Queen Bee Kangana had good helper bees


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OMG, did I love this movie!  Queen has supersized Bollywood in regard to good contemporary female roles. We watch  Rani. (Kanagana Ranaut) brilliantly evolving from a place of innocence and learned helplessness vis-a-vis men,  to resilience and newly conquered strengths. Most movies that succeed in doing so don’t dare to combine drama with comedy. Queen does. That’s why you walk out uplifted and hopeful. Which, let’s face it, is the ultimate success formula. The beast (of your fears) is conquered. Off to new lands.

Many Indian movies I have seen, do the opposite. They start out uplifting and then start sagging through the second half, with intro of unforeseen dramatic events. Queen goes the other way. We start emphasizing with sweet and innocent Rani, who gets dumped a day before her wedding.What exactly motivates her to go on her honeymoon by herself, isn’t very clear, or maybe it is that seed of rebellion against becoming a victim and after locking herself in a room reliving her relationship with fiancee Vijay (Rajkummar Rao) in her mind. She remembers all that was good, and it’s breaking our hearts.

When the wedding banner “Rani Weds Vijay” gets thrown into the garbage, unknownst to her, her will to live, despite this obvious downfall, takes the upper hand. She reemerges from her 2 day exile and soon after, with the support of her loving family, she boards the plane to Paris.

Here she gets forced out of her protected childhood shell and has to switch gear to survival mode. This never comes easy. But in this movie it’s plastered with funny episodes. You cheer for Rani, you laugh with Rani and you see the West through her eyes. But contrary to many Indian films that make all Westerners and foreigners look like devils reincarnate, there is only one mean guy who she encounters. And she triumphs. Thank you, Vikas Bahl, for your kind portrayal of all foreigners in this movie. Makes it unique.

The whole cast in this movie is OUTSTANDING!! from mom, dad, grandmother and lil bro to all the people she encounters abroad. A well-chosen cast! Kudos to Parita Mandalia and Atul Mongic, (mentioned as the casting team in the credits). They found the quintessential Indian family in , people I would like to have as my family and everybody should have in their closet.. they are kind and understanding and supportive. Don’t you just love the father, played by Yogendra Tiku, the mom, (Alka Badola Kaushal), the rocking grandma (Tripita Lakhshanpal) and the lovable brother Chintu (Chinmaya Agarwal).

From Wild Wild Paris we follow Rani to Wild Wild Amsterdam, where she courageously dorms with her new pals Taka, Tim and aka Sikander (Jeffrey Ho, Joseph Guitobh, Mish Bogko) and emulates Emraan Hashmi’s lip-to-lip with restaurateur Marcello (Canadea Lopez Marco).

What I love most about her is that she never becomes anybody else. She sticks to her Rani-ness, to her Indian-ness throughout her journey of self-realization. She doesn’t alter her standards. She stays her ground and only becomes stronger. She learns about her fears. She also now opens her mind to seeing the ‘real Vijay’, his narrow-minded self. Rani sheds embellishments, biases, fears and returns to the fuzzy womb of her family invigorated and self-assured. Ready for the challenges of independence and freedom.

Every time I watched the movie, I discovered sth else, little symbolic gestures. Like the light that goes dark momentarily during the wedding dress rehearsal. Just like Rani’s life gets darkened by a cloud that then lifts and gives rise to a beautiful new day.

When best buddy Vijaylakshmi (Lisa Haydon) enters the room and the wind tousles her hair and reaches the impatiently waiting father and son duo, who want to get a glimpse of the beautiful and carefree Vijaylakshmi. So tender.

The cinematography and direction is flawless. Vikas Bahl has made it to the top. Thank you, Vikas, Kangana, everybody.

AND not to forget, letting us indulge in the foodie waves filling the theater with the spices and aromas of India, and glimpses of Her Majesty, Paris, and  Amsterdam in her upper and underworld glory. What a fun ride this was!

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Ranveer Singh: a star on the rise


Since Ranveer Singh‘s  phenomenal surprise hit  Band Baaja Barat, his Bollywood debut last year, where he plays the disarmingly charming Bittoo,
everyone in Bollywood must have had this one thought:  is Ranveer the new Get, the new It, the new young SRK on the block?  Of course, the movie was young and refreshing, the chemistry with Anushka Sharma the driving force.  But Ranveer is somebody this whole industry has been waiting for impatiently. The young, irreverent hero, the heart-breaker.  His energy is infectious. He has the looks. He is a natural in front of the camera. And he has the most important quality of all: Youth. It’s a winning combo, so it doesn’t surprise that everyone now wants a piece of him.
He is presently shooting Lootera, next to Dabangg’s newcomer Sonakshi Sinha, which will be releasing in October 2012. There will be quite a hype around this movie.  Its producer Vikas Bahl has been part of the best films of the last few years:
2011 Thank You (creative producer)
2011 7 Khoon Maaf (creative producer)
2011 No One Killed Jessica (creative producer)
2010 Udaan (associate producer)
2009 ExTerminators (associate producer)
2009 Dev D (associate producer)
2008 Welcome to Sajjanpur (co-producer)
2008 Aamir (co-producer)
Quite impressive as a resume. These are some of my favorite movies! So Ranveer should be in extremely good hands here. Word goes around that Karan Johar expressed interest, too, in working with Ranveer.
Ranveer’s most recent movie , Ladies vs Ricky Bahl was more a vehicle for Anushka Sharma. Even though it couldn’t generate a box office  tsunami, it was still a fun and watchable movie. But I am sure that Bollywood will want to test if he has the same draw as the young Khans once had and offer him interesting roles. How big will he be?  we won’t know for a while.. he is still a wild card in the game, but one with great promise.