of love and thanks,
A hopeless romantic girl of your own land.
To Zaara Hayat Khan
It is not as if I hadn’t come across more beautiful characters than you before, but for some reason, I couldn’t take my eyes off you.
Back in 2004 when I was just learning to speak my first words, I had no idea of your existence. It wasn’t until I was six or seven years old that I saw you, and ever since then I don’t think I have come across someone I can love more. I don’t know if I was old enough to understand all those abundant emotions you hid in a tear that you couldn’t blink back. I don’t know if I was old enough to know what sacrificing for love meant. I don’t know if I was old enough to resonate your pain of incomplete love. I don’t know if I was old enough to understand. But you spoke to me. You spoke right to my heart. I could sense something among those fibres but I don’t know if I was old enough to name it. I had felt something surreal that day. I feel surreal to date.
Zaara Hayaat Khan, the other half of Veer, how could you? How could you be in love with someone so much that you didn’t need him around to love him? How could you leave your land, your people just so you could fulfil your lover’s dream? How could you live in a land that wasn’t yours and serve its people like you always belonged there? How could you spend 22 years with the grief of not having seen the love of your life one last time? How could you belong to a country I was taught to be my enemy but take away a piece of my heart with you? How could you just be?
I don’t know if my questions will ever reach you, but I know you have those answers. I know you told me those answers. I know those twitch in the fibres of my heart were your whispers. I know you touched my soul. I know you revealed those emotions flooding your eyes. I know I might find them some time on a crossroad of my life and look back to not find you looking at me. I know you answered and they are with me, only if I could find them soon.
So Janam, until our distances aren’t pitched, I will keep questioning you.
A girl who believes love is a mirage for her
Penned and designed by Mahvish Fatima
To Saamiya Siddiqui
You stood strong against all the people who belittled your capabilities as a lawyer just because you were a woman, you stood tall and fought against not these people but against their flawed thinking, you fought for what was right, you fought for the truth and proved that women are no damsels in distress and neither are they meant to stay in their kitchens not by words but by actions. In fact, you are one of the very few women from who gets to save the man on the screen instead of being saved, and we’re proud of you for that.
You are a woman that everyone needs to look up to; you’re strong, compassionate, intelligent, courageous and kind. Your willingness to help Veer, overlooking his identity as an Indian Hindu man, but only seeing him as a human stands as a beacon of love and hope for humanity. You did not let Veer’s nationality or religion define him or reduce him to criminal in people’s eyes, you not only tried to prove his innocence but also fought for his honour and dignity as an individual. You treated him with respect and warmth which shows your regard for people as humans and not for tags and labels. You poignant questions like, why out of the thousands of prisoners it was only Veer who was numbered 786? What would it feel like if someone was identified with a different name for 22 years? And make people think.
Your strong ideals were clearly visible in your disregard of doing any unjust act, you left a big law firm because your ideals did not permit you to work with such a firm. While leaving, you did not think twice about how problematic it could be for you to stand as an individual lawyer and not associated with any firm. You did not fear to take up your first case against a well-established lawyer and you responded to his arrogance with determination and spirit, you didn’t let his arrogance stamp over your ideals, you knew that thinking of what is right and what is wrong is important to all, even for lawyers. Your weak moment when asked for help from Zakir Ahmed, the owner of the firm you left, only shows your human side because Veer’s case for you was never a matter of ego it was always about a person and his freedom which he deserves.
You’re everything the world needs right now, you saw people for who they are, you had respect and regard for life and people, you cared for what was right, even if for some it was idealistic and impractical. You knew that humanity is something that goes far beyond political borders. And above all you knew who you were, and what you wanted. You wanted to make things right and never gave a second thought to what people may think or believe. You represent what the future needs and what the present is not. Samiyaa, you’re an inspiration for many like me.
With lots of love an admiration,
A little girl from your neighbouring country, aspiring to be like you.
Penned by Areeba Husain and designed by Mahivsh Fatima.