In the last few years, Hindi cinema has discovered a world actually exists outside Mumbai – the realms of Delhi and Banaras. Delhi means largely the middle-class great big Punjabi family and a big fat Punjabi wedding. So no surprises, Queen begins in Delhi by establishing (yet again) the great big Punjabi family, complete with the token bindaas grand-mum and fat younger brother against an about-to-happen big fat Punjabi wedding.
But wait… The wedding never happens as the groom to be calls off the wing ding affair. Bride to be is in shock. And after her humiliation, she decides to go off on the planned honeymoon on her own. And so literally (and metamorphically) her journey begins.
Queen, directed by Vikas Bahl, is a fairly enjoyable trip of self-discovery and flowering of a naive, middle-class Punjabi ‘kudi’ who slowly but surely learns her own self-worth in Paris and then Amsterdam. Small, deft touches make the film what it is often lifting it a notch or two even if contrived in places while being conveniently simple, on the surface and even typically predictable (the humour in the sex shop sequence). Still, there’s no denying the film has heart and its share of heart-warming moments. Hats off to the makers to weave a story around a believable likeable female protagonist and make you go along with her and cheer her at every stage of the film.
Adding to it is a fine central performance by Kangna Ranaut ably carrying the film on her slender shoulders. Ranaut is well supported by rest of the cast, the biggest support coming rather unexpectedly from Lisa Haydon. In a case of spectacularly perfect casting, Haydon makes the role of a single working woman of mixed parentage in Paris her own and proves to be the ideal catalyst who teaches Rani to blossom. Rajkummar Rao (earlier Raj Kumar Yadav) is defeated more by a rather weakly sketched role but plays the cad who dumped Rani well enough for us to applaud her in the last scene with him.
The film does run out of steam due to its length and its sound design is disappointing, often being little more than one song following another in the background. But that still does not take away from the fact that Queen more than deserves a watch. More importantly, it gives one hope that perhaps Indian cinema would now be fairer to the fairer sex in the future.
Hindi, Comedy, Drama, Color