I have always believed Kangana Ranaut is one of the best character actresses among her peers in Bollywood, and Queen yet again demonstrates exactly why.
The Vikas Bahl-directed Queen is a wonderful, light comedy with a powerful social message, just perfect for Women's Day. Sparkling with power packed performances, a thoroughly enjoyable script, and perfect casting, Queen is a delightful mix of English Vinglish and ZNMD. It's a coming of age story, a story of a shy, reserved Indian girl in Paris and Amsterdam, two cities that are the polar opposites of her own Rajouri, as well as a wonderful exposition of how love and friendship transcends borders and nationalities, unifying everyone in one common bond.
Let's start with the story. Kangana plays Rani, a shy, young Punjabi girl whose life and heart is broken a day before her marriage, when her fiance walks out on her. Crestfallen and dejected though she is, she decides enough is enough - and sets off on her Paris honeymoon, alone. A journey that will transform the self-pitying, scared and innocent soul into a modern, confident and proud woman.
Kangana is perfect for the role, her liberal dash of craziness, her subtle sexiness, never really seen, but always lurking around, makes her adorable. A few of her scenes are going to stay with you for a long time - fighting with the street mugger, the amazing drunk scene with Haydon which I rank as one of the best ever drunk scenes with absolutely stunning editing, the scene in which she runs to the rock show - watch her transform from the scared, shy girl to the new Rani who knows exactly what she wants. Watch her for the subtle expressions, the look in her eyes, the dialogues (many of which, by the way, have been penned by her).
The rest of the cast is also spot on. First, the stunning Lisa Haydon as her friend in Paris, who supports and drives her when she needs it most. Lisa is smoking hot, but her relationship with Rani is so beautiful and enviable. Rani's Punjabi family - again, absolutely spot on. Raj Kumar Yadav as her fiance has a small but critical role - his transformation from her suitor, to her fiance to the guy who desperately wants her back in his life is stunning, which isn't surprising as he has always been great at what he does! Rani's friends in Amsterdam, and the Italian cook she falls for - and the way their relationship build up, leaves a very warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart, and you wonder, why can't we all live like this?
While it is light and fun, it is also relentless but subtle in pointing out the gender disparity in India, and will inspire more than a few girls to stand up for themselves - and for the way it achieves this, the movie deserves an ovation. And not once does it turn preachy.
For one of the best movies in it's genre from Hollywood, huge applause from me - don't miss it this weekend!