Director Vikas Bahl, who is reveling under critical acclaim of Queen, says that the film has benefited from positive word-of-mouth.
The reviews of the film have been really overwhelming, and frankly I am not counting the monies. But it is doing well as the word-of-mouth is really good. Queen is not a niche film, and is doing equally well in single screens. It’s funny, relatable and has reached out to a wide audience.
Kangna Ranaut’s character, Rani, is quite delightful, perfectly capturing the nuances of a Delhi girl. How did you get that right?
I am from Delhi. Having observed my sisters and friends, I know life for girls is planned out for them by their families. They lose their own perspective on life and they are okay with that. They are happy to be told what to do. And where Kangna was concerned, she was not doing anything funny. As a writer, I had to step back and think how a girl, whose world has come to an end, would react and behave in a situation like that. There were a lot of inputs from Kangana too. In the scene with the Italian chef, it was she who suggested about the lip-to-lip kiss. Likewise, the scene where she tells a stranger to click her picture in Amsterdam was suggested by her. In fact, I gave her full freedom. She knew how to maintain the fine line of her character, which otherwise would have become a caricature. The film could not not have been made in 45 days without her involvement.
The detailing was also perfect — right from Kangna’s mehndi fading gradually, to the way she saves her bag from the robber.
Getting the mehndi colour right was a real monkey business, because the film was not shot in a linear fashion. We first shot in Paris and then Amsterdam, then Delhi and with some interior shots in between. I was particular about the detailing of the colour not going wrong. I remember a part of it becoming dark in Paris. There’s a saying that if the mehndi turns dark, the bride will be doted upon by the mother-in-law. But Rani didn’t have a mother-in-law in the picture, so I had to make sure the shade was light. The bag snatching scene was also very genuine. I told the junior actor that he had to snatch the bag from her with all his might, and instructed Kangna that she had to hold on to it with all her might like she would in real life. They got it right even though he had
to drag her on the road.
Lisa Haydon was quite impressive and spontaneous in her role of the free-spirited French-Indian woman, Vijaylaksmi. So were the non-Indian actors. The film seems to get the casting right.
When I met Lisa and auditioned her, I found her to be just like the free-spirited Vijay. I wanted her to retain her natural charm and vivaciousness. She worked really hard, rehearsing her French every day for an entire month. The casting of Boyko Mish (Olik) and Jeffery Ho (Taka) was also interesting. We went to London for the auditions, where I met them for a day. After that I saw the actors on the day of the shoot. Between that
time I would Skype and brief them on their parts.
In fact, I spotted Joseph Guitobh (Tim) singing on the street and asked him if he would like to be a part of a Bollywood film. Joseph didn’t know a word of English, and I showed it in the scene where he shows his gang the four rock show tickets, saying one-one-one-one, instead of one-two-three-four.
Do you think that the climax could have shown Rani coming into her own by showing her to be more ‘evolved’?
I wouldn’t have liked to change the climax. She doesn’t make any statement or talk about her future plans.