This weekend at the movies: 'Queen'
Indian cinema presents one of the most delightful and upbeat female-centric films of recent times, bearing all the hallmarks of an iconic piece of filmmaking. Reflecting today’s India, sitting between modernism and conservatism, from the perspective of a charismatic female protagonist, Queen releases in cinemas on 7 March 2014, to mark Women’s Day (on 8 March), produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and distributed internationally by B4U.
Directed by maverick filmmaker, Vikas Bahl, whose previous directorial projects include the globally lauded Chillar Party, Queen is a charming, romantic comedy that represents new wave Indian cinema at its best, sure to be unanimously welcomed by contemporary Indian cinema connoisseurs as well as world cinema audiences and critics globally, in the same vein as previous foreign language successes such as Amelie and the 2012 Indian film hit, English Vinglish.
At the helm of Queen and reigning over the screen is the irresistibly loveable Kangana Ranaut, delivering her most formidable role to date and set to rule the hearts of audiences with her essay of a small-town, Indian girl about to embark on a journey of self-awakening and self-discovery that will change her life forever. Joining her onscreen are two of the finest artists among the new generation of Indian film talent – Rajkummar Rao and Lisa Haydon. Queen beautifully conveys a contemporary India caught at the crossroad of modernity and traditionalism, oozing charm and feel-good warmth, perfectly accentuated by a melodious and breezy soundtrack by composer Amit Trivedi.
‘Rani’ (Kangana Ranuat) is a 24-year-old born and brought up in a conservative, Punjabi family residing in Rajouri, New Delhi. Being the only girl in a traditional family unit, she has always been protected to such an extent that even a trip to the grocery store around the corner requires her mother asking her younger brother to accompany her. The typical, ‘Chintu, zaraa Didi ke saath chale jana’ scenario.
Rani’s sheltered life revolves around her Home Science course at college, her collective of female friends and her father’s ‘mithai ki dukaan’ (sweet shop). Like any other girl, she dreams relentlessly of the perfect guy to tie the knot with before embarking on her honeymoon – a life milestone for which she has been saving up since class 9.
When she reaches suitable age, her parents introduce her to ‘Vijay’, the son of their close family friend, and after persistent coaxing and the typical-boy-trying-to-impress-girl routine, Rani begins to fall for Vijay and, in her mind, accepts him as her beau. Engagement follows with the wedding planned for six months later, as Vijay is imminently posted to England as an engineer. So with dreams of her wedding and well-planned honeymoon on the agenda, Rani and her family kickstart the preparations.
As the dates approach, with relatives and functions in flow, Vijay returns for the wedding but calls it off at the 11th hour, citing a mismatch of interests and lifestyle. Rani is unable to come to terms with the jilt. Her entire family tries to console her with the typical reassurances. Then, taking her life and destiny in her own hands, she decides, impromptu, to go for her meticulously pre-planned honeymoon… by herself. A girl who has never been out in Delhi unescorted by her younger brother now leaves for a foreign land to embark on a life journey filled with experience and adventure.
The makers of Queen have released the film’s brand new motion poster showing Kangana Ranaut striking a flawless desi pose as ‘Rani’, with the dhamaakedaar song ‘Hungama Ho Gaya’ being played in the background.
Kangana Ranaut on Queen
People have been praising your performance after watching just the trailer…
I am getting amazing reactions. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has apparently tweeted about the trailer. I also met him at a party recently. Mr. Bachchan, Mr. Aamir Khan and Mr. Salman Khan all told me that they are eagerly waiting to watch the film. What else can one ask for? It’s very important to me because I have felt accepted for the first time. I have never received such support for any of my films before.
Vikas Bahl is known to make exceptional films. How was your experience being directed by him in Queen?
What I love about these contemporary filmmakers is their spontaneity. They allow artists to contribute to the film in many ways. Vikas allowed me to write dialogues for the film, not that I was planning to or worked towards it. It just happened very organically. He liked what I was coming up with and he let me write my own dialogues. At the same time, he understands the needs of an artist. I remember, I was working multiple shifts and was filming for Krrish 3 and Queen simultaneously. One day when I came from the sets of Krrish 3 and Vikas asked what was wrong with me as I wasn't behaving and walking like my character Rani. I can’t just switch on and switch off. It takes me months to get into a character and I can’t just work like a robot. He understood that and respected me as an artist. He didn't shoot with me that day. It’s nice to work with such a director because you then put your all into his film because he respects you.
Could you relate to your character Rani?
I don’t really relate to the character. She has major issues. She believes that by changing herself, she can please people around her. Her goal is to keep everyone happy. She is really naïve. I don’t identify with these traits of her personality. But at the same time, I also come from a middle class background and I understand how and why she feels that way. I have also come from a small city to a big one. But I never had issues like low self-esteem. Everyone has these phases but it’s not something I have experiences throughout my life like Rani has.
How was your experience shooting in places like Amsterdam and Paris?
We frequently shoot abroad but mainly for songs for which we dress up quite a lot. You look like an actress and people come and take pictures with you (laughs). However, for this film I had a very girl-next-door look and honestly, looked very ordinary. People would look at me and wonder why I am so special and why would someone make a movie with me (laughs). That was a bit different. People would ask the crew “Is she the leading actress?” You know, people have this idea of a Bollywood actress wearing a chiffon saree and her hair flying (laughs) but that wasn't the case with me.
How was your experience attending the Burberry show at London Fashion Week recently?
It was really beautiful. London was great as it didn't rain that day. We were expecting it to rain and it didn't. So we were quite lucky with the weather (laughs). It was my first experience at an international fashion week and show. Burberry and I go long back as they have been dressing me for red carpet appearances and events. I was thrilled to see their collection and I loved how they received me. It was just a lovely experience.
Motion Poster: Queen
Vikas Bahl’s Queen amazes Amitabh Bachchan
Vikas Bahl’s Queen has struck all the right chords with the audience, with the activities engaging them and its remarkable trailer, especially. With a few days to go for the release of the film, all the hard work seems to be paying off, with positive word-of-mouth pouring in from all quarters.
The living legend, Amitabh Bachchan, recently had kind words to say about the Kangana Ranaut starrer. At a recent event, when quizzed about his reaction to the film Queen, Mr. Bachchan said that he loved the promo of Queen and that it was amazing. Coming from the stellar actor, who knows good cinema when he sees it, it was surely a compliment for the cast and the makers of the film.
Kangana Ranaut couldn’t wait to be Queen
Kangana Ranaut, who plays the role of ‘Rani’, a simple, shy Rajauri girl in Queen, was very excited about shooting for the second half of the film. When the script was first narrated to Kangana, she loved how the story progressed. However, as the story entered the second half, the excitement was written clearly on her face. Her enthusiasm about shooting for the second phase of Rani’s life was obvious.
Director Vikas Bahl admits, “Kangana’s inputs played a huge role in shaping the character of Rani. Her excitement about shooting for the film, especially the second half, was natural, as she would finally get to transform and sport her infectious smile.”
Actor Kangana Ranaut said, “I could visualize Queen having the best time of her life in the most beautiful places on Earth. I could not wait to get on my single honeymoon.”
Produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and distributed internationally by B4U, Queen releases this weekend on 7 March 2014 — Check out our review of the film right here!
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