Sunday, March 9, 2014

MY THOUGHTS ON QUEEN

SPOILERS AHEAD



Films based on women are of various types in our hindi film industry. There are few who spend the entire two and a half to three hours glorifying women, going overboard, exaggerating everything, desperately trying to prove that women are supreme. These films will have a climax laden and loaded with ultra heavy jingoistic dialogues, giving us the message that women are the best.



And then there are few films which steer totally clear off all these shackles and simply focus on the story. Whatever message is supposed to be conveyed is automatically evident, without the need for any exaggerated dialogues and climax. “English Vinglish” belonged to this category; almost.

“QUEEN” belong to this category too, but entirely!



“Queen” is a movie which will linger in your mind for a long long time after you have finished watching it. There are innumerable scenes which you will recollect once you have stepped out of the theatre hall. Prior to watching this film, I was skeptical as to how the director would have treated this film. Would he have lived up to the film’s promising promos, or would he have disappointed us? Vikas Bahl sounded a name I had heard somewhere, but I couldn’t place where. Then it struck me. Vikas Bahl was one of the two persons who directed “Chillar Party” – a film I totally LOVE and ADORE for its attitude, its simplicity and its direction. There and then I knew “Queen” will be special. And I was not at all disappointed.



“Queen” starts off with a typical Punjabi wedding. We are introduced to RANI, who is to be wedded to Rajkumar Rao (Vijay). There is that wooden thermocol heart shaped banner which suggests the same. But before things get cozy, Vijay decides to call off the wedding. Explaining himself in rapid English trying to sound extra cool, he brushes off Rani and her mehndi crumbs off himself and his surroundings as the bride is still trying to absorb the shock heaved upon her. The biggest disappointment – she now cannot go on her honeymoon.





Instead of too much crying and melodrama, we are treated to a subtle and much realistic picture of what usually happens in Indian homes if such a thing happens. When Rani runs into her room and locks herself inside, everyone including her parents, her dadi, her brother, and WE understand that this is the most natural thing to do, and that this is a time when leaving Rani alone is better. The family members initially try to peruade her to open the door. a phone call to her mobile is made too. But then they stop. Out of concern, the dadi sits outside (she doesn’t stand outside banging the door panicking, like a typical hindi movie) and gives her the worldly advise that life goes on, etc etc.

Had it been any other hindi movie, the door would have been broken by now, and inside the girl would have either hung herself or slit her wrist. But NO. as I said, this is something real. And that is exactly why Rani spends the night inside, only to be woken up by the sounds of that wooden thermocol banner being thrown and shattered in the back of a tempo. And then she does the most human thing – grabs the nearest available source of food (A laddoo in this case) and stuffs it down her throat. Then she herself proceeds to open the door and sit down for breakfast.

This was a sequence which escalated the movie to a new high right in the beginning.

Instead of further tears, Rani decides to go on with the decided honeymoon plan of travelling to Paris and Amsterdam. It is a decision taken in haste, but a decision which seems right considering the situation. And so our “Queen” proceeds to PHOREN COUNTRY.



CASTING – I don’t remember the last time I actually marveled at the brilliance of the casting directors. Infact, I didn’t ever think casting could make a very big difference. But “Queen” makes me realize that it is so damn important. Every single character seems so brilliant and natural. We have the male lead Vijay (Rajkumar Rao) who portrays just what his supposed to – romantic in the flashbacks, coming back from London with the air of superiority, apologizing to rani in the end and still getting angry on her trying to show his dominance on her. You neither like him, nor do you despise him. But you know he is not the one for the “Queen”.



The other Vijay is simply outstanding. As Vijaylaxmi, Lisa Haydon portrays the role of a hotel worker who changes Rani’s life to aplomb. Frankly, she is mindblowingly and super hot. She totally succeeds in diverting your mind from the main heroine and making us stare at her with our mouths agape. As spoilt as she might seem, it is she who becomes Rani’s friend in Paris. She never tries to grossly change Rani. She merely makes finer adjustments, the ones which were necessary. When they part at the railway station, we sincerely wish this wasn’t the end of her role in the movie. Rani giving some maternal advice to her on parting is a beautiful and genuinely hilarious scene.





As for the 3 friends/ roommates in Amsterdam, they are very well done. I didn’t find any one of their characters clich├ęd. As the brooding black guy, he is shown playing a silent role in the background. Playing the role of Oleksander a.k.a SIKANDAR, he is superb. Thank god for not having set an infatuation between the two, as in English Vinglish. But ultimately it is the tiny Taka who wins your heart with his genuinely heart warning act.



The Italian restaurant owner is very good in his part. He does his portion gracefully, with the right mix of expressions. As Rani’s first crush and the giver of her first “lip to lip” kiss, he is perfectly cast.



Rani’s parents are aptly cast. Her brother Chintu is lovely. The way he stares and makes fists at vijay at the restaurant is cute. The entire sequence of chintu and his dad’s fascination for Vijaylaxmi is very funny and something quite common in Indian households. As usual, the dadi rocks. Her one liners like the adult film one are awesome.



BEST MOMENTS AND SCENES –

1. Vijay shoving off the mehndi crumbs off the restaurant table and plate.

2. Rani putting down an entire laddoo in her mouth.

3. There is this scene where she comes face to face with the Eiffel Tower. What follows is something brilliantly done. How she keeps running till the tower entirely disappears from her sight is too good.

4. Hing ko English mein kya kehte hain??? Enough said.

5. When Vijay comes on his scooter with balloons and is caught by the police.




6. Her first lip to lip kiss with the restaurant owner – after ages, I actually liked the depiction of a kiss in a hindi movie. So natural and instantly makes you smile.

7. The entire golgappa sequence is lovely, especially the scene where the foreigner initially scoffs at rani for having tried to kill her with excess of spiciness, and then returns to have more, is superb.

8. But the best BESTEST scene of the movie is the enire “HUNGAMA HO GAYA” sequence. Never in recent times has a remix been so awesomely done. To say that Kangana steals the entire movie in that one five minute sequence would be an understatement. She is simply outstanding. The way she enters the club listening to a hindi gaana, and tries to climb onto the top of the counter is hilarious. The SCENE of the movie is undoubtedly the one where she unzips her jacket, waves it in the air and ultimately stuffs it inside her bag – I feel like giving Vikas Bahl an Oscar for this scene. Simply brilliant.


And we are not done yet. She then proceeds to dance more, her hair open, each strand visibly moving, as she takes out every ounce of angst inside her.



There is still more. She continues to dance in front of a taxi driver who is apparently more interested in his cell phone. That again is one brilliantly done and highly humorous scene. By the time the hungama finishes , we have laughed like hell.



DIRECTION – Vikas Bahl is the hero of the film. It is his superlative direction which takes the film to a high level. His attention to minute details is absolutely lovely. His control over emotions is so well done. After Rani’s marriage breaks off, I was expecting her to break down at any moment. But she never cries. Maybe she never felt like crying. And it looked so natural and realistic. And the biggest plus point of his direction – he never changes Rani’s character grossly. The film is a full circle. The Rani we see at the end of the movie is the same Rani we see in the beginning. Her hair has straightened. Her maturity has increased. But ultimately she is still that rajouri girl. THAT is the biggest strength of the movie.



MUSIC – Amit Trivedi’s excellent music fits so well in the film. “London Thumakda” is perfectly filmed at the beginning.

Then comes “Raanjha” which portrays the gloom aptly.

“O gujariya” is superb. The beginning fog-horn sound of the song is heard many times, giving a goosebumpy effect every single time.



“Taanke jhaanke” and “Badra bahaar” are perfectly placed.



“Jugni” at the food making event is very apt.



The best songs are “Harjaayiyan” and “Kinaare”. The former is heard when Rani departs for Paris. The superimposition of the portion “harjaaiyaan milaa who…” and the taking off of the plane is awesome.

“Kinaare” is that trademark Amit Trivedi song which is kept for the end. Sung by Mohan and beautifully penned by Anvita Dutt, this song is simply mind blowing



I repeat. More mind blowing than all these songs is the “HUNGAMA HO GAYA” song.



And finally we talk about the “QUEEN”. As Rani, Kangana Ranaut is a revelation. Giving her career best performance, she wins you over with her acting in every single frame of the movie. tional She aces the emotional scenes without shedding a single drop of tear. Her comic timing is pitch perfect too. She has been credited for additional dialogues, and the dialogues are just right and excellent. Her transformation is beautifully done. When she walks out of Vijay’s house in the last scene, we can’t help but silently cheer for her. This is her film, and she grabs it entirely.



As an actress, Kangana has always done diverse roles. She perfected the drunkard act in a couple of Bhatt films initially. Then she gave her best performance in Tanu weds Manu, a film which made me fall in love with her. “QUEEN” surpasses all her previous ventures. This film is useless to be imagined without her. She doesn’t act or emote. She just reacts and talks, behaving like any ordinary person would. She makes us forget that we are watching a film. Instead we feel we know Rani since years. As I read in a review on the net, the film ends on such a note that we keep thinking what will happen to Rani after all this. THAT is something rare for a hindi film. That we keep pondering over the various scenes of the movie hours after it has ended is a great thing. There is no message given here. Just like Chillar party, the bhaashan baaji is kept almost nil. True it is a woman centric film, and it celebrates the true indomitable spirit of a woman. But it doesn’t tell us that on the face. We automatically get the message by the time the movie gets over.





Do not miss the ending credits. Facebook never seemed so good.



OVERALL, “QUEEN” is a superlative film, be it the direction, the music or the performances. A film which deserves loads of awards this year. In true sense, “Hungama ho gaya!!!”

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