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Revolver Rani review: This is not Kangana Ranaut’s territory

Movie review Revolver Rani: This Rani, who hefts revolvers and shoots to kill, is neither wholly a cartoon figure, nor completely credible.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: April 26, 2014 9:29 am
Revolver Rani movie review: This Rani, who hefts revolvers and shoots to kill, is neither wholly a cartoon figure, nor completely credible. Revolver Rani movie review: This Rani, who hefts revolvers and shoots to kill, is neither wholly a cartoon figure, nor completely credible.

Movie review Revolver Rani: This Rani, who hefts revolvers and shoots to kill, is neither wholly a cartoon figure, nor completely credible.

Star Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Vir Das, Piyush Mishra, Zakir Hussain, Zeeshan Qadri, Kumud Mishra, Pankaj Saraswat

Director: Sai Kabir

In the life of a Bollywood leading lady, a month can be a long time. In ‘Queen’, Kangana Ranaut’s Rani was a West Delhi ingénue plunged into a quest to find herself. In ‘Revolver Rani’, Kangana Ranaut does a 360 degree in terms of look: she is a rebel, wearing outlandish Turkish pants and jackets and dark glasses and a dark tan. She is also a woman, and she is also, in her own twisted way, in search of herself.

But the difference between the two films is crucial: the Rani in ‘Queen’ won our hearts because she was believable every inch of the way. This Rani, who hefts revolvers and shoots to kill, is neither wholly a cartoon figure, nor completely credible. This confusion makes us stop suspending disbelief, and ‘Revolver Rani’ becomes a tiresome Bollywoodesque trudge through the Chambal, and its men and one woman posturing with guns, and the standard corrupt ‘netas’ and complicit cops.

Alka Singh (Kangana Ranaut) is a hard-headed, flint-eyed woman with a dark past. With the help of her beloved ‘mama’ Balli (Piyush Mishra), she is being positioned to become the leader of the Bhind-Morena-Gwalior area in Madhya Pradesh. Her rival Udaybhan Tomar (Zakir Hussain) has only one aim: to find a weak spot in her arsenal, which appears in the shape of her toyboy (Vir Das), whose only desire is to make it big in Bollywood.

There are a few parts of the film that come together, where you can see the dark satirical edges, and what the debutant director (who has worked with Tigmanshu Dhulia, who, in turn, has produced the film) was aiming for in sending up stereotypes. Especially in the way a newsreader acts as a ‘sutradhar’, her comments becoming increasingly frenzied. That’s nicely done. Some of the shoot-outs are also a hoot, particularly when you really can’t make out the difference between the lawmakers and the lawbreakers.

But the high farcical tone that this film should have been made in keeps dipping. And that’s because the heroine who is meant to be the hero ( nice subversive trick, pity it doesn’t work) keeps wanting to become earnest. It is clear that Kangana Ranaut is trying hard for the ‘sur’, but this is not her territory: she gets to that well-judged manic edge only a couple of times, and then slides back. Her hold on the character is slippery, as is her accent, and the shade of her tan.

There’s also something dislikeable about the way the word ‘baanjh’ is used in the film, and how the connection between being a complete woman and being able to carry a baby in the womb is made. The prospect of motherhood changing a woman has some credence, but it needs to be done minus crudity. Ultimately, Kangana Ranaut flinging herself over a jeep, grimacing and firing up a storm becomes as much of a stretch as the one who switches to clutching a soft furry toy, and becoming starry-eyed about marriage and baby.

This Chambal ki Rani is not for Kangana Ranaut. Rajouri wins hands down.
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  1. Mohammad Ali
    Jun 7, 2015 at 10:29 pm
    My thoughts on Revolver Rani… Revolver Rani is essentially a satire on the power hungry politicians, treading through the dark alleys of power in the Chambal Valley, who have little regard for anything save their own ambitions. Revolver Rani comes across as an experimental film and as with all experiments the probability of failure is much higher than the probability of success. Not everyone has the appee for nonsensical, over-the-top violence which Revolver Rani offers in abundance. A rather overt swashbuckling style of cinema a la Sergio Leone is something the Hindi film audiences are usually not very comfortable with. And that’s precisely where Revolver Rani suffers. Hindi cinema is still in the need of its very own Quentin Tarantino who can help the audiences expand their cinematic horizons. But, until the audiences grow more receptive, films like Revolver Rani would continue to be treated as mere exercises in style. The best way to approach Revolver Rani is an indigenous tongue-in-cheek Western featuring a rugged cowgirl as oppose to a cowboy. Yes, Alka Singh can best be described as the female equivalent of a desi cowboy straight out of some Western pulp novel. The movie’s graphic novel feel only accentuates it further. Besides, the film is rife with symbolism and allegories. The thinking viewer will certainly be able to savor what’s at his/her disposal. The director Sai Kabir, a self-confessed fan of Johnnie To and Robert Rodriguez, paints a lurid canv, oozing with an abundance of grotesqueries, adorned by shifty, larger-than-life characters caught in existential traps—all this facilitates the orchestration of rather palatable mise-en-scene. Revolver Rani presents experimental filmmaking at its very best but typically with little commercial relevance, especially in the context of the Indian market. Kangana Ranaut shines in her portrayal of a politically powerful female goon. There’s no denying that Kangana Ranaut performs Alka Singh to a tee. Barring a few anachronisms, everything right from her non-glamorous look to her native accent to her aggression in bed makes Kangana look convincing as Alka Singh—a caricature that strongly harks back to Uma Thurman’s character “The Bride” in Kill Bill movies. Kangana’s tour de force performance is well complimented by the rest of the cast. And the unconventional music adds to the overall mood of the film. There is certainly more to the film than meets the eye. As a socio-political satire, its relevance cannot be overlooked. The undercurrent of dark humour only adds to movie’s overall appeal. My full review can be read here:
    1. N
      Mar 1, 2015 at 5:05 am
      This was an amazing movie. I think Kangana Ranaut is brilliant! Honestly, I only searched for reviews because I was looking to see how it was received, but this this review is completely unnecessary, especially when you said, "nice subversive trick, pity it doesn’t work". I just wish we could be more appreciative of movies like this
      1. P
        May 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm
        yes - I believe Revolver Rani is married to Gopi Anand!
        1. J
          Apr 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm
          Now I know why film makers hate film critics like you...The best thing about this film is Kangana's acting...Shubra ji
          1. prateek bahl
            Sep 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm
            i watched hardly half the movie and i can say it was the worst movie i saw couldnt tolerate any seen in the movie...couldnt even decide if its a serious movie, comedy movie, or a satire. those praising it really dont know what a movie means.
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