Here it is then: 20 things I learned from or loved about Queen.
1. Delhi is populated with an inestimable variety of Punjabis.
Kakkars (Band Baaja Baarat), Khoslas (Khosla Ka Ghosla), Duggals (Do Dooni Chaar), Aroras (Vicky Donor), Vermas and Chadhas (Monsoon Wedding) and now the cosy Mehras (in Queen), all are Delhi-based Punjabis inhabiting the length and breadth of India’s political capital.
Yet varying degree of temperament, camaraderie and idiosyncrasy sets them apart proving culturally they might seem alike but every family has its own unique ideology. Only filmmakers who recognize this distinction succeed. And Queen with its fine ensemble of sound actors does.
2. Shit happens!
And as revolting the sound of heartbreak is even filth can be food for growth. I like to think of it as the fertilizer syndrome. Like Queen’s Kangna Ranaut shows nobody can put you down against your will.
3. Never let a Schengen visa go to waste.
Because travel unshackles, gratifies. And it doesn’t matter if said to your camera but “we’ll always have Paris” beats “he left me at the altar and I did nothing about it” any day. Bottom-line: pick curiosity over compromise.
4. Clichés can be A-Ok!
Director Vikas Bahl employs the whole alcohol loosens her up gimmick to produce such electric results it makes Kal Ho Naa Ho’s It’s The Time To Disco look like prom dance.
5. Sanjeev Kumar would be proud.
There’s no mention of the late legend in Queen. Except a fabulous use of the delicious Laxmikant-Pyarelal ditty — Maine Hothon Se Lagayi Toh from his 1973 film, Anhonee. Hungamatic stuff, clearly.
What I mean is the sort of courageous approach he had toward acting — wherein he embraced every kind of role irrespective of image, length, and weightage to simply own it in his own inimitable style — is evident in leading man Rajkummar Rao’s selection. He is fearless, limitless. And he is scary good here.
6. Understated detailing
In labouring to make every frame look like stunning three-tier cake — particularly in wedding sequences — filmmakers ignore reality making them look like an affair about and attended by only fit, pretty, young things. But, no, it’s largely bursting with relatives who are elderly, out of shape but infectiously enthusiastic.
Queen is filled with such rich details without pointing them in the face. Like when Kangna is on her way to the airport, her concerned mom constantly reminds her about staying in touch and contacting a distant aunt in phoren country like mothers usually do.
7. Movies touch us. And, sometimes, we can touch them right back.
There’s something so tangible about the way Bobby Singh (the director of photography who tragically passed away after working on most of Queen) shoots the scenes.
I could almost smell the Delhi winter when Kangna, shawl wrapped around, sat down to drink a cup of morning tea or sense lurking danger inside the desolate, de-glam lanes of an otherwise romantic Paris.
8. It’s never too late to come of age.
Like a virgin touched for the very first time, Kangna’s Rani steps out of her sweet Rajouri universe to experience life and people on a large scale. It, so to speak, redefines the rules of “honeymoon” and yet achieves its designed purpose in ways Queen can only imagine.
9. Lajpat Nagar is in Delhi.
Who knew how funny this would sound when said in a sex toys store?
10 You haven’t truly travelled if you haven’t encountered a Japanese tourist.
You haven’t travelled at all if I need to elaborate.
11. Load a translation app on your smartphone.
Never order a dish just because ‘tomato’ is the only word you can read on a French-language menu.
12. Never try robbing a desi
Especially one hailing from Delhi.
13. How to film a soundtrack
Every single one of its eight songs penned by Anvita Dutt to the tune of Amit Trivedi’s throbbing score fills up the backdrop with a state of Kangna’s mind. Khud hi toh hain hum – kinare. Uff.
14. Golgappe always work!
India’s crunchiest, spiciest, slurpiest chaat by any other name is still lip-smacking good and its impact never fails, be it Amritsar or Amsterdam.
15. Beatles were right!
Like Alice’s trip of Wonderland, illustrated on her cute tee, the emotional graph of Kangna’s journey in Paris/Amsterdam changes from shock and awe to acceptance and friendship as she gets by with a little help from her ethnically diverse friends discovering inspiration in the darkest of places.
16. “Heeng ko English mein kya kehte hain?”
Asafoetida. But that’s not the point. This is such a well-written movie and uses mundane gyaan and everyday confusion to conjure delightful wit.
17. What’s hotter than Lisa Haydon? Lisa Haydon speaking French.
18. There’s a little bit of Queen in each and every one of us.
“Yeh mera style nahi hai,” she says making a face at a barely-there outfit. She’s coy yet adventurous. She is gentle but gossips about girls checking out guys in Delhi’s landmark eatery, Wimpys.
19. Best use of Facebook EVER!
The end credits featuring a series of hilarious image captions (Sorry Suri but this one’s even funnier than your Japanese honeymoon with Taaniji) on the popular social networking site are a riot. Haven’t felt this rewarded since one of those Marvel superhero movies.
20. A flawless Kangna Ranaut.
You may not see it, unless you’re a believer, but Kangna as Queen/Rani makes space for her viewer right next to her keenly occupied seat. She holds your hand and together you discover the magic of honeymoon, holiday, healing and hungama.
This review was first published on rediff.com.