Friday, April 4, 2014

Queens Of The Silver Screen

It is very easy to see that both "English Vinglish" (my take on it here) and "Queen", released about 17 months apart, are stories of an individual's coming-of-age. Both the films not only did well, but they also managed to strike a chord with the viewers. The fact that protagonists in them happen to be charming, lovable, family-oriented women adds to their appeal.

One is set in Pune, the other in Rajouri Garden, Delhi. One features a docile, duty-bound homemaker who is a loving wife, doting mother of two and a caring daughter-in-law. The other portrays an obedient young woman living a sheltered life with her over-protective family. When circumstances throw them out of their insulated existence (to foreign shores, in both cases), they discover a side of themselves that they didn't know existed. They become new, improved versions of their old selves.

One marked the comeback of yesteryear star Sridevi with a big bang, while the other catapulted young Kangana Ranaut to new heights. Both films are obviously women-centric where men are made to take a back seat. If Shashi in "English Vinglish" rediscovers herself during a trip to the USA, Rani in "Queen" learns to believe in herself while she is finding her feet in Paris and Amsterdam.

Both the stories have been told well and so one can connect with them easily. Interestingly, food makes a delightful appearance in the two films. Shashi is not only a good cook, but she also supplies high quality sweets and snacks at weddings. Rani is the daughter of a prosperous sweet shop owner, loves cooking and takes lessons in the culinary art in Home Science classes in her college.  Elaborate shots of food --both Indian and Continental--make for lovely visuals in both the films.

With so many similarities, what made "Queen" click with the audiences that had appreciated "English Vinglish" earlier? Perhaps the dissimilarities between them worked in its favour? The age of the protagonist, her marital status, circumstances and the kind of things she is exposed to during her journey are markedly different in both the films. While the older leading lady stays within the comfortable environs of her sister's house and comes across mostly "feel good" situations, her younger counterpart faces the rough and tumble of life in an alien atmosphere almost single-handedly. Perhaps the difference in settings and their treatment is the key!

Maybe there is room for a third story where the metamorphosis takes place in India itself! It sure will be interesting to see that. But before that, it is time to stop this rambling!


  1. Why did you stop rambling? It was going very well!

  2. Glad to see you blogging! It is good for the soul.

  3. Thank you Srinivas and Atul for taking time to read my "rambling" and commenting on it!