In the recent times promos of many upcoming projects have mostly proved to be the deceiving ones as those films had nothing in store for the viewers in terms of the promises made. But thankfully here is a film which not only fulfills all the expectations raised but also delivers both the entertaining as well as the enlightening elements in its impressive execution, confidently.
Directed by Vikas Bahl, QUEEN actually works instantly since it breaks all the set molds of a Hindi film as soon as the girl moves out to her foreign destination to enjoy a honeymoon alone! And when in PARIS, you get to see her coming out of her closed, conservative shell like no other Hindi film has shown till date, to be honest. Yes, the plot does remind you of films such as FRENCH KISS (1995) and our own ENGLISH VINGLISH (2012) which also had a lady stepping out of her house to discover her own new inner identity and feel the freedom. But the similarities end right there and QUEEN comes out as a true representative of the new age entertaining cinema, we have been looking for from quite long.
The film is a winner straight away since it remains unpredictable right from its first scene till the last, offering many unseen sequences in a remarkable style. And then it’s a very fresh, lively and honest depiction of the foreign life which truly adds to the overall feel of the film quite brilliantly. Admittedly though many might find a few sequences, shocking enough to be incorporated in a Hindi film as per our social standards. But actually when a subject like this is tackled with a sincere vision, then such bold, never before kind of scenes are sure going to be there in order to keep it as authentic as possible following its subject's demand.
The other major winning perspective of QUEEN is that this is not a stereotype love story being told with a foreign angle. In fact it is not a love story at all in the first place and is more about the blessed journey of a depressed girl, who rediscovers a new self, after meeting another girl living her life at her own terms all alone, taking its full responsibility whatsoever.
So actually QUEEN is all about women-liberation, but this liberation is not meant from any evil clutches of the men. On the contrary here the liberation is pointing towards getting free from herself and from her own set parameters which force her to questionably give away the reins of her life in the hands of a man, without asking any questions or getting any clear commitments for the future. It’s a 150 minutes joyride which is certainly going to be enjoyed more by the women as its about them and their undisclosed aspirations only which remain hidden in most of the cases just to get buried or burnt along with their lifeless bodies in the end. So for a change, here we have the men playing the supporting cast taking the rarely acquired back seat and the film is all about the women superbly led by one of the most under-rated actress of our times, Kangana Ranaut.
As clearly conveyed in its promos, QUEEN begins with Kangana and ends on Kangana too like very few Hindi films dare to do. The immensely talented girl who was mostly considered as a misfit in the fixed Bollywood format earlier just grabs this rare opportunity thrown towards her like a wounded tigress and then delivers a performance which is sure going to give a tough competition to her contemporaries like Parineeti Chopra, Alia Bhatt and more in the next rounds of awards ceremonies, without any doubt. Her flawless, natural act is simply spectacular in the film as Rani played in a cheerful mode. Plus such is the innocent brilliance in her truthful performance that the viewer just has the girl only in his or her mind while walking out of the theater and that too with all positivity and smile on the faces in a highly satisfying mode. And when a performer or a film successfully manages to make you feel that positive energy and love so passionately then that simply indicates towards a job well done and a message well delivered by its entire team.
However beginning with a highly enjoyable & entertaining first half, the film does tend to become a bit long in its few sequences of the second half (which required a wise editing). Plus it also takes some (fairly allowed) cinematic liberties in its basic storyline too leaving quite a few things unexplained about its key characters in the end. But fortunately Kangana never lets you feel these shortcomings frankly and the progression even makes a more solid impact once she returns back home and decides to do the unexpected quite daringly. The climax fills in a new life back into the film and I was really relieved that it didn’t have something of the routine in its final moments.
Apart from the spellbinding act by Kangana, the other great insightful features of the film deserving a special mention are its writing (dialogues), cinematography, costume designing and background score which give an extremely important and appreciable edge to the product in terms of “A Balance maintained.” Explaining this further, these four departments beautifully maintain a perfect balance between the Indian & Western theme of the movie as required, like the way its characters behave or talk, the way Kangana dresses (both in India and abroad), the sounds being played in the backdrop (using both Indian & Westerns tones as per the theme) and the camera movements which straight away grab your attention in the first hour itself through all those notable angles.
Musically, QUEEN has indeed got a worth listening, interesting soundtrack with a few peppy dancing tracks like “London Thumakda”, “O Gujariya”, “Jugni” and more soothing ones such as “Badra Bahaar”, “Taake Jhaanke”, “Harjaaiyan” & “Ranjha” sung well. Moreover it also teaches how a perfect tribute can be paid to the great songs of our Golden Era by using the track “Maine Hothon Se Lagayi To” from ANHONEE in a superb style with some fine added arrangements. Yes, the film could have easily done without a few songs as usual but I did like one track in particular making a great addition to its theme towards the end which was KINARE composed by the supremely talented Amit Trivedi having some meaningful lyrics.
In the supporting cast, Rajkummar Rao shines in his short role and it was really sporting of him to accept such a miniscule part at this crucial time of his career. Lisa Haydon is truly a delight to watch both in terms of beauty and dialogues complimenting Kangana in her every next step with confidence and all the foreign actors do add their own bit sincerely to make it a worth watching film in its final hour. Still, the ones really giving you a great time in the theater are the actors playing Kangana’s family members especially the father, kid brother and the grandmother giving her a lovely life teaching advice sitting out of the locked door.
To sum up QUEEN is a charmingly entertaining film, which many might rate as just a multiplex movie or something taking our Indian traditions for a toss and more. But for particularly the ones talking about tradition, I would like to ask a simple question which came to my mind while watching its first few minutes only related to the marriage scenes.
And the question is that, Why it is only the girl’s family facing the humiliation and shame if the marriage breaks for some reason?
Now its fine to feel that way when the girl runs away from the house to skip her marriage showing her disagreement. But why its still the girl’s family members only, who are forced to feel that insult even if its the boy refusing to marry for his own silly and cowardly reasons (in which the girl has nothing to do at all)? In fact this clearly reveals the mental imbalance created and practiced in a marriage particularly in our part of the world to say the truth.
So QUEEN comes forward to break this questionable one sided thought process of our own society in an entertaining style with a clear message that yes a girl too has the right to say NO as per her own choice, without feeling any kind of shame or insult. In short here we have a Hindi film taking the next step forward in our Indian Cinema and the effort surely needs to be applauded by one and all, loudly.
Rating : 4 / 5 (Including a special mention for its fine soundtrack along with the highly enjoyable & breakthrough performance of Kangana Ranaut.)