Queen movie review: This is not a review, this is a protest-Entertainment News , Firstpost
(our critic has refused to rate this movie)
This is not a review, this is a protest against those who allowed this project for kindergarten kids to reach mainstream movie theaters.
Most days, I wouldn’t have bothered to write about a nondescript movie of such abysmal quality. queen, however, must be discussed because its arrival is a symptom of what continues to affect the distribution and exhibition sectors of india, where so many good films, including some that have won awards and critical acclaim at festivals, they struggle to get a theatrical release for various reasons. including either that they’re not big, star-dominated companies, or that their producers don’t have the clout or conviction to persuade theater owners to give them shows.
I had read about this Malayalam movie before seeing it this weekend. the times of india, in a report dated january 31, 2017, saw fit to devote an entire article to queen even though it has no particular credentials to recommend it for such a space. this was even before the casting, a time when the serious film press never writes about unknown indies because critics are rightly expecting the film to speak for itself. however, I kindly informed readers a full year before queen came out that “it is inspired by a real-life photograph that was once floating around the internet, of a girl in a sari walking down the street in front of a whole group of his classmates. the director, said jose antony, says that he himself is an engineer and visited the faculty in the photo to learn more about their lives”. (yes)
what inspired the times to spend so many words on queen? Had they read the script and been convinced of its potential? If so, could you tell us who on your staff showed such a terrible lack of discernment in not dismissing the script as the worthless potpourri it was/is? the nation, borrowing a line from one of this media group’s most famous former employees, wants to know.
A day after toi’s report appeared, one appeared in the new indian express (tnie) dated February 1, 2017, with more details of the project. tnie went so far as to call queen “a fun-filled college movie” even though, as mentioned in the same sentence, that hadn’t been done yet.
Now that I’ve seen queen, I can assure you that it’s not funny at all. The story begins in a setting now familiar in Malayalam movies: a college campus where male students fight each other, harass female students, and behave as if female homo sapiens are weirder than the Yeti and the Loch Ness monster. this unpleasant scenario where exaggerated masculinity develops was most visible in last year’s chunkzz. that movie was deeply offensive, but had better casting and production values. the queen looks worn and faded as well as creepy.
The writing team’s focus is a college mechanical engineering course, where men erupt into a testosterone-induced frenzy when they hear a woman is joining their class. this leads to more disturbing scenes of stalking and harassment projected as comedy. I’m not bothering to avoid spoilers here, because this movie isn’t worth the effort.
Anyway, the woman then wins over the men with her beaming smile. once they stop misbehaving with her, they fight with others who do. once they’re done with that, they find out she has cancer. once the movie ends with that episode she walks straight out of the hospital and heads to the college campus to dance in a bright red sari surrounded by hordes of her male college mates and for some reason I didn’t bother to reel in my thoughts. brains. about – an elephant. she then she is raped and murdered. then her character is assassinated in court, in the press and on the streets. then her classmates fight for justice for her. then they win. then the movie ends.
The tragedy is that in the courtroom scenes, a lawyer (played by veteran salim kumar) makes a couple of pertinent points about the victim’s shame. however, those questions don’t matter because for this film, rape is not a major concern but rather another element of masala to add to the mix to spice up a script.
Come to think of it, calling a movie a queen is a compliment. An uncharismatic main cast and some established character artists have teamed up in this non-movie to act out an amateur script in settings that might not be up to par with a respected school’s drama team.
what’s irritating is not only that she became a queen, but that she somehow traveled to theaters in kerala and from there even traveled out of state. this is no small thing.
one of the movies on my list of the best mollywood movies of 2017 posted on this website last month was dr biju’s kaadu pookunna neram (when the forest blooms), a gripping story of the troubled equation between communities oppressed tribal groups and the state as represented by the police. it starred rima kallingal and indrajith sukumaran (both leading names), boasted world class cinematography, was smart, politically brave and entertaining. biju is a winner of multiple national awards. Kallingal has won several prestigious awards. None of this was enough to recommend Kaadu Pookunna Neram to distributors and theaters outside of Kerala. even getting to a theater within kerala was difficult.
There are so many great movies that audiences are deprived of seeing because their producers don’t push them hard enough, and when they do, distribution companies and theaters in India don’t want to risk backing them, if not because they lack the stellar value, then due to its offbeat themes. In a setting where the likes of kaadu pookunna neram struggle to reach us, it’s almost criminal that the queen has come this far.