Chance are, most of you reading this have already watched this season’s biggest, most talked-about film Queen. Chances are, most have even loved or even loved it. But far greater are the chances of everyone having identified with Vikas Bahl’s protagonist Rani, played ever-so-charmingly by the effervescent (and thus far supremely underrated!) Kangana Ranaut.
Queen is fast becoming a cult classic of sorts. So starved are we for good cinema, that we’ve taken a decently made film and elevated it to auteur standards. Queen is, at the heart of it, a simple, coming-of-age story of a sheltered girl who finds herself dumped at the altar.
Everyone has universally loved this film, and has been able to identify with the trials of heartbreak the character goes through. Also easily identifiable with is her quest to break out, see the world, and find herself in the process. Breaking out of a rigid patriarchal structure, Queen finds herself discovering new facets in her own personality, something that would have been impossible had she been betrothed to the overbearing, chauvinistic and borderline cruel Vijay (played fantastically by Rajkummar Rao).
Queen’s journey is symbolic of the journeys undertaken by women everywhere, post a breakup or at a crossroads in their life. The idea that you are enough for you; and that you don’t always need love in your life or a man to validate your existence, is a dominant theme in the film. Riding a few cliches, Queen discovers her purpose in life, and finds that she is self-sufficient.
Kangana plays the feist middle-class Rajouri girl with aplomb: at first punctuating the scenes with a sense of vulnerability and unsureness, and then with an air of self-confidence and independence. The scenes that stood out, for me particularly, were the ones in which she learns to drive on her own, despite being chided by her egotistical fiance many moons ago. The wonder she exudes on being able to burp freely, a simple pleasure that has been denied to her back home, also added to the richness of the tale. The success of her cooking venture in Amsterdam, coupled with a sense of sensual freedom she gains after her clumsy first kiss, kept the narrative flowing.
How To Be Queen:
Young girls and women everywhere (and men too) could take a leaf or two out of Queen’s books. Sure, one needn’t travel all the way to Europe to gain a sense of independence; start small, we say. Stand up to the conditioned codes of centuries-old patriarchy by doing what you want. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can or can’t do, for instance. Don’t nurse a breakup for months and years- pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Life is too short to wallow and pine for somebody who doesn’t want you in their life. And most important of all- learn to love yourself, for all your little quirks and eccentricities. Life is good!