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.
(Follow Shubhra Gupta on Twitter
You can also send your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org )