When ‘Queen’ Taught Us to Think for Ourselves

The 2014 film about a jilted fiancée’s solo honeymoon reminds us that change can begin with one simple decision.

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Lisa Haydon and Kangana Ranaut in 'Queen' (2014)

Snigdha Sur


March 15, 2024

A man puts up a heart that says “Rani weds Vijay,” grandmas are telling a choreographer to teach them dance moves for the sangeet, flowers are going up. This chaos is part and parcel of South Asian wedding prep. But then we start hearing the inner thoughts of the bride, who is getting henna on her hands and donning a red dupatta: “I can’t believe I’m getting married. I’m so nervous. My mom said she would change into a sari, but she hasn’t. I gave my mobile to Chintu to take pictures — where is he?! Vijay has come back to London and put on weight but in all the right places.”

The audience quickly realizes this is not your typical wedding film. The bride and her thoughts are front and center. Rani Mehra (Kangana Ranaut) is the daughter of a sweets maker from Rajouri Garden in West Delhi and is completely oblivious to the ways of the world. She is shocked when her fiancé, Vijay Dhingra (Rajkummar Rao), dumps her days before their big day. “What will I say to my parents?” she wails, begging him to no avail. 

Revisiting Queen (2014), 10 years after its release, is a trip. The Hindi film grossed roughly $12 million, over 10 times its $1.6 million budget, a rarity in the industry, and snagged six Filmfares. But Queen is about much more than just accolades. As we follow Rani — who goes on her honeymoon anyway — we also come along on a journey of unlearning the patriarchal beliefs that wear women down and that they unknowingly imbibe. In a world full of nos and sorries, Rani is a wholehearted, unapologetic yes.

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