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Movie Review: Watching 'Queen' - A Great Mistake

A simple, small town girl on her path to self discovery after her fiancée dumps her. We've heard that story before so what, you may wonder, is different about this movie? I find mistake!

One movie in recent weeks that really has got me excited is Gulab Gang. Not because it stars Madhuri Dixit, but because watching Juhi Chawla as a villain seemed promising from the trailers. I went to Victory Cinema (Pune) which by the way is a very charming heritage building (the balcony seat cost me Rs. 80...seriously)! The opening credits begin with a song showing Kangana Ranaut dancing...okay wow, I thought, Victory shows trailers! But then two minutes in and I realize wait a minute, they are playing Queen the movie! Darn, what a bummer. We put together the pieces of the puzzle and concluded that Gulab Gang was banned from playing and hence Victory decided to screen Queen. With no major star cast and having not read any prior reviews, I decided to give this movie a fair chance.

It did not take time for me to be glued to the story. A make-up-less Rani (Kangana) from the small town of Rajouri is excited about her marriage and nervous about her 'first night'. The innocence of her character is endearing and you instantly take a liking towards her. And when just a day before her wedding, her fiancée tells her he doesn't think they are a match made in heaven, you sympathize with Rani. Her fat little chubby brother's protectiveness and concern for his sister is also adorable. Heart-broken, she returns home and locks herself in her room, but is hopeful of hearing back from her fiancée. But her phone does not ring all night. Distraught but hungry - and here's where humorous interjections lighten up the audience - Rani digs into mithai from the boxes that were meant for the wedding. Her family is worried and tries consoling her; but no one delivers that hopeful a speech as her grandmother - she tells her of a boy she met in the least likeliest of times, in the least likeliest of places - a refugee camp during India's partition. 

Rani finally makes an appearance outside her room and tells her unsuspecting parents that she wants to go for her honeymoon. She had dreamt of travelling to Paris and Amsterdam as a married girl with her husband, but things don't always materialize as planned. So she nonetheless decides to go - alone, obviously. A nervous and tense family drops an equally nervous and tense Rani to the airport. It's a nerve-racking sleepless first ever flight journey for her. And this is where her adventurous trip to self-discovery against the picturesque Paris commences! She quickly befriends a very svelte Vijaylakshmi who works at the hotel Rani is staying in. 

Vijay is a modern, uninhibited and the anti-thesis of Rani. Rani learns to laugh and have a good time when Vijay takes Rani wardrobe shopping, sightseeing and partying. Having mistakenly consumed alcohol, a drunk Rani raises her mehndi stained hands into the air and dances like a free bird, her hair for the first time is let loose! There is another scene where a thug chases after her in a dark Paris alleyway - it's got the makings of a scary scene - but when he tries to grab her bag, Rani relentlessly holds onto it, crawling on the ground like a baby screaming 'Mummy, mummy, mera bag, mera bag!' - this is where the scene turns funny and the theatre erupts with laughter! Through daily Skype coversations with Rani, her father and chubby brother get introduced to the hottie Vijay and are so taken by her, they are left ogling! Many such light hearted but realistic scenes make her journey in Paris very entertaining.  

After a heart-warming goodbye to Vijay, we notice a more confident Rani continuing her honeymoon in Amsterdam. Unknown to Rani, Vijay has arranged for her to stay in a shared hostel. She is made to share one tiny room with 3 boys - a Japanese, a Russian and a French guy. A revolting thought but one she gets accustomed to as she befriends the boys. Together they roam the streets of Amsterdam, dine together, care for each other and also earn some money when they set up a pani puri cart! The puris by the way sell like hot cakes and are a testament to Rani's cooking skills, and the stint was a big confidence booster for her. 

But all of a sudden, Rani is confronted by a de-shelved looking ex-fiancée who took the first flight from Rajouri after seeing a picture of her dressed in a spaghetti top! He pledges his love for her and pleads desperately for her to get back with him. She, least deterred tells him to meet her the next day, for which she cancels on going to a rock concert with her three friends. As promised, Rani shows up to a very optimistic fiancée who continues professing his love for her. But right in that instant, she questions herself as to why she's wasting her time listening to him when she should in fact be spending time with her friends at the rock concert! She once again assures him she will meet him back in Rajouri. And just like that, she runs to the slow motion and music in the background of course! 

On her return back to Rajouri, her parents meet a never-seen-before confident smart Rani sporting a backpack running into their arms. She makes her first pit stop to her fiancée's house who of course, is thrilled to see her. She hugs him - at which point we begin to wonder why - but then we start to understand when she hands him back the engagement ring and says a big thank you to him! Out walks a brimming and bright Rani and up rolls the end credits. 

The movie is perfectly crafted - the story is well-treated, the script is tight, the fresh dialogues have humour infused in them and you can't but applaud the flawless acting by the entire cast. Also, you'll feel like backpacking Europe by the end of the movie. 


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