Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon
Direction: Vikas Bahl
The best thing about ‘Queen’ is that Vikas Bahl has crafted memorable characters that don’t conform to Bollywood stereotypes. The story weaved around these characters stays always relatable, luring you into Rani’s (KanganaRanaut) world fuelling your wanderlust.
Yes, weddings are the most overused canvas in contemporary Hindi films but there is a touch of relatability in this one. This wedding is chaotic unlike our typically glossy Bollywood weddings and you spot a touch of authenticity when you see our winter bride wearing a slightly oversized sweater over her sequined dress for the mehendi ceremony. When ‘London Thumakda’ plays out on the big screen, you do feel like joining the fat aunties and doing your own little jig with them.
The promos did prepare us for it but when Rani is dumped at the altar, your heart goes out to her character. You can see the initial shock register on her face and as the truth of the situation sinks in, her eyes brim over. Fortunately,we don’t have her family go all melodramatic about this unexpected turn of events. In fact, her grandmother wisely states that there are bound to be several suitors for Rani, just like she had managed to find the grandfather at a refugee camp immediately after she had been parted from a Pakistani lover.
What’s interesting about our film’s protagonist is that she decides to make it to the honeymoon on her own. And not for a moment is this journey about finding the prodigal fiancé and trying to get him back. Rani makes this journey because Paris is important to her, she had always wanted to travel to France and wedded or not, she was keen on going there. Rather than sit and mope about a guy, she decides to live a dream.
During her stay in Paris, Rani meets Vijaylakshmi (Lisa Haydon) a girl full of spunk and style. While she is a lovable character, the director is right to let go of her in Paris and not saddle her through Rani’s travel to Amsterdam.
It’s a completely different world for Rani - A girl who has hardly ever stepped out of Delhi, has always listened to everyone, been readily apologetic even if it’s not her fault. It’s only in Amsterdam that Rani begins to come into her own. She lands in a hostel where she has to share a room with three boys. She learns to tide over her insecurities. She has to figure out her own way without any companion watching out for her like Vijaylakshmi did in Paris.
Rani’s journey is interesting; Amsterdam is a place of new learnings peppered with moments of genuine humour. And just because she is staying with three boys, we have no slow motion blowing of hair in the wind and one of the guys falling for her. Yes, there are moments of honest affection and comfort but no awkward attraction.
The film pays attention to detail and you see Rani’s mehendi slowly lose colour as her journey progresses. Rani’s character evolves but they are not marked by the superficiality of donning hippie clothes, she still continues to be most comfortable in cotton kurta and a pair of jeans.
The under-confident protagonist doesn’t overnight evolve into a feisty heroine but through her solitary musings you realize she is questioning the many diktats that she had just grown to accept over the years. You see how she had unquestioningly accepted that there is no need for her to work and that she shouldn’t dance at weddings. Why had she allowed her boyfriend to impose his biddings? This made no sense to her anymore.
Rajkummar Rao is a solid actor and he is apt for the role of this typical Dilli boy who is so used to having his way. But despite the good work done by him and the other supporting characters,this film completely belongs to Kangana Ranaut.
Rani could have easily become a caricature but Kangana pulls off a class act never missing a beat, making you feel for the initially heart-broken protagonist and celebrating with her as she relishes a newfound sense of self.
Vikas Bahl deserves applause for steering cle
ar of melodrama and sparing us long monologues. I guess he was right to be satisfied with this film; there is really no need to change a single frame.
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