My Rating: 10/10
Written by – Vikas Bahl (story & screenplay), Chaitally Parmar (story & screenplay), Parveez Shaikh (story & screenplay), Anvita Dutt (dialogue), Kangana Ranaut (dialogue)
Directed by – Vikas Bahl
Starring – Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao, Lisa Haydon, Mish Boyko, Jeffrey Chee Eng Ho, Guithob Joseph, Marco Canadea
A standing ovation! I’m glad that there are still some people in India making films that make sense. This movie deserves as much recognition as is possible.
Unlike most other movies (where actresses spend almost all of their time performing item dances, or fighting with other women over a man, or singing and dancing with their lover), this movie is a story with character. And it passes The Bechdel test for women in movies.
I’m so glad it does. 🙂
Rani, a Delhi girl, and daughter of a halwai, has been brought up in a similar manner to most girls in India.
She has a over-protective family, with her younger brother always accompanying her where she goes. She is the “aagyakaari and sanskaari ladki” (in bold double-quotes), always putting others happiness above hers. In the process, she becomes too dependent on others for living her life, with low self-confidence, and is always asking others to tell her what her next step should be.
Then, one fine day, she meets Vijay, the son of their family friends. Vijay is attracted to her, and then proceeds to try and woo her in a perfect stalker-ish way, even calling her “mere dil ki ‘Queen'” on their 2nd or 3rd meeting. I found it pretty creepy, and she did too initially (it seemed). But, then egged on by her friends, and family (most probably), she agrees to have ‘soup’ with Vijay. They continue dating, while Vijay leaves for London after college.
The movie starts at the moment wedding celebrations are going on for Rani and Vijay. Rani is happy, and eagerly anticipating her honeymoon in Paris (her most “favourite” place in the world). But, destiny has another plan for Rani. 2 days before their wedding, Vijay meets Rani to tell her that he cannot go through with the marriage. Rani is shattered.
After long hours of despair and tears, she decides to go on “her honeymoon” alone. Her parents are surprised, but surprisingly supportive. I have always read about how solo backpacking tours in a foreign land are so personally fulfilling, and full of learning. It wouldn’t be surprising then, would it, that our Rani also learnt something about life, and about herself, from this trip. With a variety of pleasant, and unpleasant experiences, and some newly-made friends, the experience is bound to be unforgettable.
The biggest moment of realisation comes to her when she mulls over the fact that she spent all her life till now obeying everyone she could, and yet it didn’t make her happy. She says to her newly-made friend Vijaylakshmi (a hotel staffer and single mom), “What happened to me is the same as what happened to Gupta uncle. He did not drink, he did not smoke, but still he got cancer. It would have been better for him if he smoked and drank.”
Other moments of realisations come when she looks back, and understands how controlling her fiancé had been about her life.
Kangana plays all of Rani’s emotions so well that at times we don’t even need her words to know how she feels. She’s proved her acting prowess undeniably in this one. Rajkummar also plays the controlling (and subtly emotionally abusive) fiancé in a very convincing manner.
But, I think the best part about the movie was that it the didn’t end up with her going back to her fiancé, or with her getting romantically involved with any other man. Because, there is more to life than men and marriage, and the only one controlling your life should be you. We can sense that she also learnt this valuable lesson, in the way Rani carries herself towards the end, with an air of confidence, and in the fact that she turns down the now repentant, yet still controlling, Vijay.