queen with border

Queen (2014)

Queen is undoubtedly the most refreshing and well-made cinema I have recently seen. And the credit goes to Vikas Bahl (the director) and Kangana Ranaut (the queen herself).

An overview:

A hard-core feminist film.

An ideal chauvinist, hypocrite and selfish character (Vijay) is taken as a desi male representative (Rajkumar Rao perfectly slips into this role) who happily makes a bastard of himself from the very beginning of the film, just to make sure that our total sympathy goes for Rani (the innocent female victim).

From then on the film is about Rani’s journey, her struggle to blot out her past and achieve a certain level of self-confidence, her thrills in the roads of Paris and Amsterdam, making multi-ethnic friends, getting drunk and dancing on Bollywood remixes, indulging the firangs to have spicy panipuris – she does it all and in the process she rediscovers herself.

Now all this would have been much less entertaining and believable without the brilliance of Kangana Ranaut.

She is one of the very few Indian actresses of our times who is actually evolving, getting better in every film. From her early days of ‘Gangster’, ‘Woh Lamhe’ and ‘Life in a Metro’ (though she was pretty good in these films as well) Kangana has immensely matured as an actress as we see her in her later films ‘Fashion’, ‘Tanu weds Manu’, ‘Krrish 3’ and now certainly her best performance till date as Rani in the film ‘Queen’.

As the story goes:

Happy faces, loud music, semi-choreographed dance-steps – Rani’s pre-wedding celebrations have started. But the festivity gets abruptly curtailed when her fiancé Vijay takes the sudden decision to call off their wedding just a day before the ceremony. His excuse is simple yet dogmatic – according to Vijay his life has changed a lot since he went to London for business purpose and he is sure that Rani wouldn’t be able to adjust with him in the foreign land.

Now the heartbroken, conservative, middleclass Rani is left with nothing except her tears and her honeymoon tickets to Paris. After coming out of the initial shock Rani tells her family members (her parents, her chubby brother Chintu and her surprisingly modern granny) that she still wants to go to her honeymoon … alone.

With a touch of comedy perfectly blended with Rani’s innocence the film leaps into the foreign lands where after a short period of uncertainty Rani seems to meet all the right people and making friends out of everybody.

First was Vijayalakshmi, played by sultry Lisa Haydon who can be seen as the perfect alter ego of Rani. In Paris this sexy, ‘mixed Hindi French Spanish’ girl teaches Rani to enjoy the ultra-modern feminine life, to try fashionable clothes, to get drunk without a reason, to kiss boys ‘lip-to-lip’, take off the bra before going to the dance floor and also to keep a condom handy for the night.

Rani is thrilled and now on her way to Amsterdam.

There she has to share her room with three unknown boys Alexander, Taka and Tim (a white, an Asian and a black – a perfectly stereotype ethnic fusion) who eventually become her best buddies. And of course Marcello the cook who dares Rani to prove her theory that the Indians are the best kissers in the world. And how she proves it … my God … Rani’s first ‘lip to lip’ kiss!

Now there lies the success of the director Vikas Bahl as well as Kangana, they have successfully maintained the innocence of Rani’s character throughout the film even if she gets drunk and accuses her fiancé (without any proof though) of having sex with other girls in London, then she herself shares room with unknown boys (a sin in traditional Indian culture) and even kisses a sexy Italian man to prove her point.

Though Vijay suddenly u-turned his way to Amsterdam in search of Rani and tells her how sorry he is, how much he misses her and loves her and again wants to marry her, Rani this time played her cards not innocently but wisely. With her newly gained confidence and experience in life she knows exactly what to do with her selfish fiancé and how.

Music and Camera and Edit:

Amit Trivedi’s music once again takes us through a fantastic spectrum of emotions. Especially the song ‘London Thumakda’ is a true dance number from which you can’t escape.

Siddharth Diwan and Bobby Singh did a superb job with the camera; the sudden slow motions in high emotional situations are very well captured.

And the editors of the film are Abhijit Kokate, Karen Williams and none other than Anurag Kashyap (his first as an editor). And yes they have done a great job.

And finally:

Especial mention of the hilarious scene in an adult shop in Amsterdam where Kangana doesn’t have the slightest clue that the items she is looking at (even planning to buy for her family) are actually sex-toys and other kinky stuff.

Very innovatively as the film ends and the titles come up, Rani puts the pictures and videos of her entire journey on facebook where the number of likes and comments keeps multiplying.

In this part we see a picture of Vijay with the picture-name ‘kutta’ written and the likes and comments rises up speedily. The last touch of supreme feminism I guess.

Overall loved it, very entertaining and again an awesome performance by the lead actress. Watch it if you haven’t yet … you won’t regret it. Full paisa-wasul.

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