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Friday, April 25, 2014

Rani, Rani, Revolver Rani...

Picture courtesy: Wikipedia
*** Contains some spoilers ***

Any movie that goes by the name Revolver Rani has to be worth a watch. I was completely clueless about the director Sai Kabir (who has directed a solitary movie last year with a rather interesting name: Chemistry).

Anyway, this is not about Chemistry. This is about Revolver Rani, which stars Kangna Ranaut, and boasts of the tagline "ab mard ko dard hoga".

All that made Revolver Rani an unusually tempting package. I had to watch the movie.

So off I went and purchased a solitary ticket from the counter; there was still some time, so I had a small detour of Big Bazaar; then I entered the theatre; and was blown away.

Since I have not seen Chemistry I may not be the authority on this, but seldom has a person since Anurag Kashyap impressed me as much with his script. Not only were the lines (one-liners included) brilliant, but they were also perfectly timed. Just as in Gulaal and Gangs of Wasseypur, humour and violence went hand-in-hand, inseparable from each other in a fashion that can even pass as Tarantinoesque.

Only that it was not Tarantino, but you can think of a young, inexperienced Tarantino working in Chambal with Kangana Ranaut. The very thought is surreal and bizarre, but that's the kind of movie Revolver Rani is.

The title suggests it's pulp; well, maybe, since it has been ages since I have heard hoots and wolf-whistles inside a multiplex; people laughed, screamed, applauded, went berserk at the antics, the lines, and the excellent comic timing.

But Revolver Rani is not a comedy at heart.

There are moments where the movie slaps you real hard; it moves seamlessly between the ridiculous and the gruesome, between fem-dom and fear, between vintage pulp and Titanic, between revolvers and Michael Jackson, between sting operations and outrageous Turkish costumes, between milk-baths and bulletproof brassieres, between circumcision and Taj Mahal.

Piyush Mishra and Zakir Hussain, both in their comfort zones, have impressed, and Vir Das has probably outdone his substandard acting self.

Yes, it's incredible. At the same time, it strikes a cord somewhere as well. And Shaheen Iqbal and Puneet Sharma's lyrics are outstanding — once again reminiscent of Gulaal — as is the absorbing background score. For me, Revolver Rani is the finest Bollywood mainstream movie of the year till date.

A few cons

Ranaut, to her credit, puts in a career-best performance, which, sadly, is far from what a movie and a script of this quality demanded. Despite the success of Queen, she remains a below-par actress, and has failed to carry the movie on her shoulders as well. Revolver Rani does not work because of Ranaut: it works despite her.

It was not that she had not tried her level-best; it was just that she was not good enough.

The role should have perhaps gone to Parineeti Chopra (no, not even Huma Qureshi), the finest mainstream Bollywood actress since Vidya Balan: of the current crop, she is probably the only one who could have done justice to the script, given that Balan (who was probably born at 35) would have been too old for the role.

They could have cut down on the romantic scenes between Alka (Ranaut) and Rohan (Vir Das); the songs could easily have been picturised better (the way they had done in Gulaal); and Aarti Bajaj's editing could have been tighter.


Do watch Revolver Rani; watch it to see how stereotypes can be broken; watch it to see how an utterly predictable plot-line can be carried out to perfection thanks to a brilliantly executed climax; watch it for Alka's costumes; watch it for that coital session that shows the bullet-marks on Alka's bare back; watch it for Zakir Hussain telling Piyush Mishra "aap to Bollywood mein writer banoge" (or something on those lines); watch it for some of the most outrageous moments in the history of the industry.

Geeta Rao had evoked desire; Bidya Bagchi, awe; but Revolver Rani is someone you fall in love with. Watch the movie to fall in love with the character.

Do watch it for the sheer joy of watching an excellent movie. Do watch it for Rani, if not for anything else. It's a woman's movie every man will fall in love with.


Where do I get a copy of Chemistry?


  1. I have in the past fallen for the two characters you list above, as badly as possible given orientation constraints. So yes, I think I would.

    Don't underestimate Ranaut. Her looks come in the way of versatility, but something tells me her spirit or zeal will overcome that, and she also will be a name named decades later. I personally felt glad that the movie went well, so realise, i have somewhere started wishing her well at an individual level.

    1. You will fall in love with Alka as well. And I do not underestimate Ranaut: she has tried her heart out, but has fallen short of the desired level.

      Of course, let her have success at individual level. It will never happen as an actor, though.

    2. Watched it. Did not fall in love with her. I connected with her. Not throughout, but towards the end when she deals with the rest of the world herself, and then picks him up from behind the bush. As a whole, Queen moved me a lot more, watching this one never had my heart overtake my logic, but indeed, a very good film!

    3. To each his own, I guess. But since we're discussing quality movies, let us not bring Queen into it.

  2. So are you telling me this is another female-centric/female-powered movie made for the male audience?

    1. No, I am telling you that this is a movie that, in all likelihood, will blow you away.

  3. Sounds intriguing! I will try and see.

    Of course, the words "Rani, Rani" are forever etched in my mind because of the Treasure Hunt in 1999 - which we lost and which, by all rights, we should have won because we asked the clue-setters about "Rani, Rani" something like halfway through the hunt and they categorically denied it was the right answer :(.

    1. Thank you. Do watch it.

      And yes, I have heard about that bit. :)

  4. My favourite part of the review - the film does not work because of her, it works despite her. The best review I have read of the movie so far. I was wary of the post Queen, Ranaut hype but you have put it beautifully in perspective.

    And now, I will watch the movie exactly for the reasons you mentioned - the breaking of stereotypes, the absorbing music and a character that one can root for.

    1. Thank you, thank you. But do watch it before it is taken off. I dread that it will not run beyond a week.

  5. in fact i was planning to see the movie. the name is lucrative. but meantime you may see 2 States. not bad

    1. I know 2 States is terrible. I would not have watched it anyway.

  6. Haven't watched it yet. Perhaps, tonight.

    I disagree with the 'despite Kangana' part. The movie, in your own words, is "surreal and bizarre". And those are precisely the adjectives for Kangna from the day she stepped into Bollywood. In the current crop of actresses, I cannot think of one (except maybe Priyanka Chopra, most certainly NOT, Parineeti!) who has that edgy, twisted, raw and yet vulnerable look. That it is her 'look', and therefore not an achievement or accomplishment, is another perspective. But really, I cannot imagine anyone else essaying a role like this.

    Anyways, I will have more to say, after I have actually watched the entire movie.

    1. Hmph. We have to finish in a disagreement, then. Watch out for Parineeti, though. We will have this discussion five years from now.

  7. Nice review. Will surely watch.

    Do I see a shadow of GreatBong in the style? :-)

    1. Ah, that is one of the finest compliments I've ever had.