Are you tired of leaving your brain at home when you visit the cinema hall? Is your faith in good art lost when you are only relegated to watch absurd scripts saddled with overused cliches? Do you feel you deserve to see something that actually strays away from the typical Wall Street greed, self-pitiful romances, good vs evil drama and other application of crutches to win awards but not the soul?
Well, here’s your breath of fresh air with a Bollywood film that released on the eve of International Women’s Day – the aptly titled “Queen.”
First, a small introduction to the lead actress – Kangana Ranaut. Granted I have a small bias in favoring actresses like her and Preity Zinta as they, much like me, are from Himachal Pradesh. But so is Yami Gautam. There is a pertinent reason why Preity and Kangana are more of a role model material to me than Yami ever will be – the reason being that Kangana once declined a 2 crore deal for a fairness cream advert and Preity is the proud recipient of Godfrey Bravery Award for her testimony in Indian court despite threats from the Indian mafia. Yami, on the other hand, endorses Fair & Lovely, much like other mainstream actors and actresses of India. You see, fame comes and goes in rapid intervals making anyone a celebrity. However, it takes a great deal of integrity to be an eternal inspiration to others. That is the kind of fire and strength that a woman like Kangana encompasses and I’m sure she will deliver many such remarkable performances in the future.
I was excited to watch “Queen” since the release of its trailer and the film has exceeded my expectations to such a degree that it has become my all-time favorite, even surpassing Jab We Met. Both movies share the common link of a woman becoming cognizant of her strengths and leaving a man who was not worthy of her. In Queen, Rani does it all on her own without the assistance of a rich and handsome Aditya to bring her back into her senses as he did for Geet, which is why I fell in love with Queen even more. It showcases a mature and independent woman with resilience. Unlike DDLJ, where Simran goes on a similar voyage to Europe yet still needs to be rescued by a knight in shining armor, Queen demonstrates the kind of self-discovery every woman needs to undertake for herself. Too often, I see woman-oriented movies that try to evoke the audience’s sympathy for her through depiction of abuse or overbearing sermons but Queen is refreshing and original in every scene. For the first time, it was an evolving story about a woman’s self-actualization. Not a story of her abuse, her sexiness, or any other cinematic way to portray women in only one or two shades. It is a story about a complete woman living life on her own terms, and unlike English Vinglish, Queen travels to nations where even English is a barrier and she is a woman relishing life in her youth.
Full marks for the supporting cast including the Delhi families, Rajkumar Rao, the Parisian Lisa Haydon, and all the men Rani befriends in Amsterdam.
Everything from Rani’s heart-wrenching scenes where she begs her fiance to marry her to her enthusiastic first kiss with an Italian stud are poignant and real. The little nuances of Rani’s brother chaperoning her around, the aunties with poor French linguistic skills, the thumakadas, and gol gappas are all so relatable, thanks to a fine script and dialogues co-written by Ranaut herself.
On a personal note, there is a certain someone from my past who can very well essay the role of Anshuman from Jab We Met and even Vijay in Queen but it would be unfair to make someone the villain in such a way. However, thanks to Queen, I can cement my learned wisdom from my past and say to such a man – “Thank you for the rejection. For I would have never learned how to be happy on my own.”
Kudos to the entire ensemble cast and team for their first-rate performances and I also feel the need to evoke a heartfelt thanks to director Vikas Bahl for bringing such a movie to the big screen.
Man or woman, go see this gem of a film at the nearest theater and feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.