Queen is a film, just the mention of which inspired respect among filmgoers. The film swept away all the major Best Film Awards, including the National Award for Best Hindi Film, in the year 2014. Commercially, too, the film made all the right noise. Made at a modest budget of approximately Rs. 12 crores, the film went into rake in around Rs. 62 crores at the domestic box-office, thus turning out to be one of the most profitable films of the year and one of the most successful ones made in this budget bracket. While celebrating a film we tend to overlook the hardships faced by the makers while putting the project together and securing a releasing for it.
Queen was shot in a 45-day long start-to-finish schedule in mid-2012, almost two years before it finally hit the screens! But, that’s not about it. The struggle for director Vikas Bahl and his partners at Phantom – Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena – begin when they started looking for ways to get the film on the floors. Vikas’s first choice for the Rani, the main protagonist, was Kareena Kapoor Khan. He narrated the script to her and she said a ‘no’. For a while, Vikas kept persuading the actress but she refused to change her stance. When co-producer Anurag Kashyap appeared on an episode of ‘Koffee With Karan’ in 2014, he was asked by host Karan Johar, during the rapid fire round, as to what is that one advice he would like to give Kareena. To this Anurag remarked, “next time, ask what is the film and not who is in the film.” This remark was clearly in relation to the actress rejecting the film.
Kangana Ranaut was approached to play the title role. The last year (2011) Kangana had delivered a solid hit in the form of Tanu Weds Manu but there were setbacks in the form of Miley Naa Miley Hum and Rascals. The film changed many hands and finally, it was Viacom18 which backed the film with all its might. It was also one of the last films to be shot by veteran cinematographer Bobby Singh who passed away during the making of the film. He had finished shooting 90% of the film by the time he passed away. Siddharth Diwan (Trapped, Bhavesh Joshi Superhero) stepped in and finished the remaining portions.
After facing several roadblocks, the film finally made it to the theatres on 7 March, 2014. The rest, as they say, is history. The film marked an important turning point in Kangana Ranaut’s career and since then, she has made a bunch of interesting choices which has further solidified her reputation as a credible actress.
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