Life's not always good to those who live by the book and Rani (Kangana Ranaut) learns her lesson much too late almost when she gets dumped by her fiance Vijay (Rajkummar Rao) just a day before her wedding. Having yearned to witness her D-Day going perfectly, Rani is left shattered as her world comes crashing down. She locks herself in her room, hoping to escape the situation and the pain of being dumped. And her escapism only makes her stronger, she decides to go the unthinkable, set off for her honeymoon to Paris and Amsterdam alone. What initially turns out to be a nightmarish idea, turns into a journey of self-discovery as the free spirited Rani tastes independence for the first time.
From the outset, Queen appears a tale much too similar to English Vinglish what with all the central character's nervousness on embarking on a journey all by herself and later breaking the shackles of their reservations and reveling in the newfound confidence but the two women chart their own journey.
For a woman laced in the Indian garb, one who's saved herself for her husband and is proud of her virginity, Paris is a culture shock and just the contrast she is looking for to leave behind her life. However, the city turns out to be incomprehensible, ruthless and unaccommodating till she holds on to her reservations and miseries and the moment she lets go of it all, all thanks to her new found friend in Paris Vijaylakshmi (Lisa Haydon), she discovers a whole new life.
Vikas Bahl's Queen is an uplifting, bitter-sweet story that transports you into the film to become one with the author-backed character. The filmmaker doesn't work too much on the story but on the character and her experiences for that forms the backbone of the film. The way Queen simply addresses the stereotyping of women in India and chauvinistic behaviour of men and the social pressures is commendable. It's that very innocence of her character that's infectious and strikes a chord with the masses.
There's never a dull moment in the film and though the movie treads on the predictable path in few instances it's the actor again that keeps you going but what's also impressive is where you expect it to go the typical filmy way it beats you and gives an ending that's befitting the plot.
The ace in Vikas Bahl's Queen is the Queen of course. Kangana Ranaut sinks completely to become one with her character. She breathes life into Rani, a character that has the power to make you laugh or cry. Her innocence mixed with the childlike inquisitiveness to try anything new is infectious. There couldn't be a better Rani than Kangana Ranaut who gives a pitch-perfect portrayal.
Rani stands tall all thanks to the many characters that come along in her story. Right from her family including the likes of her father, mother, younger brother and grandmother, all of whom might just be exactly like your parents to the ebullient, full of life Vijaylakshmi, all the characters aide Rani towards self-discovery. Lisa Hayden is a complete surprise package who not only looks jaw-dropping gorgeous in her Indo-French role but also plays her part to the T. Rajkummar Rao though in a bit role is spot on. All the other actors who Rani meets on her journey too absolutely flawless.
Music by Amit Trivedi deserves a special mention for composing tracks like London Thumakda, Ranjha and remixing the yesteryear track Hungama Ho Gaya. The music actually plays an important part in the film and refreshingly so, doesn't get used for the sake of it.
To sum it up, Queen is one of the finest films this year that with all its simplicity strikes a chord with the mass. The movie deserves not one but repeated watch.
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