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August 3, 2015 at 9:53 am

11 Reasons Why Queen is the Most Feminist Film of Recent Years

In 2014, the cast and crew of the film ‘Queen’ won both critical acclaim and the masses’ hearts. This was a rare occasion in India where a story which doesn’t involve the boy and girl getting together was considered a happy ending by the audience, and everyone was left cheering and applauding the performances and the overall experience of the film.

Queen undoubtedly made a strong statement with the central plot of a girl moving on after being left at the altar and finding herself. But even beyond the essence of the film was a multi-layered message of beautifully portrayed feminist ideals. This was, arguably, the most feminist film in Bollywood post the 2000’s and definitely a lesson in Feminism 101, and here’s why.

1. It shows a girl’s parents being sensitive to her after being dumped.

Queen shows Rani’s parents being supportive of her post her wedding being called off. The family is actually shown caring for their child, instead of thinking about trivial issues like the loss of family honour (on cancellation of a wedding) and ‘what will people say?’
Bollywood-1; Khap Panchayat-0

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2. It normalises the idea of a girl doing things which are still looked down upon.

In many countries including India women doing things like drinking, travelling solo, gambling and dancing in public are still demonised by many. Queen does a fabulous job of normalising all these notions through a simple character like Rani.

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3. It shows an unapologetic single mom, who is not a quintessential ‘abla naari’.

Classic Bollywood movies have shown single mothers as those who’re ever suppressed and ostracized by society. Lisa Haydon’s character is a refreshing change being a free spirit who’s strong enough to fend for herself and her child.

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4. It normalises the idea of kissing and pre-marital sex.

Queen shows a woman who’s fully in charge of her body (Vijaylakshmi) and makes her own rules about her life. Not once does it look at her with judgment, or with disdain. Brownie points for when Rani finally kisses the Italian guy like a playful tease, marking her transformation in the film.

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5. It shows how there’s nothing wrong in being boisterous, fun, outgoing and simply being yourself.

Lisa Haydon’s character, or Vijaylakshmi, in any other Bollywood film would have been the vamp, or at least a character with some shades of grey. But Queen tears through superficial social layers and shows how she is just another girl with a heart of gold.

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6. It shows how it’s okay for women and men to stay together.

Queen shows how women and men staying together under one roof can result in a perfectly platonic relationship, that does not have to end up in sex. Also, it shows how all men are not potential rapists that just need the presence of a woman to ‘lose control.’ Take that, M.L. Sharma!

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7. It humanises a sex-worker.

Being a sex-worker in Bollywood has always been a struggle. They’re either shown as the downtrodden zinda laash, or the outright bitch. The character of Roxette is actually seen as human with all her fundamental rights and financials in place. And yeah, she’s a good person too.

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8. It demolishes the stereotype of ‘macho’ men.

The lizard scene and the scene where the Japanese boy, Taka, cries shows that even men can have irrational fears and have sensitive and emotional moments too. Men can be vulnerable too—‘Mard ko bhi dard hota hai’, Bollywood.

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9. It upholds the belief that our grandmothers will always be the coolest, progressive members of the family.

Who can forget Rani’s dadi cajoling her out of the room with stories of how she met her first love, ‘Faisal.’ Or the other wise jabs through the movie, such as, “yahan to adult picture chal rahi hai.”

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10. The film mocks the traditional belief of how a girl’s life is over if she’s left at the altar.

The scene in which the Punjabi aunty in France chooses to give her 11 Euros instead of 100 because it’s not a ‘Shaadi ka Shagun’ anymore is shown in a mocking and satirical way. Instead of feeling sorry for her, we actually give a mental thumbs-down to yet another absurd ‘tradition’.

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11. It passes the Bechdel test!

The film shows a beautiful friendship develop between two very unlikely individuals—Rani and Vijay (Haydon). They are shown enjoying themselves and painting the town red without needing the presence of a man. They truly show how there’s so much more to one’s personality than the frivolous outer layer that society perceives of us.

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So, if you haven’t already, go ahead and watch the sheer awesomeness of Queen. And read more about the Bechdel test here.

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