Director Vikas Bahl’s ‘Queen’ starts off on a familiar premise – a middle class wedding in Delhi, something which has caught the fancy of film-makers post ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’. The would-be bride narrates her excitement and you feel what she must be going through while wedding preparations are on in full swing. Just when you think it might be yet another take on modern-day marriages, there is a little twist and you have a coming-of-age story with the perfect humour and no unnecessary melodrama – a sparkling little gem of a film with its share of hiccups but excusable for a terrific lead performance.
Kangana Ranaut is Rani – a rather shy, vulnerable and less confident middle class Delhi girl born and brought up in Rajouri Garden and never stepped out of it. Born to over-protective parents, she studies Home Science at a nearby college and helps her father run his sweet shop. Son of a family friend, Vijay (Rajkumar Yadav; now rechristened Rajjkumar Rao) falls in love with Rani and woos her till she accepts his proposal. The guy shifts to London and is a changed man after that. He calls off the wedding a day before it conveying she is not good enough for him. Shocked and shattered, Rani decides to go on her honeymoon all by herself. Passport obtained earlier and tickets to Paris and Amsterdam booked in advance, she travels towards not just a different place but in the process, discovers herself by meeting new people and making new friends.
There isn’t really much of a story here and at over two hours and thirty minutes; ‘Queen’ does tend to get a little long more so, because a few sub-plots appear irrelevant. But it never slips into a film that makes you impatient. Director Vikas Bahl (‘Chillar Party’) serves you a heady cocktail – one that will make you burst out in laughter in several scenes yet make a point for vulnerable women. I found myself in splits clapping out loud in many scenes – the funniest one being Rani’s father and chubby brother both gaping at her new super hot friend (Lisa Haydon) on video chat while the grand-mother calls it an adult movie. Dialogues make the fun funnier here and Bahl makes sure the movie never really gets serious. However, some scenes seem extended and were not really needed. Editing could have been a little crisp. ‘Queen’ also reminds you of ‘English Vinglish’ as far as story-telling is concerned; both the protagonists are weak people who gain confidence when they move out of their comfort zones in the country making firang friends. Music by Amit Trivedi sounds good while you watch the film.
Kangana Ranaut has mostly played unconventional roles with flourish and when she didn’t, it has not been a memorable performance. In a way, this is her comeback film. With not many good roles in her kitty, she might have faded into oblivion if ‘Queen’ wouldn’t have come her way. She is phenomenal as Rani and literally lives it on screen making it her own. Her comic timing is impeccable and there is a certain sweetness she brings into her performance, making Rani a very endearingly warm character – someone you would probably like to have a laugh with. This will shut her detractors and she should be back with good roles in big films once again. Yes, ‘Queen’ is Kangana’s best performance so far. There isn’t really a room for others here to perform. Everyone else is a supporting actor and they all do well. Lisa Haydon looks stunningly hot. Rajjkumar Rao plays a very unlikeable character well but we expect him in better roles post ‘Shahid’.
Watch it or not: Definitely! A warm film with funny moments and a strong lead performance.
At the Box-Office: Will start low but pick up pace due to good reviews and word-of-mouth; won’t face any competition from the other two Bollywood releases of the week – ‘Gulaab Gang’ and ‘Total Siyappa’ but ‘300 – Rise of an Empire’ will bite into its business.