Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Saturday, 26 April 2014


She won every heart, bang bang

She was the lovable Rani,bang bang

She was the indisputable queen, bang bang

She came back as bandit queen, bang bang

She fired every damn gun, bang bang

She danced in metallic bras, bang bang

She bit off her lover’s lip, bang bang

Kangana's own superhit Queen shot her down.


And it's certainly not the rocking actor's fault.There are big gun ambitions at play here.

Quentin Tarantino has always been a huge influence amongst first time filmmakers. The writer and director, Sai Kabir, who started his career with Kundan Shah and has written the screenplay of Kismet Konnection; is no different. It is clear he is out to make his own Desi B grade Western. The question is, can he bite the bullet?

The backdrop is goondaraj that is part Chambal, part Gwalior. Reminiscent of ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’, the township only talks with guns and bullets. The recently defeated political leader, Alka Singh (Kangana Ranaut), is the undisputed boss. She has 24 murders under her bandit belt…rather… her metallic undergarments. In her own words, “hum hatyaare hain, karoop hain, baanjh hain.”
Naturally, the crazy,trigger happy woman has many enemies. Her political opponent is the deadly one. His team wants to take revenge on Alka Singh for having killed a kin. In a slow and badly performed beginning, we see them plotting against her. "….tote ki gardan marod do, chudail khud ba khud dum tod degi..” 
The story drops right there until the bandit queen herself makes her appearance to save her kidnapped lover. Guns blazing, she stands atop a red station wagon, her eyes fiery with wild rage, and her long curls like a forest on fire.

A charming and entertaining interlude follows. Alka Singh, now ‘Coco’ wastes no time with her Chumchum, takes off her kurta, shows off her made in Venice shining metallic bras and leaps straight at lover boy, like a hungry tigress. That’s a scary deal for this tattooed toy who wants to be a film star and has more than a roving eye and a cheating heart. It’s worse for Alka’s uncle,  mamaji(Piyush Mishra) who has raised her after her mother was brutally killed when she was a child. He has dreams of getting her back in power. Unfortunately, Alka’s blind and passionate love is a big deterrent. Only to get worse with a good plot point twist at interval, dramatically shown with the two shocked men standing behind Alka as she expresses her own daze the best way she can.Simply by firing two bullets in the air.

The badland humour and the characterization along with a particular news anchor’s lines performances keep one entertained in the first half. We see a hero never seen before. A wild and ruthless young woman who loves throwing words in English like ‘mom’ when describing her half ghungat covered mother and orders clothes from Venice because she is fond of fashion as much as her guns. But then, one needs more than the central protagonist, however enthralling she may be, to drive the plot.

The screenplay gets predictable in the second half despite some tense moments. The political backdrop is neither convincing nor engaging and does not add to the plot at all, leaving it entirely on Kangana’s delicate shoulders to carry the film through. No wonder then the parts in which she is missing, does little for the film. Thankfully, the ending makes up for it, leaving behind a perfect opening for a sequel.

The music by Sanjeev Srivastava is another letdown. One misses the upbeat and catchy tunes of Gangs of Wasseypur. Some bad cuts and average production design take away some of the viewer’s involvement.Overall, the film is very much in keeping with the themes of betrayal and politics seen in the producer,Tigmanshu Dhulia’s earlier films, especially Bullet Raja.

Predictably, it is Kangana’s show all the way, aided largely by great costumes by Gaviin. Her wild, manic portrayal shows she is all out to have a blast.                  .
Vir Das, to his credit, does steal the show time and again, playing his grey shades as colorfully as he had in Delhi Belly.   
Piyush Mishra is authentic as always in his small town menace and shudh Hindi dialect.

 Despite Kangana's brave and thoroughly commendable performance, it is her own popular persona in Queen, which may come in the way of her new killer avatar. She could have been our very own Uma Thurman, had Revolver Rani released before Queen.

And that’s the tragedy of her being the most adorable Rani in Queen. Her own believable image shot her down. Bang Bang!


Sunday, 20 April 2014


“We are ‘cultured’, ’educated’ people.”

When a stern looking Tamilian says that, how can you not even feel like a struggling fly in her perfectly spicy sambhar? Especially if you are a loudmouthed Punjabi whose idea of culture is defined by chicken legs, beer and fancy gifts. Worse, how can you even hope to have the Utopian ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun’ wedding where families will smile forever and ever or till their teeth fall off?

 If you have had the misfortune of falling in love with such an unsuitable boy or girl, you can either die the ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’ glorified death or do what the protagonists of 2 States do: take on the challenge of making the enemies fall in love with you.

But that’s not what really sets this otherwise regular Indian love story apart. The very concept of ‘love marriage’ as opposed to ‘arranged marriage’ between a girl and a boy belonging to a different religion or a community or caste; is a widely acknowledged Indian cliché.

A typical first conversation consists of boasting of our sinfulIy fat laden food or our ‘convent’ educated, phoren returned relative (somehow there is always one such family hero) or how pure, pious and classical sangeet lovers our families are.

There are labels and there are labels. Each one better and bigger. So big that they are carefully wrapped around the hidden ugly truths that exist in every cobweb corner of the Indian household.

Like that grandmother who never allowed a woman into the kitchen during her periods. Tradition is culture, you see.

Like that father who constantly goes to the Ganges to wash his sins. Has anyone asked him about the sins? Holy cow, how can you belittle his faith in a river??

Like that mother who aborted every girl child but kept getting pregnant in the hope of having a son. Because sons carry the family name forward. After all, that is the traditional flag. To be held high in the name of the Singhs, the Iyers, the Shahs, the Roys, the Raos…the list is endless.

Like the parents who hate each other but will stay married for the sake of the marriage status thrust on them by society. Because divorce is a part of western culture. How can Indians even think of it??

Like that father who is an alcoholic and a wife beater who controls the television remote at home. How do you hide this insignificant part of your life? You simply turn a blind eye like the mother does. For the sake of her children. Because that’s what traditional Indian wives and mothers do. It is called ‘khandaani’ virtue.

Exactly like the boy’s parents live in Chetan Bhagat’s ‘2 states’.

In Chetan Bhagat’s world, Indian families can be dysfunctional too. Unlike the carefully constructed Eutopia that exists in long wedding videos of Sooraj Barjatiya’s ‘Hum Aapke Hai Kaun’.

It is a widely accepted and strangely ignored fact that most families have only absentee fathers. Either the father is posted in some place other than the hometown. Or the father is constantly travelling on work. Or he is a highly successful man with no time for his children. Or he is simply emotionally challenged.Or he is alcoholic and abusive like Ronit Roy’s character in 2 States.

That is what a real Indian family looks like. That’s the challenge that every great Indian wedding overcomes, not just that of inter caste marriage but that of accepting one’s own long, buried skeleton.

The reason why 2 States deserves to be read and seen, despite the clichés.

So that we admit, the dysfunctional is the great Indian family secret, which can only be hidden under one label. Culture.