Skip to main content

'Queen' Of Hearts

I don't generally review movies that I watch regardless of whether I like them or not. For one thing I'm too lazy and reviewing a bad movie seems like such a waste of time. But I've seen some good Hindi movies lately and one in particular got me excited enough to write this post.

I've always wondered why certain films are under-appreciated by Indian audiences. Most of the really good movies I've seen were usually made on a shoestring budget but well made for all that. On the other hand, most big budget films with 'name brand' heroes leave me feeling cold. The story is uninspired and usually misogynistic, ageist, and practically every other kind of -ist there is. The acting itself is usually average or even if it is good, it's fighting a losing battle with the script. Yet for all that, they do well at the box office. *shrugs*

Movies like the recently released Queen are the exact opposite. The script is realistic and original. People don't spontaneously burst into song and dance, neither does a hero swoop in to save the girl from being mugged. The acting is superb, you forget that the person on screen is Kangana Ranaut. She is just Rani Mehra or Queen, a Delhi girl from a conservative family. Every aspect of the film from costumes & makeup to music & cinematography is a treat.

There are so many positives about the film but the storytelling deserves special accolades. I love the fact that the girl jilted at the altar doesn't go running to Europe to 'bring her hero back'. A sheltered existence she might have led until now but that doesn't stop her from stepping out into the world. And on her own terms too. Most other movies would have the girl bump into a handsome Indian somewhere in Paris who'd help her out and with whom she'd inevitably fall in love.

Not our Queen. No, this girl is more real than that. She is determined to do it alone although she does make friends along the way. Real friends, not just 'lover-in-waiting' type guys. From Paris to Amsterdam, we can see how she gains confidence in herself. Again, other movies might have shown the demure Rani changing into a boisterous Vijaylaxmi overnight. But Kangana's Rani doesn't completely alter her personality even though she matures and learns a lot about herself and the world on her solo honeymoon trip.

She doesn't shy away from new experiences either. She shows off her cooking skills in a showdown at the wharf and even kisses a man she has a crush on. And more importantly, she doesn't fall in love with him! The movie isn't about her finding a soul mate but about finding herself. The final scene where she hands her engagement ring back to the ex-fiance is priceless. Generally, the only reason Hindi film heroines can reject a man is because he is evil or because she is actually in love with the real hero. But Rani rejects Vijay Dhingra not because she loves someone else or he is a 'bad guy' but because he is no longer the guy for her.

Just because I don't like the average Bollywood film doesn't mean I only watch so called 'art' movies. I merely dislike the prevalent trend of muscly heroes stalking and bullying mini-skirted heroines into falling for them and all the 101 variations on that theme! I'm not sure that 'Queen' even passes the Bechdel test but it is still a refreshing change of pace. It's a movie with a woman as the leading character but she isn't a victim of anything or anyone. How about that?

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you Shilpa. We need more films like 'Queen', 'Ankhon Dekhi' and 'Lunchbox'. Let's hope that change sweeps our film industry soon.

    Haricharan, www.movieroundup.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. I absolutely loved Udaan & Kahaani too. I feel sad that such movies don't become blockbusters. Instead we get crap like Chennai Express, I guess these are the Bollywood equivalents of superhero movies! No plot or originality but still people will pay to watch them.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters?

This post originally appeard in Women's Web: Why Don’t We Raise Our Sons like We Do Our Daughters?

One of the hot button topics right now in Indian media is the safety of women – or rather how our country doesn't really care about half its population. From rape, sexual assault, harassment (in streets, public transport, nearly every public place) to violence perpetrated on women, Indians are finally getting around to discussing taboo topics.
One refrain that caught my eye throughout these debates – both online and off – is the fact that the reaction of the majority of Indians is the same: girls should stay at home, not go out after dark, dress appropriately and so on if they want to stay safe. No one seems to bat an eyelid when laying down these precautions for women. Except that the reality is women would be far safer if all the men simply DID NOT RAPE or HARASS any person that looks remotely female. No one has to stay at home and become a hermit! That got me thinking further. F…

One Step Up

Diya
Diya forced herself to relax while the attendant spread a mud pack on her face. She’d been nervous all week thinking about today. This was totally unlike the little beauty parlour she went to every month for eyebrow threading and the occasional haircut. No, this was a spa and they didn't just cut hair here. They styled it. And that was only the beginning of all the treatments a woman could get done. Normally she would have been too intimidated to even set foot inside, let alone enquire about the prices which she was sure would be too high for her budget.

But this visit was a gift from her dear mother for her 30th birthday. Luckily for her, the gift card was for a particular package which meant she would not be gaping like a fool at the exorbitant rates. Once again, Diya tried to relax telling herself that these women were being paid by her. She employed them and as much as she was sure they were secretly laughing at her naiveté, Diya wasn’t the one working for a living. But de…

Bus Seats In Exchange For No More Rape? Sign Me Up!

Being a pretty outspoken atheist and feminist, I am frequently engaged by people in debate regarding these topics. Although I am non-confrontational by nature, it annoys me when people use straw man arguments or stereotypes to dismiss the feminist movement. Countless times I have debated with friends on the misogynistic attitudes prevalent in India and perhaps the most frustrating issue I have come across is when men point to small victories and say that there is no need for feminism or gender equality anymore.

I recall an incident when one of my friends tried to argue that dowry is not actually a social evil since it allows women to get a part of their parents' property. Although I exploded internally, I tried to patiently explain to him that a better way to go about it would be to make sure daughters and sons share inheritance equally, instead of pursuing a practice that leads to further discrimination or abuse against women!

The fact that even today countless female babies are ab…