Ramya Krishnan starrer Queen begins with a disclaimer that the series is a fictional account and any resemblance is coincidental. In this case, the comparisons and references make no sense, but can they be completely ignored? Be the judge. Directed by Goutham Menon and Prasath Murugesan, Queen is a fascinating story about one of the most powerful ladies but a victim of its slow pace and scattered screenplay.
What Is Queen About?
A sort of coming of age drama, Queen, based on Anita Sivakumaran’s book by the same name is a fictional (according to the makers) account of a rage called Shakti Sheshadri. The series travels from the time Shakti was 15 till she got into her late 30’s telling us the milestones events that shaped the rage that she is.
It gets into her life and shows how a brilliant state topper was forced to act in the films, how she became a superstar and what led to her becoming one of the most powerful lady politician this country had ever seen. Deja vu?
The series begins with a successful politician and CM of Tamil Nadu Shakti Sheshadri sitting in an interview with a leading talk show host played by Lillete Dubey and talking about her life candidly. Well, if you make a quick YouTube search for Jayalalithaa’s interview by Simi Garewal, you might stumble upon this scene and much more that this series talks about, I am just saying. The makers take this documented account carefully and twist it in a way that it works in the favour of the series. The episode of the chat show forms the base where Shakti tells her story.
The best thing to happen to this show is actress Ramya Krishnan, the actress enters the script like it’s her territory and claims it like a boss. The balanced emotions and eyes that speak volumes are enough to tell you the calibre that she endorses.
Special mention to Anika Surendran and Anjana Jayaprakash who play the teenage and young Shakti respectively. The actresses have understood the power that Shakti stands for and they deliver that.
Though the writing is lazy (about that later), the sequence when Shakti (Anjana) falls for a Telugu film director Chaitanya Reddy (Vamsi Krishna) is the best out of all. Yes, the romance is clichéd but the actors pull it off in an impressive manner.
The show also renders into the times when Shakti meets her first love GMR (we need a quick search here too) and shows how problematic yet important their relationship was and it was brave of the makers.
Though I have my complaints with the camera department, background score by Darbuka Siva is commendable.
What Doesn’t Work:
Let’s talk about the lazy writing now. We know the series is inspired by a real-life story and almost every character that enters the narrative is somewhere identifiable. Writer Reshma Gathala takes this liberty and don’t define the characters apart from Shakti much. They assume that the viewer knows who it is. Did they forget it is a ‘fictional’ account?
That brings in the spotlight the scattered and lose screenplay and dialogues. While the screenplay is confused about what it wants to focus on, the dialogues seem to be written by an intern with 2 months experience in rush to get the work done. They are not impactful or complimenting the powerful emotions that Ramya evokes with her acting.
Queen also lacks in good camera work. While we are watching cinematography marvels like Super Deluxe and Kumbalangi Nights coming out of South diaspora, the cinematography in Queen seems to be a film school project.
Also, Ramya enters the narrative as a full-fledge character very late. Till this point, the audience might lose their attention.
The story is fascinating, inspiring, moving, but the representation of it is not. Though the series has actors that define the talent with their amazing acting skills but the surrounding doesn’t support them like it should.
Watch if you are a Ramya or a Jayalalithaa fan. Watch her sing Aja Saman Madhur Chandni Me Hum (which the original Jayalalithaa also sung on Garewal’s show) and fall in love with the magnum character this stalwart lady was.
Rating: 2 stars