When you read the synopsis, you are doubtful whether it’s the same movie that critics are raving about. You have a girl, dumped by her fiance two days prior to their wedding and then goes on her honeymoon alone. It triggers all things chick flick. And given the track record of chick flicks in bollywood, you don’t want to plunge in. So you ignore it. But then come the raving reviews and you think, if it could impress The Hindu’s reviewer then maybe it stands a chance.
And you book the first ticket of the next available show.
And you are blown off.
There you were planning to pass this movie up and now here you are suffering from an extreme case of a movie hangover.
It’s heartwarming and enchanting. Above all, it’s encouraging. It fills you with hope. You cheer for her when she hesitates to kiss her swoon-worthy boss, her first “lip to lip” smooch. You root for her when she confronts her fiance for a closure. And no matter how badly you want to her to punch him, you feel satisfied for the comeuppance she delivers to her fiance with a smile. She’s your typical west Delhi girl. She’s a behenji. She’s naive, inexperienced and sometimes clueless, but adorably so. Yet here is a behenji who rooms with three guys, travels all alone, gets drunk and accepts a prostitute for who she is and befriends her. You feel heartened seeing the submissive Rajouri girl gain a footing on her own once she’s out of the wings of her overprotective parents and demeaning, dominating fiance. She’s your quintessential Indian girl- submissive, sweet, hesitant, sheltered. Yet she doesn’t ignite the hatred a mary sou-esque heroine might. It’s this sweetness and the simplicity which are her strongest characteristic as she delivers blow after blow to every standard set by the society for a girl.
Bringing her to life is the talented Kangana Ranaut. She’s flawless as Rani and never once do you see the star that see is seep in. She is perfect in every frame, living her character, growing with her. Not once does she falter in her quest to unmask the meek Rani and bring her out in all her glory.
And then there is Vijay, her fiance. He is everything a feminist abhors. A typical working class man. Chauvinist to the core. The males ego rears its ugly head now and then, unbelievably chiding her for wanting to work and disgustingly discouraging her ambitions. For a moment you can’t believe it. You refuse to be impressed by such a cliched portrayal of a man. But on second thoughts you realize that this cliche is reality. You see it in your neighbors, in your friends, in your own family. It is this cliche that brings Vijay to life, makes him believable. Grovelling for her to take him back when he sees that he might be wrong to assume that she can never rise up to his newly acquired, London returned standards.
It’s a slice of reality, this one.