Last weekend I finally got to see the " Queen". By Queen, i mean, the popular, much touted recent Bollywood movie by Kangna Ranaut. And why so late, one may ask? Well, it so happened that i was almost visiting the Queen***(her Kingdom in fact) when the Queen was released across movie theatres in India, to packed audiences. And having missed it then, i was craving to see it, having heard so much by way of rave reviews.
And what a delight! The movie does live upto its name and reputation. A different kind of a "Queen " this time, on the screens. A young girl, a queen of her home, a to- be queen in her "sasural"( husband's home), badly jilted by her fiance at the last minute. And a transformation, rightly so, thanks to her getting to travel around the world all alone, sans the sour- faced husband to be.
The scenes and the story were really to be revelled in. But amazingly, it brought to light a new truth that is emerging in the India of today. As she waits, on the cusp of tradition and modernity, struggling to find her place, she also realises that not all old is good and not all new is bad. The notion, well preserved and pompously proclaimed by many a wisemen, and older generations for centuries; " Old is gold", " traditions are best", " modernity is the bane of society", " westernisation is the downfall of indian society", all quickly turned to hogwash by a rather clever, but realistic story. The protagonist, Rani* , the " queen" asks her brazen Parisian friend, "What did i do wrong? I listened to everyone, my parents, my teachers, my fiance, but see where it landed me. I was jilted by my fiance at the last minute, just before my wedding day, and charred by the experience" Maybe , o' queen, all you did wrong was assume they all were right. And maybe as a society, it is time to accept that " all is not right" , right here, in Indian society.
Sad to say, my friend Hyma and I, both modern, liberated women with management degrees to boot, lamely acknowledged that the character in the movie, the simple, sweet, naive and charming Rani wasn't just a figment of imagination on the screen. But that there are a lot of Ranees in real life, even today.Perhaps perpetuated by the fact that even their own parents and own people want them to be this way. Simple, sweet, soft- spoken, waiting and biding the time until marriage, so they can stop listening to their parents then and have to listen to their in- laws instead. But listen they must. And have no life for themselves. Be shy, naive, untainted, as that is virtue. Not have a good time ever...
But it is the movie that proved them all wrong. That it is right to just have a great time, be yourself, be bold, brazen, whatever. live as you like, never mind the invisible norms and traditional shackles around. Readers, do watch the movie if you can**. Great going Rani and all the others out there .. Be a Rani- be a queen on your own terms, live life " Queensize"!
Aina Rao ,
Rani is an Indian name, meaning a Queen.
**Queen- Bollywood movie featuring Kangna Ranaut as the simpleton, and Lisa Haydon as the smart, sophisticated new- age woman. The amblingindian has no association with the makers,actors, or anyone else involved in the movie.
*** HRH the Queen .