If you have watched Queen, it shouldn’t surprise you that the film is holding strong despite competent new releases pitted against it. For pluses, Queen is consistently heartwarming. It will choke you up but won’t depress you the least. And mostly, the film will fill you brimming hope and optimism. Bollywood history suggests that such films have always fared well with the audiences for their quality of including the masses in their stories and yet the flavors have nothing similar about them. It is a common misconception that films which are over the top and intrinsically loud have a tendency to work in Indian markets. What remains unchanged is the fact that simplicity has its own value that will stay powerful always.
Apparently, it is easy to dismiss that Queen and English Vinglish has any similarities at all! Not it doesn’t. The stories are as distinct as chalk and cheese. But it will be erroneous to miss that the film’s journeys conclude on the relatable lines of women finding their footing in life, gaining their eroded self confidence. But are the films same or even similar? The answer would unanimously be a ‘No’! Their tackling is different, they are handled with different perspectives. Yes, comprised of moments primarily, Queen and English Vinglish both stay with for its moments. Personally, I found Queen way more overpowering as compared to English Vinglish because the story was naturally closer to my age and my dilemmas. And still, Queen and English Vinglish both seek solace in the quaintness of weaving out familiar stories of regular women with precision and even more.
Everyone will view both these films from their own perspectives. A married friend of mine whom I watched English Vinglish with smiled and consented with a line where Sridevi tells her husband they don’t hug each other anymore because they are too close. I am not in the mental frame to understand the depth of that statement in its entirety but surely it had something way more powerful in it than a mere passing remark. Similarly in Queen, a scene where her fiance chides her from dancing in public to her venting out Hungama dance is something that soothes something in everyone from the audience!
Infact in a conversation with Kangana, we had broached the question why people are finding Queen similar to English Vinglish. And the actress with all her conviction had affirmed that the films have nothing similar about them. Just because two films revolve around the journeys of women, they don’t have to be similar. She had said, “I don’t know why is it even appearing similar to people. The concept of English Vinglish was about a woman acquiring back her self respect. She came up and took charge of the fact that people did not respect her. The main plot was that her children used to make fun of her, husband used to treat her trivially and so on. The main plot of Queen is that the girl doesn’t respect herself. Everyone else around her is full of respect for her, but she doesn’t echo the same. She is suffering from acute inferiority complex. She doesn’t think she is worth anything. Rani is a prototype of low self esteem.”
She continues, “English Vinglish was a journey of a powerful woman. Queen is a journey of a neurotic who cannot look in the eye and talk. She is always scared someone will scold her, someone will yell at her. She is too rule abiding and that’s what hurts her worse when she gets abandoned.”
It is important to educate audiences through films like Queen where they develop the mental acumen to differentiate between different stories and not brand them similar based on the presence of a French fling or an overbearing possessive spouse or even sillier – the cooking connect of the climax. A Bollywood insider had once pointed out that Indian audiences and often a large section of the media fashion stories in such a manner that every woman oriented film is the same. So as to say that Kahaani is equivalent to Queen. In that case, Dabangg and Rowdy Rathore has barely any difference either but are rather more formulaic-ally similar than the afore mentioned films. Or even better a lion killing a man and a cat killing is mouse is just the same story ain’t it? Cinema is not about prototypes where one falls into the moulds of other. Atleast not when it comes to a Queen or English Vinglish. Perhaps it’s time we understand cinema more holistically than view it like an industrial product delivered in similar shapes and sizes, like bars of soap!