By Aparna Mudi
Self discovery is a premise oft explored by the female centric movie makers in India. Vikas Bahl`s `Queen` is one that has been told with sensitivity.
There is an element of Rani Mehra, from Rajouri, doing home economics from a college is south Delhi, in the middle class girls of India. She has grown up knowing that she has to live by the choices of the elders and then her husband once she get`s married. Life only takes a turn once her marriage is called off by Vijay and she decides to go on her honeymoon alone.
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Kangana is superb as Rani, she has used every ounce of her talent to be the perfect fit as a somewhat scared, `unsophisticated`, conservative Indian girl out, exploring two unknown cities in Europe. Rajkumar Rao has a small part but he will get you to identify with him as any of the umpteen regressive Indian youth who love to make decisions for their spouses, and yet want them to be the arm candies to be shown off to others. The rest of the cast is overshadowed by Kangana`s presence throughout the movie.
It starts off as a love story that has gone wrong. The first half of the movie unfolds rather slowly, interspersed with a lot of songs and you kind of know where the story is heading. But, Rani`s character does not lose her inherent cultural upbringing even when she is drunk in a Paris party. In one scene she gets drunk and loses her inhibitions and starts dancing. That moment of letting go is not a `behenji to babe` moment for Rani. She keeps her character intact. That is the magic of Vikas. The changes he invoked in the character of Rani through her journey are subtle. The entire story is based on Rani as the central character. Not once does Bahl get lost in the touristy spots of Paris and Amsterdam. He stays focussed on her reservations, of her accepting change, of Rani`s albeit late blooming.
The other plus point of the movie is that it is not preachy, it shows both the conservative and the modern flashy women perfectly acknowledging each other without judgments. It celebrates what Rani is, with the understanding of her strengths and shortcomings.
The music by Amit Trivedi is progressive and ranges from the sad `Ranjha` sans any background music to the great build up to the powerful tracks of `Jugni` and `Badra Bahaar`. `Badra Bahaar` reminds you of `O Pardesi` from `Dev D`. Amit Trivedi has proved himself to be a fantastic music director with soundtracks from the likes of `Wake Up Sid`, `Udaan`, `Dev D` and `Lootera`. `Queen` is a great addition to his discography.
Vikas has brought forward the side Kangana that was lost after `Gangster`. The story is etched out well, and it is perfect for the Women`s day theme. Watch the movie to break free from whatever holds you back, and of course Kangana Ranaut.