Queen Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

Check out Queen Movie Review by Taran Adarsh.

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You enjoy a movie even more if it has the unforeseeable factor adjoined to its premise. Thankfully, a number of storytellers in Bollywood are aiming to surprise, shock and charm you with attention-grabbing yarns you haven’t witnessed earlier on the Hindi screen. Some get it right, some don’t, but what needs to be lauded is the effort to break the mould, to go beyond the stereotype. Vikas Bahl’s QUEEN also dares to push the envelope.

The promos of QUEEN bring back memories of TANU WEDS MANU, partly because the protagonist [Rani] seems like a distant cousin of Tanu. But let’s get one thing clear: The presence of Kangna Ranaut and North India setting apart, there’s no commonality between TANU WEDS MANU and QUEEN. However, one can draw parallels with ENGLISH VINGLISH, since Shashi in ENGLISH VINGLISH and Rani in QUEEN are vulnerable and low on self-esteem, but eventually find their own voice once they resolve to venture out on their own accord.

QUEEN is about a shy and timid girl who travels to Paris and Amsterdam for her honeymoon all alone, when her beau calls off the wedding at the last minute. A quirky concept, yes. But this coming of age story is indeed enjoyable, despite the hiccups.

First, the premise! Rani [Kangna Ranaut] hails from a Punjabi family in Delhi. She has led a sheltered life, having been surrounded by her over-protective, but caring parents, doting grand-mom and younger brother Chintu. Rani is introduced to Vijay [Rajkummar Rao], the son of their family friend. Vijay is attracted to Rani and woos her relentlessly. Eventually, Rani gives in to Vijay’s charms.

Vijay and Rani get engaged. Vijay is posted in London, but when he returns to Delhi for the wedding, he’s a changed man. He calls off the wedding at the eleventh hour. Rani is heartbroken, her family is shattered as well. Rani resolves to take charge of her life. She decides to go on her honeymoon to Europe. All by herself…

QUEEN starts off as yet another attempt to encapsulate the middle class Punjabi set-up [based in New Delhi yet again!], replete with resplendent song-and-dance spectacle prior to the wedding, but quickly changes lanes as Rani sets out for Paris. Steering away from the conservative route of the woman wallowing in self-pity, Vikas Bahl tells Rani’s story with insight and understanding and along with his team of writers [screenplay: Parveez Shaikh, Chaitally Parmar, Vikas Bahl] injects loads of optimism, besides spirited and lively episodes, to portray Rani’s emotional rollercoaster journey.

What really works is the way Vikas presents Rani, his lead character. Rani [in her 20s] is no bimbette or abla naari, is stuck somewhere between tradition and modernity, but has a mind of her own. Her experiences outside the comfort zone [on foreign land], the interaction with varied people she encounters in Paris first and Amsterdam later, the atmospherics… the writers unfurl a tale that’s utterly believable, besides creating a colorful canvas that’s brimming with characters who are *not* cardboard cut-outs. Sure, a couple of episodes may seem quirky, but gel wonderfully in the scheme of things.

Having said that, QUEEN isn’t fool-proof either. The bloated run time — almost 2.30 hours — acts as a roadblock. Also, the story stagnates in the second half. Besides, there are too many songs, especially in the first hour. As a result, the film feels elongated and also indulgent at times. Thankfully, the film is back on tracks towards the closing stages, when Rani meets Vijay in Delhi. The final act is indeed brilliant!

There seems to be an overdose of songs [Amit Trivedi] here. ‘London Thumakda’, ‘Hungama’ and ‘O Gujariya’ are effervescent compositions, while a couple of tracks only add to the run time. Cinematography deserves special mention. The DoP [Bobby Singh; additional cinematography: Siddharth Diwan] captures the sights and sounds of Paris and Amsterdam wonderfully. Dialogue [Anvita Dutt; additional dialogue: Kangna Ranaut] come across real.

It’s hard to take your eyes off Kangna, who captures the nuances of her character spot-on. She’s simply outstanding! Even when the goings-on appear stretched, Kangna doesn’t miss a beat. The earnestness and sincerity she invests in her performance is for all to see. Additionally, the deglam look and the attire [jeans, kurtas, sweaters, handbag] makes it so believable. It won’t be erroneous to state that she turns Rani into the most real woman you’ve encountered on the Hindi screen lately. Rajkummar Rao sparkles in a role not many actors would’ve dared to take up, while Lisa Haydon is simply delightful and supremely confident, complimenting Kangna through and through.

Mish Boyko [as Olik], Jeffrey Ho [as Taka], Guitobh Joseph [as Tim] and Marco Canadea [as Marcello] contribute wonderfully to their respective parts. The actors enacting the part of Kangna’s parents, especially the grand-mom, are lovely.

On the whole, QUEEN reinvents the genre with its non-formulaic screenplay and skilled direction. A charming little film, this one’s made with heart and feeling and it shows. Absolutely recommended!

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10 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Serenzy 7 years ago

    Kangy Kangy Kangy!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  2. Avatar Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    Total Siyapaa Movie Review by Taran Adarsh

    Cross-border love stories raise eyebrows. Always. Especially when it involves India and Pakistan. Recall Raj Kapoor’s dream project HENNA [1991; directed by his son Randhir Kapoor], J.P. Dutta’s REFUGEE [2000], Anil Sharma’s GADAR [2001], Yash Chopra’s VEER-ZAARA [2004]… more recently, Kabir Khan’s EK THA TIGER [2012] centred around an Indian spy falling in love with a Pakistani spy. While the above-named movies reconstructed the ordeal faced by the lovers on account of cross-border romance, Eshvar Nivas’ TOTAL SIYAPAA takes a different route altogether. The director peppers the plot with humor and amusing episodes while depicting the chaos that engulf the lives of the much-in-love couple [Pakistani boy, Indian girl].

    First things first! TOTAL SIYAPAA is based on ONLY HUMAN [SERES QUERIDOS], a Spanish film. The nationalities have been changed [to make it more relatable], while the premise has been modified [albeit slightly] to suit the Indian sensibilities. Also, unlike the above-mentioned Hindi films, this one’s set in London. So, there! The question is, does the cross-border romance strike a chord? Or does the storyteller miss the opportunity to drive home a point?

    Let’s enlighten you about the premise first! Aman [Ali Zafar], of Pakistani origin, falls in love with Asha [Yami Gautam], of Indian origin. He visits her parents’ [Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher] home to seek permission to marry her. However, his plans to impress the family fall flat when the mother discovers that he is a Pakistani. A series of unfortunate events befall the good-hearted but hapless Pakistani boy, leading to outrageous situations.

    Neeraj Pandey, one of the producers of TOTAL SIYAPAA, as well as Eshvar Nivas, the director of the film, are synonymous with serious films that have an undercurrent of tension [although Eshvar has attempted some light entertainers in the past]. The emphasis is to narrate a love story involving an Indian and Pakistani and the script offers ample scope to pack in crazy, absurd and bizarre situations to keep you in splits, but the screenplay doesn’t milk the concept to the optimum.

    While the promos of the film prepare you for a laugh-riot, what unfurls on screen doesn’t keep you in splits through and through. Initially, yes, the humor works, especially when Ali meets his prospective mother-in-law Kirron Kher, but thereafter, a few sporadic instances apart, several episodes fall flat. Instances: The track involving the English cop fails to evoke laughter… The entire track involving Yami’s hyper brother and the Pakistani neighbour doesn’t work… The kanjoos bro-in-law’s sequences are far from amusing. On the brighter side, the sequences involving Ali and Kirron Kher are hilarious. Additionally, the sequence involving Anupam Kher and the call girl, though corny, makes you laugh. However, what could’ve been a funny take on cross-border romance remains, at best, an ordinary fare.

    Since Neeraj Pandey is credited with adapting the Spanish film, you expect him to deliver a spirited tale replete with laugh-inducing situations, eccentric characters and unfortunate coincidences, but the writing appeals intermittently. It would’ve been great to see the peripheral characters [father, brother, sister, bro-in-law, grandpa] contribute to the wacky goings-on, but the screenplay limits their growth. The curse of the second half, which plagues most Hindi films, looms large here too. There’s not much scope for director Eshvar Nivas in such a scenario, although he handles a couple of sequences with poise. The soundtrack [Ali Zafar holds the additional responsibility of scoring the music] is decent. ‘Palat Meri Jaan’ and ‘Nahi Maloom’ are catchy compositions.

    TOTAL SIYAPAA would’ve tottered completely had the makers cast names with no flair for comedy. Ali Zafar has the charisma and talent to carry off the part. He’s likeable as the hapless lover stuck in a crazy situation. Yami Gautam is easy on the eye and leaves an impact. But it is Kirron Kher who steals the show with an over the top act. She is terrific. Anupam Kher is fun to watch, but gets limited footage. Vishwa Mohan Badola, the septuagenarian, is under-utilized. Sara Khan [Yami’s sister] is perfect, while Anuj Pandit Sharma [Yami’s brother] hams. Sagar Arya [Yami’s bro-in-law] is wooden.

    On the whole, TOTAL SIYAPAA appeals in bits and spurts. You expect a laugh-riot, but what comes across on screen is half-baked.

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  3. Avatar Author
    sputnik 7 years ago

    Queen Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 4

    March 07, 2014

    Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon

    Director: Vikas Bahl

    There’s a moment towards the end of Queen when our heroine Rani (Kangana Ranaut) sways on the edge of slipping back into her old life. She hesitates, the moment passes, and you feel Rani’s sheer sense of liberation as she turns her back on a selfish man.

    It’s been a journey of self-discovery, across oceans and continents for this Rajouri Garden girl, but Rani finally chooses herself. It is a sweet victory and you feel richer for the choice she makes because Queen is that rare, disarming film that has you smiling throughout.

    In its very opening scene, we listen in to the unfiltered internal chatter of excited bride-to-be Rani, even as a quartet of elderly grannies rehearse their steps to a popular dance number while wedding preparations continue around them. Rani and her simple mithaiwala family are deliriously happy during the mehendi ceremony, yet even before her henna can darken, the arrogant groom calls off the wedding. “It’s better this way,” the London-returned Vijay (Rajkumar Rao) tells his disbelieving fiancée. He’s that brash wannabe who’s suddenly discovered that he’s bored at the idea of marrying a girl who just doesn’t match up to him. In that one scene set in a coffee shop, director Vikas Bahl conveys volumes. Rani is shattered, while Vijay mutters to her to stop making a scene, then puts on his shades to shut himself out.

    Bahl captures the pain and the concern that Rani’s family feels for her, but the film doesn’t linger on the gloomy mood. With a strange resolve, Rani decides to go on her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam on her own. The tickets are booked and she needs to escape the crushing rejection. At first, she faces a series of typical touristy misadventures, including almost getting mugged. Yet slowly, dealing with a world far different from her own and making unlikely friends, Rani regains her confidence. Bahl is making a case here for opening up your mind – nothing is the end of the world if you just try to step out of your problems.

    The hiccups in the film though are that it’s often predictable and sometimes trite, especially when you learn that Rani’s new Japanese friend Taka lost his parents in the tsunami, or when a Pakistani stripper in Amsterdam reveals that she has taken up the profession to help her ammi and her siblings. Even a cooking challenge involving a gol gappa stall at a Dutch promenade comes off as contrived.

    Yet these are passing clouds in this sunshine film. You burst out laughing as Rani innocently buys souvenirs at a sex shop, or when she narrates Santa-Banta “non-veg” jokes to foreigners. Amit Trivedi’s music lends a joyful third dimension to this narrative, but the sparkling humor comes from the dialogues, which leading lady Kangana is herself credited with co-writing.

    Refreshingly real, the conversations lead you right into the heart and the purpose of the film. Like that identifiable scene when Rani visits her aunt in Paris. Typically the family shows off their ‘firang’ side: uncle relaxing in his massage chair, aunt and grandma speaking broken French, even as they indulge in a pity party over Rani getting jilted at her wedding.

    The film benefits as much from its strong casting. It’s hard to find fault with the actors who land even smaller parts, like the flirtatious Italian restaurateur or Rani’s awkward younger brother. Lisa Haydon is a complete revelation in the role of Rani’s bohemian Parisian pal, investing the character with both sultriness and genuine affection. Rajkummar Rao yet again slips into the skin of his part. He plays an egotistical jerk with the right touch of believability, even showing bursts of self-doubt.

    Ultimately, it’s Kangana Ranaut who makes you root for Rani from the word go. The best way to describe her fabulous performance is by confessing that I forgot I was watching Kangana. It’s a raw, nuanced, delicately comical performance, and Bahl rightfully builds his film around his fearless, quirky heroine.

    I’m going with four out of five for Queen. It’s an extraordinary journey with a Rani who will stay in your heart.

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  4. Avatar
    Prem 7 years ago

    Watched Queen… Absolutely liked it.

  5. Avatar
    Serenzy 7 years ago

    Good Movie(Expected a ‘tad’ bit better). Rocking, rocking – Kangna Ranaut!!
    3/5

    • Avatar
      Serenzy 7 years ago

      It’s better to go in with normal expectations and not get influenced by the glowing reviews.
      For me personally, it was the 3rd MOST AWAITED Movie of this year.

      The film has it’s share of weak plot points but the performances of the actors and some strong female-themes help it to come out better as a film.

      Kangna surprises and is in great form here… The film also has a strong English Vinglish-shade to it, which I’d predicted earlier(And, I personally would pick EV over Queen any day as a movie, though the performances of both the leads were splendid, respectively).

      ps: Watch out for the ‘cute’ end credits 🙂

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