Monday, June 09, 2014


Queen is not a great film, but a smart one. The makers, the writers and the directors know their craft, and their movies, especially a typical coming-of-age film. And, here, they try to avoid clichés while telling a story which is nothing but clichés. So, clichés are unavoidable (like a food-loving loud Italian, garrulous Punjabis, Bollywood songs in a French disco…).

It doesn’t matter. What matters how the film treats its central character, the smart dialogues and finally, the how the film ends, happily, but not with happily ever after, and not in a wedding, of course.

The wedding comes as the film begins and it is aborted, as Rani’s intended Vijay develops a cold feat realizing how middle class his girlfriend was. The brokenhearted but feisty Delhi girl, Rani, decides to go on a honeymoon nonetheless, because she always wanted to go to Paris and she bought the tickets on her own money. So begins the journey of Rani’s self-realisation, at the end of which she will come to appreciate her own worth. Before that, however, she has to fight the memory of her lost love and meet new people in a strange world, which does not speak English, not that Rani speaks English either.

There is actually no story in Queen, but a series of vignettes, a series of montages set to music, with Amit Trivedi (and others) humming in the background, broken by a series of scenes. It is a wonder that the film works, but it does, and it does wonderfully. For this, first, the credit goes to the screenwriter, who shows remarkable restrain in delineating Rani’s growth. Though it is a story of Rani’s change, she doesn’t change overnight and completely. At the end, she is a changed person, yet, she remains the same girl. For a Hindi movie, this is truly remarkable. Second, the editing, not single scene drags. It ends where it should. Observe how the flashback of Rani’s love story is used. I also liked the scene of Rani being chased by the Eifel Tower. Third, the performance of Kangana Ranaut as Rani. She makes Rani as a middle class Delhi girl believable. Observe, how she says, ‘lip-to-lip kiss’.

I also liked how the film twists the clichés. Instead of going to the regular haunts of a Hindi movie (from Switzerland to London to Sidney) the film goes to Paris (Priety Zinta must be fuming!). And, instead of Hindi-speaking white extras like other films, we have characters from France, Russia, Japan and Italy, none of whom can speak good English, let alone Hindi. But the movies refuses to take a short cut, and let them converse in their half-known languages. Which is fun and refreshing. Also observe how the pole dancer Roxette AKA Rukshar speak such chaste Urdu, which is almost unnerving to listen to. And, to called the half-French girl Vijaylaxmi was a stroke of genius.

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