Sting in the Tail

Revolver Rani Director: Sai Kabir Shrivastav  Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Piyush Mishra, Vir Das, Zakir Hussain
Revolver Rani
Director: Sai Kabir Shrivastav
Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Piyush Mishra, Vir Das, Zakir Hussain

Despite, and it’s never a good sign beginning with despite, the Frank Miller-Robert Rodriguez- Sin City-inspired opening credits sequence, complete with comic-book effects, splattered blood and firing guns, Revolver Rani takes too much time to evolve. The sting of the film is in its last half-hour, and you only get there if you sit through the first hour-and-a-half.

For a filmmaker and its producers, that’s a dangerous ploy, laced as it is with the supposition that the audience will be a patient one. In short, Revolver Rani had the potential to be a lot more fun; it instead ends up becoming a ‘what-could-have-been’.

Alka Singh (Kangana Ranaut) is a gangster-politician in Madhya Pradesh, known for her gun-toting skills and feared by her rivals. Balli (Piyush Mishra) is the Chanakya to Alka’s Prithviraj Chauhan. Rohan Kapoor (Vir Das), a struggling model with dreams of making it big in Bollywood, is Alka’s boy toy. Uday Bhan Tomar (Zakir Hussain), the ruling politician from Gwalior, is Alka’s Enemy No. 1. There are other characters in the film, but it is largely around these four that it revolves.

The recipe is for a political-action film that could have either been a satire or made into a dedication film. However, Revolver Rani never rises from the initial expectations it sets. Ten minutes into the film and you start believing that there will be something that will give. An hour later, you are still looking for the push.

Alka and her uncle Balli have risen from very humble beginnings and for 25 years have waited their turn. Now, that time is near; Alka is in with a very good chance of winning the impending elections. The hurdle is Alka’s opportunistic lover Rohan Kapoor. Unfortunately for Rohan, his opportunity now seems to have become his albatross and he is desperately looking for a way out. In a politically-charged crime-infested environment, such chances are not hard to come by. The theme of betrayal is, therefore, a natural corollary in such a setting.

The problem is the sense of ennui that pervades the first hour-and-a-little more. Nothing seems to move. The funnier sequences in which a married Rohan is forced to remarry and get circumcised to change his religion, also get lost in this tedium. If anyone stands out in this duration, it is Ranaut in her new avatar of a feisty female lead, but, that also has a lot to do with curiosity value. After the success of Queen, people have discovered the actor and want to experience her in as many ways as possible.

That is not to say that Ranaut has not done well, quite the opposite. She wears Alka Singh like a second skin, with her Madonna-inspired metallic bras (“Humare saare kapde Italy se aate hain”), her rustic accent (“Venise”), her liking of a 12-chamber revolver, everything that makes the gangster-politician.

The other actors are also nuanced and never over the top. Not even the rival goons who scream their heads off and shoot at everything with frustration. While Mishra’s versatility has time and again been on show, it is Das’ performance as the scheming lover boy, which is likely to surprise everyone.

All the more reason, therefore, for the film to be raised to an above-par level. Unfortunately, that never happens. The parts dazzle, but the sum disappoints. Without the right dose of entertainment, Revolver Rani is a forgettable attempt. That’s despite — as in the beginning, it is never a good indication to sign off with a despite — a gun-blazing Kangana Ranaut on a moving jeep.


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