Womens Day – that one measly day in three hundred and sixty five when the ‘fairer sex’ are pampered and feted! The good thing about this year was the release of a few truly women oriented films just before this day. Queen is definitely the best of the lot.
There have been many ‘Delhi’ films in the past few years, most of them endearing and some not so. The opening sequence of Queen will remind you of some of the better films, Band Baja Baraat and Oye Lucky to name a few. A typical Delhi style middle class Punjabi wedding, complete with a heart shaped neon cut out stating ‘Rani weds Vijay’, a colourful tent, a few tons of marigold, loud music, laddoos and portly aunts dancing away merrily at the mehendi, sangeet and other sundry events while chaotic instructions fly around the house. In the midst of this chaos sits Rani (Kangana Ranaut) – the innocent, young bride to be.
Rani lives in Rajouri (an oft repeated fact) and is the beloved daughter to parents who own a mithai shop. She is a great cook and makes great mithais too. She engaged to Vijay (Rajkumar Rao), the smart, ambitious young man who has returned from London for the wedding. Rani has a million thoughts whirling through her head, about her courtship and Vijay’s relentless pursual but mostly about her wedding and her first night with the ‘husband’. Her dreamy thoughts are thrown out of gear when Vijay backs out of marrying her two days before the wedding saying he had changed post working in London while she had remained the same girl he had left behind. Rani’s dreams are shattered, her family is shocked and dismayed but resolute in their support of their daughter while her young brother swears vengeance on Vijay. Rani comes out of her stupor and declares her intent of going for her paid for honeymoon….on her own.
Rani’s first destination is Paris, the city of lovers and her destination of choice. There she meets Vijaylakshmi (the gorgeous Lisa Haydon) and an unlikely friendship grows between the conservative innocent Delhi girl and the worldly wise French single mother. She then journeys to Amsterdam, which was Vijay’s favourite city (I wonnnder why!!). The film is a slow and beautiful coming of age journey for Rani who discovers a world outside her own in every possible way. She learns to live for the moment without giving up her values and embraces change without losing her essence.
Director Vikas Bahl gives us a little gem in Queen. Seldom has a Hindi film explored a girl’s mind with as much sensitivity as this one. Refreshingly, it is minus pseudo patriotic sentiments usually found in most desi- gone-abroad films. The most wonderful bit aboutQueen is its complete lack of melodrama. There is not a single moment of finger wagging, nostril flaring or righteous sermonizing. Amit Trivedi’s music is lovely as usual. From the foot tapping London Thumakda and O Gujariya to the soulful Ranjha, every track is unique in form and effect.
Kangana Ranaut carries the entire film on her slim shoulders. She holds your hand as you match her step for step through the journey into self discovery. Rajkumar Rao (Kai Po Cheand Shahid fame) is good like he always is but pales in front of the ‘Queen’. The supporting cast is eminently watchable, specially Dadi (do not know her name!) who has the coolest lines in the film!
This is a must must must watch 🙂