If there’s one thing we have come to expect from Phantom Productions, it has to be out of the box, not run of the mill films that tend to steer clear of the normal Hindi films we get to experience on a daily basis. Lootera and the recently released Hasee Toh Phasee followed that pattern. Now they are back with their latest film Queen, directed by Vikas Bahl who holds a joint stake in the company. Queen is slated to be a coming-of-age story set on a typical Rajouri Garden girl from Delhi. Does it live up to the billing? Or does it surpass it? Let’s find out.
Story: Queen is about Rani (Kangana Ranaut). It is about a girl who hasn’t seen life apart from her own friends and family because she grew up in a guided atmosphere. Rani is about to get married to her old sweetheart Vijay (Rajkumar Rao) and gets dumped by him just a day before the marriage. She locks herself in her room after hearing the news and comes out of it only to express her desire to go to her honeymoon alone. This decision and trip sets off the film. She jets off to the bylanes of Paris and rediscovers life away from the bustling chaos of India’s capital city. She also makes a friend called Vijaylaxmi (Lisa Haydon) who makes Rani unknow everything she has been brought up to learn. Rani then visits Amsterdam and diversifies her friend circle with a bouquet of friends from countries like Japan, Italy and Spain. The various incidences laden throughout the film only help Rani in her discovery of her own self.
Screenplay and Direction: Parvees Shaikh, Chaitally Parmar and director Vikas Bahl have been credited with the screenplay of Queen. What is visible from the first frame of Queen is the deep-rootedness that the film has with the real life. So many Hindi films have been set in the world of Punjabi weddings, but Queen gets the tone just right. The frothyness of the lead character is further accentuated by the tremendous research of the writers. Queen never loses its plot even though it stays on a predictable course of comedy and drama because the small moments make a mark big enough to make the toughest of people cry. That’s where the victory of the director lies. He makes his audience weep without resorting to melodramatic sequences and dialogues. Vikas Bahl shows us through his sophomore directorial effort that the farther we go, the closer we come to our own conscience.
Queen would have been half the film it is, had the technical aspects of the film not been of the topmost quality. The cinematography by Late Bobby Singh and Siddharth Diwan is splendid and they are able to capture the beautiful cities of Delhi, Paris and Amsterdam astutely. The editing by Abhijit Kokate and Anurag Kashyap works to the tee. The dialogues are spot on, the casting is first rate. The music of Queen matches the desired tone of the film and the songs have also been composed keeping the flavour of the film in mind. But Amit Trivedi needs to rediscover himself as his sound has started to sound similar.
Acting: Queen is Rani is Kangana Ranaut is Queen. Queen is all about Kangana’s Rani and Kangana doesn’t disappoint. Her portrayal of Rani is so brilliant that you can feel the character’s inner turmoil even though she never expresses much in the sad scenes. She is loud and garish when she is within the confines of the familiar environment of Delhi but quickly goes into a shell when she reaches Delhi only to rediscover a completely different facet to her character. And it is to Kangana Ranaut’s complete credit that we never for a moment look at Rani as Kangana. Rani is Rani. Just that. And that is why Queen works as a film. Rajkumar Rao does a fine job as the chauvinist Vijay and Lisa Haydon is consistent as Vijaylaxmi unlike her accents.
Conclusion: Queen does what English Vinglish did, and takes it a step further with its realism and the portrayal of comedy on tragedy. Queen (thanks to the brilliance of the director) never quite forgets where it came from and where it has to go. And that is what makes Queen such a fantastic little watch. It thrives on its predictable start and makes a European meal out of its failings but it never forgets the taste of Gol Gappas. Queen is one of the best films to have released in the recent few years with a woman headlining the act. You would not want to miss out on such a sumptuous film because the aftertaste lingers on even longer than the runtime of the film itself.
Box Office: Queen is supposed to take a below par opening but the word of mouth of this film can be expected to rise from the first day itself. By the end of its run, Queen should end up as a profitable venture for the makers.
- Vikas Bahl’s direction shines
- The writing of Queen is seeped in realism
- Kangana Ranaut delivers a performance for the ages
- The cinematography and the editing sync to make for a fluid film
- The music of Queen matches the tone of the film
- Sweet aftertaste of the film
- The stereotypical characters that Rani befriends in Amsterdram
- Lisa Haydon’s acting is inconsistent but that is not much of a deterrent