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Simran movie review: Kangana Ranaut prevents this Hansal Mehta directorial from becoming a stand-out

Simran movie review: Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut drives from the front seat, keeping her feet firmly on the accelerator, and everyone else in the cast follows.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2017 7:15 am
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Simran movie cast: Kangana Ranaut, Mark Justice, Soham Shah, Hiten Kumar, Esha Tewari Pande, Manu Narayan
Simran movie director: Hansal Mehta
Simran movie rating: 3 stars

First things first. If anyone had any doubt that an Indian leading lady cannot carry a full-fledged film, they can banish that thought at once. In Simran, Kangana Ranaut drives from the front seat, keeping her feet firmly on the accelerator, and everyone else in the cast follows.

While that is an entirely wonderful thing because Ranaut is in top form, it also becomes a failing, and ultimately prevents the film from becoming a stand-out. And that’s because there’s altogether too much of Ranaut without adequate support from the plot, which runs off in all directions in order to keep her in every frame (ironically, the leading lady has a script-and-additional-dialogues credit), and it all becomes too much of a good thing.

The story of an Atlanta-based, divorced-at-30, searching-for- self Praful Patel gives Ranaut enough to do in the first half, and we are fully absorbed. A highly-entertaining what-happens-in-Vegas-doesn’t-quite-stay-in Vegas episode, leads Ms Patel and the film into slushy territory.

The good things first. Patel’s character (based loosely on a real-life person) is crafted with welcome detail. She has a job, a complicated family life, and she has ambitions. For herself. Which makes her a rare creature in mainstream Bollywood where the leading ladies are referenced through their men.

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Refreshingly too, Patel is determinedly blue collar Gujju ben. As a hotel housekeeping employee, she pats down beds, cleans sinks, pushes a vacuum-cleaner, and fends off unwelcome advances from sundry male colleagues. But she’s happy to get it on when she wants to: no shrinking virgins for Ms Ranaut. Clap, clap. Her parents, the crotchety Pappa and loving ma are well drawn too, though the father goes a bit over-the-top sometimes: Praful is no sugar and spice and everything nice, and that extends to the nice young man (Shah, excellent in a role that heroines usually play, of bringing up the rear) who comes to ‘see’ her.

This is really the strength of Simran: Ranaut’s willingness to be not-nice. She’s not going to play nice to get her way. She is downright dislikeable, in fact, and that makes her relatable. It’s also the creation of a character who has an inner secret life which is so much at variance with what Patel is on top. The layers instantly give the film heft.

But the plot gets into a loop, and her slide into another avatar — the gambler and thief– becomes tiresome. The Americans who play the bad guys are caricatures; the cops are buffoons. What begins well, meanders. And it is tonally confused, seguing back and forth between too much seriousness and too much jokeyness.

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But Kangana keeps us watching. With her plain unvarnished face, and mobile features, she comes across as a real, solid, complex woman, someone you can reach out and touch. When she’s on the top of her game, helping us ignore so many of the film’s loopholes, she’s glorious. It’s a pity her own story lets her down.

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  1. B
    BISWAJIT TRIPATHY
    Sep 24, 2017 at 11:22 am
    Simran or Praful Patel is the real narrative of a Punjabi girl from US Sandeep Kaur who robbed several banks of US over a period of two months. She was rechristened as “Bombs Bandit” by FBI. She used to surf videos to find inimitable ways to rob banks. Her modus ope i was very simple. She used to walk in to the bank, pass on a hastily written note that read “TICK TOCK. I HAVE A BOMB.” Currently she is serving her jail terms in the Iron County Jail in Cedar City, Utah while selling the rights of the movie for $50,000. The best thing about Simran is that Kangana is endearing as the lively Praful, has no guilty conscience about drinking and walking down to a man in the bar and starting up picky lines like ‘Are you tired? Because you are running in my mind’ or telling off impending bed partners off with ‘You are a cute guy, but not a decent guy. No protection, no , my friend.’
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    1. B
      BISWAJIT TRIPATHY
      Sep 24, 2017 at 11:18 am
      Simran or Praful Patel is the real narrative of a Punjabi girl from US Sandeep Kaur who robbed several banks of US over a period of two months. She was rechristened as “Bombs Bandit” by FBI. She used to surf videos to find inimitable ways to rob banks. Her modus ope i was very simple. She used to walk in to the bank, pass on a hastily written note that read “TICK TOCK. I HAVE A BOMB.” Currently she is serving her jail terms in the Iron County Jail in Cedar City, Utah while selling the rights of the movie for $50,000. The best thing about Simran is that Kangana is endearing as the lively Praful, has no guilty conscience about drinking and walking down to a man in the bar and starting up picky lines like ‘Are you tired? Because you are running in my mind’ or telling off impending bed partners off with ‘You are a cute guy, but not a decent guy. No protection, no , my friend.’ She lives life in her own terms and rules. biswajittripathy. /2017/09/22/296/
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      1. T
        THE critic
        Sep 19, 2017 at 4:28 am
        Without looking at anything or anyone else, nor at past performance nor awards or flops and judging the movie on its merit alone. I can say without a doubt that it is a mediocre attempt at comedy/drama, like a really bad term paper that includes so much it fails to clarify anything. This movie falls short of all the hype that pre-empted it and if anyone had any doubts about Ms. Ranaut being able to carry the weight of an entire production on her shoulders now everyone should be clear, she CANNOT, she should be grateful the script was mediocre because had it been a master piece her fall from grace would have been thunderous.
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        1. J
          joydeb
          Sep 19, 2017 at 4:00 am
          Its a nice and enjoyable movie to watch. This reviewer got paid or she didn't watch the movie. Stop publishing this kind of fake paid review.
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          1. Dj Shivam Mehta
            Sep 19, 2017 at 1:22 am
            IS YO YO HONEY SINGH COMING WITH HIS NEW SONG ON 28TH SEP????? KNOW WHAT'S THE TRUTH BEHIND IT. bhangrahits /news-and-events/is-honey-singh-coming-with-a-new-track-on-28th-sep-here-is-the-truth/
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