Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

Please watch the movie – would love to hear why you loved it so much too.

Spoiler alert? The biggest spoiler I think is feminists liking the movie🙂

Can’t quite believe we are seeing Indian movies where women are choosing life and happiness. Queen boldly treads where English Vinglish hesitated, and it is an amazing contrast to DDLJ with it’s glorification of Ek Hindustani ladki ki fragile Izzat.

Couldn’t help compare (and contrast) Rani (Kangana Ranaut) with  Simran (Kajol) in DDLJ. While Simran was hysterical when she thought she had lost ‘ek Hindustani ladki ki izzat‘ – this movie is about Rani learning how biased against her life and happiness is the concept of ek Hindustani ladki ki izzat and everything that it controls – the movie is also about a sanskaari Hindustani ladki recognizing the difference between love and control/abuse.

Also, Queen explains what many Indian women mean when they describe their parents as liberal. Rani’s family was liberal in the sense that they did not put patriarchal values above their love for their child, though they did raise her the way (I suppose) everybody else around them seemed to bring up their daughters. Although her grandmother doesn’t tell her there was more to life than men and marriage, her reactions were not conservative either.

Not too long ago, a story like this could only end with a sympathetic man offering to save the eternally grateful woman by marrying her😦

Although good Indian girls are allowed unconventional choices if they are seen as sort of ruined, [also seen in Shuddh Desi Romance] it’s impossible to miss :

1. Rani says: ‘What happened to me is the same as XYZ 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.’

2. Dawns upon Rani: ‘I obeyed by parents, my teachers, my fiance, his parents… in fact I obeyed everybody I could obey.’

3. When he warns her against Mummyji disapproval, she asks the Mr Shravan Kumar to go tell Mummyji.

No guilt or horror, just the realization that it was okay (or awesome) to have learnt and made some sensible and unconventional choices.

4. Loved the flash backs each time she learns how awesome freedom and self reliance was, like when she dances [Good Indian women don’t dance] and when she drives.

5. Also, loved how, like Highway, this movie too shows that all men are not potential rapists.

6. Was glad that aggression and claims of attempting to protect were not passed off as love.

I agree with freebird,

It feels like our country is actually changing. I wouldn’t have expected a film on this subject to be made from mainstream cinema a few years ago, let alone that it would be handled so well. And the average movie-going audience have loved the film – some indication that our country is finally accepting the idea of true liberation. I loved it from start to finish. I was nervous that the film may show Rani to be apologetic at the end (don’t know if you saw Lajja – where somehow Manisha Koirala ‘forgives’ her husband as an ‘adarsh bharatiya nari’ at the end). Totally loved that Rani is not just unapologetic, she actually never gives any kind of explanation to anyone else (I expected one scene where she ‘convinces’ her parents about the path she chose). You don’t need anyone’s approval for your choices – that’s true ‘liberation’🙂

– freebird

Another video:

Related Posts:

Kangana Ranaut’s interview.

Ek Hindustani ladki ki Izzat.

English Vinglish: When even good Indian women have feelings.

Shuddh Desi Romance : When Getting Married and Staying Married is not an Indian woman’s life purpose.

Eleven reasons why I liked Highway.

Hasee toh Phasee : When a Bollywood hero is an Emotional Dhakkan.

82 thoughts on “Please watch Queen. Feels like our country is finally changing.

  1. Love free bird’s message and I absolutely cannot wait to watch this movie! Everyone seems to have loved this unanimously. Something must be shifting somewhere, at least for a significant minority.🙂

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  2. Loved this movie to bits…And when the end credits rolled no one moved from their seats, there were about 10 couples in the Screen…

    Everyone in the audience did shout out loud at the end, if she goes back to him, this movie is worthless…

    This movie has a lot of moments which help it to pass the Bechdel test easily…..

    Like

    • Yeah I was thinking the director would spoil it all in the end and like, English Vinglish, stop just short of letting her fly away.

      I loved the movie. Very few movie characters touch your soul the way Rani does.
      As a middle-class woman, I could SO identify with her. Her story was my story.

      If there is one overarching message the movie sends, it is this: Don’t settle for a man who doesn’t value you, respect you or acknowledges your right to your dreams.

      A must watch.

      Like

      • One amazing thing about this movie is that we applaud her decision, there is a sense of freeing herself and of joy – it doesn’t feel like a tough or impossible decision to make – it seems like te most sensible, possible, happy thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the preview.
    Will watch after I return to Bangalore.

    My stay here in California is coming to an end.
    I am flying back this Sunday from California after a six month stay.
    Have started to pack already and am busy with good byes to local relatives and friends and last minute shopping.

    It’s heart-wrenching leaving my little grandson behind.
    We’ve been babysitting him for the past six months and had got overly attached to him.
    My son-in-laws parents are coming to take over from us.
    That makes me feel better.

    Somehow feeling a little nervous this time boarding an international flight.
    This Malaysian Airline flight, suddenly vanishing with all on board is so terribly frightening!
    Mercifully, my wife still doesn’t know! I won’t tell her.

    Should be back in Bangalore on Tuesday Mar 18
    Will take some time, getting my BSNL telephone and internet connection restored.
    Am really going to miss the ever-reliable and superfast 24 Mbps internet speed here in California.

    I may not be seen here on this blog for a few days starting this Friday/Saturday when I pack up my laptop till I settle down to my old routine at my home in Bangalore.
    Will catch up later with the postings and comments here.
    Bye to you and all familiar names of readers and followers of this blog.
    Regards
    GV

    Like

    • Have a stress-free trip back home GVji. Don’t worry, the Malaysian Airlines flight was an anomaly. You’ll do just fine. My prayers are with you!🙂

      Like

    • As an extremely (think, psychotically) nervous flyer, I feel for you. Do keep in mind that circumstances like the MA missing flight are very rare and air travel is still the safest way to travel the world!

      Like

    • This is one of the instances where knowledge really is power. I used to be a very nervous flyer too. In 2009 (a few weeks after the AF 447 accident) , I got on a plane after a gap of 5 years. When they closed the doors, I suddenly had difficulty breathing and almost had a panic attack. Statistics didn’t mean a thing. Newton’s Third Law felt flimsy… who the hell was Newton anyway?. After I somehow got through the flight, I started reading up on planes. The below sites were a big help.

      http://www.askthepilot.com/questions-answers/
      http://www.usatoday.com/topic/5E7F3783-3925-4483-B9D0-FED33169D7BE/ask-the-captain/
      http://www.askcaptainlim.com/

      Reading up on these helped me at least superficially understand the different safety features and redundant systems on the plane for almost every foreseeable contingency. Plane travel became more and more tolerable for me. Last year, I actually managed to doze off while the plane was taking off. The point I’m trying to make is that, plane travel is really a lot more safer than what we, in our ignorance, perceive it to be. There will always be unforeseen incidents like MH370. But such catastrophic incidents are becoming increasingly rare year after year. Our anxiety should not prevent us from enjoying an unique experience.

      Have a safe flight!

      Like

    • My mom just left for india last week after a 6 month stay with us in CA, and spending time with our newborn son. So, I totally understand your pov on how attached on gets to grandchildren. My mom is still recovering from separation with her first born grandchild🙂 And pls do not worry much about the flight. You will reach safe and sound🙂 safe travels

      Like

  4. I agree. Completely. I watched the movie on Friday, and it has stayed with me over the weekend and even through a case of the Mondays! Rani is so real, I feel her journey is liberating for me too. Its a wonderful day when Indian men can write, director and produce such stories. There’s hope in this world!

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  5. Really liked the movie. What I really liked about her character was the quiet confidence she had towards the end – no berating anyone, no cruel words, just the supreme confidence that the world was her oyster now. Lovely to see!
    Also, importantly it showed how women are “kept in place” by telling them that it is for their own good, that it is because the husband will take care of her (doesn’t she have faith in him?) that she should not work, or that it will reflect badly on him that she should not dance as she likes, etc….

    Like

    • From NDTV review:
      //But also do spare a thought for Rajkummar Rao, who plays the utterly unlikeable, if not out and out obnoxious, Vijay Dhingra.

      He brings remarkable restraint to bear upon his interpretation of the disgustingly conservative city slicker who cannot see beyond his nose. Rarely has an object of derision stood his ground with as much firm intent as he does.

      Don’t miss Queen for anything. It is a sparkling little gem//

      Like

      • Loved the movie, there were so many great laughs, although the best laugh of the day was when we laughed at a friend who laughed uproariously at Rani’s “non-veg” santa banta joke. She literally fell out of her seat. Like seriously.

        Loved Vijaylakshmi. Roxanne could have been cut from the movie – that bit just felt like filler pulled from some 80s movie. The Amsterdam roomies’ antics could have been toned down. Marcello melted my heart a wee bit – preety man! And we cheered Rani so hard when she gave him a kiss- only for India, you understand.😀

        And yes, Raj kumar Rao was really subtle – this was the first movie I’ve seen of him where he had a major role. He did a great job – my palm was itching to slap his face during most of his scenes. And that climax was so.. liberating. That smile on her face, the way she hugs him and says thank you. Mind = blown.

        Thanks for posting about this movie. I got to make plans before my friends made Friday plans with their respective SOs🙂

        Like

  6. Pingback: “About household financial status… his parents have done all that they can, and now have passed the baton to their three sons.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  7. How was Shudh Desi Romance any good?

    It showed a woman who stole from her father’s account, not just a few thousands but millions, to fund her research project.
    She strikes back again with ulterior motives – to rob his father of the remaining money.
    Her sicko father forgives her after being learning that information saying that it is her money and she was free to steal it.
    Something that is hard to digest.

    Kudos to the women’s empowerment.

    Like

  8. oh, you guys with your reviews, are increasing my expectations on the movie. And the spoilers, please don’t spill out any more details. You could say, why did i read after reading the spoiler alert note at the beginning. But can anyone really resist a good post or a good review? Its so hard. Anyways, i will definitely watch the movie this weekend and then tell you why i liked it.🙂

    Like

  9. Hi IHM,
    I watched it after seeing it reviewed here, also because I am a fan of Kangana Renaut after watching one of her interviews.
    I really liked that Bollywood is taking into change. Hope this is just a beginning.. Wishing for more.
    Loved KR s performance. She seemed to live the character throughout the movie.

    Like

  10. Such an awesome, amazing film! Kangna was brilliant, and Rajkummar was, as always, extremely good, even in his unsympathetic role. Great work by the entire cast!

    Like

  11. Rani is such a relatable middle class character.She has the bits of character I have seen in so many girls ..who let their boyfriends dictate their dress choices,college and city of living. Kangana brought life to this role! Lisa Haydon was awesome too!

    So many indian women end up getting married without ever challenging themselves.It was beautiful to watch Rani discover this for herself. I also loved watching the Parisian bits as coincidentally Paris was the first city I solo travelled to and vacationed on my own.And yes,it was an amazing journey of self discovery too!

    Like

  12. Saw this movie today and absolutely LOVED it. One reason being that I saw shades of myself in her character. Maybe would elaborate when I do the movie review😉

    Like

  13. I enjoyed Queen tremendously because:

    – the parents and dadi of Rani are concerned about her; there is no irrational recrimination flying about how she may be the cause. They don’t mope about how no one will marry her; how they are ruined etc etc. Maybe they thought it; but the fact that it was never verbalized was a good point.
    – the movie talks about prejudice in a gentle way. The prejudice we might feel for a single mother who smokes and sleeps with different partners without a second thought; the prejudice we may have have people of different skin colours. It shows that people can’t be binned into good and bad based on archaic morals. The courage Rani displays in accepting and finally liking such people drives home that acknowledging and setting aside prejudice, might lead to positive and fun experiences.
    – it shows that a single indian woman traveling alone for the first time in a new culture can do alright. Parents endorse this type of traveling too. Yippee.
    – technology allows you to keep in touch with family, where ever. So going away from home doesn’t mean you’ll lose touch. No need to worry mummyji!
    – the sound track was awesome.

    Like

    • completely agree!!!!

      it is a really really special film. the core of the film was queens self discovery but it did that by engaging on so many social issues…there were so many issues/questions that the film raised for me…

      one such was about parenting in our part of the world. her family was very protective and loving which in a way led to her being so naive and living in a bubble, but it was still the same love from which i think she drew her pride and courage.

      is an indulgent childhood/upbringing a blessing??

      Like

  14. First of all, this has become one of my favourite Hindi movies. Simply loved it IHM.😀
    And this film passes the Bechdel test with flying colours..🙂
    Other than the obvious things and other than the things you mentioned, here are some things I loved about the film:🙂
    1. The unapologetic single mom, who was not a quintessential ‘abla nari’, and the fact that she is so comfortable about her sexuality.
    2. The fact that the sex worker ‘Roxette’ was actually seen as human.
    3. The kiss!😀 That moment sort of marks her transformation, as a new her who does not think her life is over because she kissed a ‘paraya mard’ whom she had a crush on. I just loved the playful way she does it and says ‘for India’.. I almost cheered!😀
    4. It demolishes the stereotype of macho men and the fact that men can have irrational fears and be sensitive and have emotional moments too.. The lizard scene, and the scene where Taka cries in the church are simply heartening to see.🙂
    5. The fact that it shows that it is okay for men and women to stay together and it does not have to end up in sex or an attraction of a romantic kind.
    6. The film clearly mocks the tradition of how when a girl is left at the alter ‘her life is over’. The scene where the Punjabi aunty in France choses to give her 11 euros instead of 100 because it’s not a ‘Shaadi ka Shagun’ anymore it is shown in a mocking and satirical way, and instead of feeling sorry for her, we actually give a mental thumbs down to yet another absurd ‘tradition’.
    7. The ending even though beautifully understated, was simply poetic, starting from the point where she pushes off to the Rock show, right till the end where she hands her ring back to her now ‘ex-fiance’.🙂 I cheered again!😀

    Like

  15. I heard in radio tat tis mv doesn’t talk of any female issues it just encourages a girl wud a bad relationship to tak a break n think if she shud really go on with it..
    Y is tis nt considered an important issue lik other serious subjects lik child marriage or marrital rape ??
    I feel tis mv was liked by many as tis is d most important issue wich remains unspoken. . A girl shud b in an idea wer she shud “love” “selflessly” n change according to her future “pati parmeshwar”..
    Tis is the basic root of all abuse tat takes place later wen she tginks her life is all dependant on her husband n if he s a jerk , itd just fate , something tat she shudnt cry about.
    I also love the way tat the mv has touched all” taboos ” in our society.. vijay lakshmi is a really strong character. . Everything frm her wishing to dance, wishing to do something in her life n also “spending night with paraya mard” is all sooo gud.. n love flashbacks too.. my favourite mv !!!

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  16. Saw, Queen yesterday and I am happy to report that we have movies talking about these things – setting different example ! Saw many things – that worth a mention.. I think most have been covered by earlier commentators.. the best part was that when it doesn’t end the usual way, the theatres turns into a big applause !!!.. That is awesome !!.. A lot is changing !! very good !

    You know however, while in cities we may see this world, but back home I see most of the girls (and also boys therefore) tied to the links to their homes- and there everything is still the same crap – and very few are willing to fight that part with their respective parents !..

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  17. Pingback: “My husband says he can’t go against his family. My father says study but not without your FIL’s permission.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  18. Watched this movie earlier this week and loved it so much! My reasons are similar to everyone else’s but I’m listing them anyway🙂
    – The cheerful middle-classness of Rani’s family – this was no sanitized Bolly wedding – the guests and even the bride wore sweaters and shawls and socks as is appropriate for a wedding in winter in Delhi.
    – Rani’s and the Dhingra’s houses – reminded me strongly of my grandparents’ – they lived near Rajouri and I spent every summer vacation there while growing up.
    – Rani’s family – came across as sweet and loving, and I loved that her brother too really looked out for her. The point about no one blaming her is very true – no statements about honor etc.
    – Vijay – the actor did a fine job of playing a chauvinistic jerk! he rang so true to life: The stalkerish courtship, the double standards about women drinking or their behavior in public, who they should be seen with, the narrow interests and parochialism, and finally, his belief that his coming in search of Rani absolved him of his wrong of cancelling the wedding at the last minute. Well done.
    – Rani – I got the impression that Kangana WAS Rani – there was no acting needed. Rani is a quiet, biddable person, who has never taken a stand against anything in her life so far. She even had a “romance” with Vijay – it wasn’t an arranged marriage – he clearly pursued her. Her change was so organic,so well portrayed. Loved that she didn’t change anything too obviously – not her clothes, not her style – but her confidence showed in her walk and demeanor.
    I especially loved the little touches – her carefulness with clothes even when drunk – the sweater she whips around her head, but stuffs into her bag, her manual toothbrush when the boys in Amsterdam all had electric ones, The lizard scene was a scream (pun not intended:)) – though one small niggle – how does a girl from Delhi get spooked by Paris traffic?! Ain’t happening.

    This is the third week the film is running here – in a city in the US where films usually run for no more than 2 weeks and 1 week is the norm. And the theater was full on a weeknight. Everyone cheered when Rani gave Vijay his comeuppance. And stayed through the final credits. So happy to see this movie do so well.

    Oh, and Lisa Haydon is a Goddess.

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  19. I am super late in seeing the movie…But I finally caught up on the movie over the weekend with some of my girlfriends while the husband stayed back to take care of the baby.. and remembered your post, and thought il come and leave my 2 cents here.
    First of, I cannot say enough good things about the movie. I think the best part was that the movie shows her as single at the end, and not in the arms of another so called prince charming. I almost cheered when during the credits, it showed her ex fiancee as “kuttaaaa” and people putting “likes” on that photo. Plus, her transformation is so subtle and gentle and not like..you go out of india and are suddenly transformed. Without a doubt one of my favorite movies so far!
    HOWEVER, I dont think this should be seen as an indicator that Indian society is changing for the better. I am not so sure about this, IHM. Currently I came across the typical indian mommy’s boy kind of person and the fact that he is married to my only sister, makes it so much worse for me to accept that our country is changing. I think the mentality of patriarchy is still very much prevalent, only that it is present as an under current to everything rather than being in-your-face-patriarchy (though that kind also still exists). Im sorry, but I am feeling utterly down today, listening to some of the views of my BIL.

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  26. Ah dangit. I’m late to the party. So much to say about the movie. As someone who has made difficult and unconventional choices in life, I was one of those people who had their fingers crossed towards the end. I did NOT want her to go back and marry that guy. I leapt up with joy when she didn’t.
    What a beautiful moment, that!

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  41. We saw this film and loved it! So different from everything else!
    Although I have to say, from the point of view of a French person, the French lady is quite a caricature🙂
    otherwise, we loved the story, the transformation of Rani, her friendship with guys, her stolen kiss and her new independance.

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