Kangana Ranaut has dominated headlines since the past month due to her interviews, revelations (or allegations) about Hrithik Roshan and Aditya Pancholi, the whole nepotism saga and her fight with Simran‘s writer Apurva Asrani. In all of this, no one really knows what to expect when they go to the theaters to watch Simran.
With the trailers, the audience gets the vibe of Queen, but after watching the movie last night, I can safely say that Simran is far darker. The pink font, the colours and the presence of Las Vegas might make you feel that this will be a feel-good, female-centric entertainer. Female-centric it is, feel-good it’s not.
Here are five things about Hansal Mehta‘s Simran that stand out –
By now, there should be absolutely no doubt on Kangana Ranaut‘s ability to carry a film on her shoulders. The actress shines as the “difficult” Praful, a 30 year old divorcee, who just wants to move out of her claustrophobic house and escape from her overbearing parents. Especially her verbally abusive father.
This problem will particularly find a large audience with single, unmarried girls who have to stay with their shockingly old-fashioned parents because they can’t find a house to stay in an increasingly expensive city. Unlike Simran, most of them don’t resort to crime. But the woman whose story this movie is based on did exactly that. Sandeep Kaur, known as the “Bombshell Bandit”, has been brought to life by one of our finest actresses.
Why haven’t I heard more of Simran‘s songs? Sachin-Jigar have given this movie a glorious soundtrack, which shouldn’t be so underrated.
Finally, Bollywood is opening up to the concept of female protagonists who are not likable. Usually, the “flawed woman” is used as a plot device, a character who needs to be ‘saved’ by the hero, or someone who changes after the man doesn’t accept her for who she is *cough Cocktail cough*. Thankfully, Simran has none of that. Praful doesn’t need to be liked or rooted for. She’s really a woman who likes to gamble and rob banks, even if her boyfriend laughs at her face in disbelief when she says it out loud.
Soham Shah plays Sameer. The ‘good boy’ from a Gujarati family who is basically the opposite of Praful. He has goals, savings and a LOT of patience to deal with a loose canon like this one. Sameer is one of the few mature male protagonists who are extremely comfortable with their partner being the alpha, something that is not shown much in Hindi movies.
There are two scenes where an openly sex-positive Praful refuses to do it with a man and they’re both equally powerful. There are no courtroom scenes and no Amitabh Bachchan giving a monologue on how ‘no means no’. Here, we have a confident woman who is extremely sure about what she *doesn’t* want and it’s comforting to see that on the big screen.
That is not to say that the film has no flaws. Most of the supporting characters create no impact, the story tries to ram in far too many things and the robbery scenes are shockingly bad. Too many liberties are given to Praful while she commits her crimes, which, for a movie so rooted in reality, seems extremely fantastical. But, if nothing else, watch it for Kangana’s performance.