Monday, March 16, 2015

Revolver Rani: I really wanted to like this one.

How depressing that the first time I sit down to watch a newish Hindi release in a while and it turns out to be the epitome of everything I hate about the direction Bollywood is taking. Yes, I'm talking about Revolver Rani. What should have been a fun, larger-than-life masala romp with a gun-toting lady hero turned out to be a soggy, irony-loaded, no larger than a TV screen, male-gazey stale fart. This film is seriously everything wrong with Bollywood right now. A strong female lead that's really neither. Masala buried under layers and layers of ironic dick quotes. Bland "Hollywood-style" filmmaking so we all know the film is coded as "classy" entertainment not that trash the peons watch.

Here's what was good about Revolver Rani: Kangana Ranaut.

Literally everything else in this film sucked, from the casting to the story to the direction to the cinematography to the costuming. It was so bad that not even Kangana--and you know I love Kangana--could keep me watching after the Michael Jackson impersonator comes on about halfway through the film. I reached for that off button so fast I might as well have been "Revolver" Filmi Girl, fastest remote control operator in America.

On it's surface, Revolver Rani is a story about Alka Singh (Kangana Ranaut) battling it out with a rival warlord-politican to see who will be boss of a small city in Uttar Pradesh. There is a tragic backstory, a kindly uncle, lots of sunglasses… and if that's all Revolver Rani had been, I think I might have been satisfied. Throw in an item and some comedy; some ultra-violence and a weepy death scene and call it day. There is more than enough of an edge gained by simply showing Kangana as the hero.

That is not the direction this film went. The main thrust of the story is not Alka's battles for revenge and power but Alka's love for glib, average looking Rohan Mehar (Vir Das). For the life of me, there was NO REASON for Alka to be so obsessed with this dude. They had no on screen chemistry. He was unattractive. AND he was super-duper glib and made fun of her and literally nobody around her liked him. SO WHY?!!!! I'll tell you the only reason I could figure out--"Rohan" is just male fantasy fulfillment of being loved by a powerful woman. Essentially the same trope as Knocked Up, etc.: Ugly Guy-Hot Wife. This isn't a film about Alka as much as it's a film about Alka loving schlubby Rohan for no reason that was apparent to me.

Now, if Rohan had been played by an oiled-up Ranveer Singh in full charm mode? Shirtless Shahid Kapoor doing exotic dance moves? An electric Varun Dhawan? Okay, now we're talking. Then it would make sense that Alka couldn't think straight around him and it would signal that at least some thought had been given to the female viewer. But Vir Das? Seriously? I'm sure he's a very nice guy and I liked him just fine as a comedian in Go Goa Gone but, come on!!! Was Kunal Khemu unavailable? Any one of the thousands of struggling male models littering the cafes in Bandra? Was Vir Das that big of a name draw that you couldn't have open casting for a male model to play the hot guy who drives Alka crazy????

Oh, but wait. That would mean that Alka was supposed to be our audience POV character. She wasn't. The schlubby guy was. And the schlubbier he looks, the more the dumbass film guys who have a love/hate obsession with powerful women that are the audience for this film can identify with him.

And poor Kangana. Nobody seems to have told her that this was all supposed to be "ironic." There were so many little moments where "Alka" was made to look stupid and uneducated and they were mean moments. We were supposed to be laughing at her. Like when she shows up in this chainmail bra and proudly states that all her clothes were made in Italy. Okay, it could have been a great moment but the focus is on "Rohan's" dumbfounded reaction to her statement rather than Alka's triumph of going from "girl who had to watch her mom get raped every night by the asshole who shot her father" to "Proud Lady Boss Who Wears a Chainmail Bra That Can Stop A Bullet Also It's From Italy."

And then Alka gives a terrible interview "in English" and… I'm sure both things were sold to Kangana as playing up her (perceived) weaknesses in the media as triumph (the English, the fashion) but it wasn't. It was just mean and making fun of her.

AND FINALLY. Maybe, maybe I could have overlooked the Vir Das, schlubby guy fantasy thing if the cinematography and direction and music hadn't been so mediocre. It was like watching a made-for-TV movie. All static mid-range action shots and talking heads. No zazz, no glamor, no motion, no creative camera moves or tricks. NO DRAMATIC ZOOMING IN!! And the picturizations… okay, now, would a uneducated girl from a dusty, out of the way Uttar Pradesh city really have Titanic as her be-all-and-end-all example of a romantic film??? Not at least DDLJ or something??? REALLY?? I know Titanic was a popular film but it just didn't feel right to me that a) she would even care enough about romantic movies to have a favorite and b) that her favorite would be the 20 years ago English language Titanic. GAH!

So, yeah. Alka gets pregnant by the schlub and insists on getting married to him and there's a Michael Jackson impersonator and that's where I peaced out.

What a waste of her talent.

Somebody make a real Revolver Rani movie starring Kangs. One where she is the hero and POV character instead of just a fetish object built up only to be kicked down and ground into the dust. And cast somebody actually attractive to women as her romantic love interest. Mmmmkay?

1 comment:

ThelondongirlUSA said...

yeah i tried to watch this several time, I couldn't make it past 30 minutes. Good thing is as much as i have forgotten it, so has pretty much everyone else. She'll go on to bigger and better no doubt.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl