Rating: 2 stars
Director: Sai Kabir
Cast: Kangna Ranaut, Vir Das, Piyush Mishra, Zakir Hussain
Mumbai: The world of ‘Revolver Rani’ is made for Kangna Ranaut. In this dacoit drama, she plays Alka Singh, a dacoit-turned-politician who’s somewhat of a diva in Chambal. She wears metallic conical bustiers made in ‘Benice’ in Italy, and boasts no end of her ‘phasion’ sense to her toy boy Rohan Kapoor (Vir Das), who’s an aspiring actor.
She’s also got an endless supply of bullets; she needs it because she uses them to complete her sentences, and sometimes when she falls short of cuss words. Right from the time the credits start rolling, director Sai Kabir makes good use of Tarantinoesque tools to create a milieu seeped in violence and peppered with dark humour. But after a promising start, the fire begins to lose out its heat, little by little.
Alka chances upon her toy boy at an underwear modeling competition where she’s the judge. Rohan woos her not having the slightest idea of what he is getting into. What follows is a complete gender role reversal. Alka looks after him, pays for his upkeep, protects him from local goons, builds him a film city and even produces a film for him. In return, he has to live up to her insatiable expectations in bed, while virtually living under house arrest. She even beats him to pulp when she suspects him of cheating on her.
Rohan is no saint of course. He wants to use her money and clout to get ahead in his career. And he cheats on her too. Alka, on the other hand, is used by her maama, played by a menacing Piyush Mishra, as a political tool to fight their local rival Udaybhan Singh who has kicked Alka out of power to reclaim his throne after five years. Alka plays along only till a point when her fiery bullets begin to drown in her newfound maternal instincts, when she realises she is pregnant. She wants a way out but the queen of this hellhole finds herself straight jacketed in a world that she ruled until yesterday.
‘Revolver Rani’ is stocked with many interesting elements, in its story, in the characterisation, in the satire. But the film fails to make its intentions clear. It starts off on a promising note, the grounds ripe for a political satire. But soon the plot gets more lost than Vir Das’s aspiring actor among Chambal’s daakus. One doesn’t know if it’s a spoof, a dark comedy or simply a picture of life in the hinterlands of Madhya Pradesh.
The editing of the film is a bit obviously jumpy, making it seem intentional but that doesn’t quite help the storytelling in this case.
Kangna’s character evokes mixed feelings. You don’t know if you should be scared of her, or treat her with affection or feel sorry for her. There are many layers to Alka but they all remain much too fragmented. Her performance however is as fiery as the role demands it to be.
Think Kill Bill’s Uma Thurman meets Chambal. Piyush brings a lot of gravitas to his part of a scheming mentor to Kangna. Zakir Hussain is first rate as Udhaybhaan, Alka’s political rival. Vir manages to bring out the frustration of an unscrupulous man who is desperately looking for an escape route in vain. A special mention as to be made of the news anchor whose parodied reporting forms a leitmotif in the film.
For those still in the ‘Queen’ hangover, ‘Revolver Rani’ won’t be an easy pill to swallow. However, the film does manage to establish Kangna’s range as an actor. The transition from Rani to ‘Revolver Rani’ has not exactly been a seamless one, but full marks for the effort.