Revolver Rani Movie Review : Experimental, Brave but Flawed

Revolver Rani is a hard film to judge and critique. It is a black comedy, and a sly one at that. It is an audacious and ambitious attempt. It is also marginally regressive at times. It is a slushy ode to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series, not that those were classics either. It is the feminine version of a diatribe of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, in layman terms. It is a lot of things. But then, it is nothing like what its trailer promised it to be. Revolver Rani delves much deeper, darker and quirkier than a plain badass female dacoit beating up goons story. Yet in those finer reserves, it loses itself somewhere and leaves you confused. It must be lauded, but alas, it cannot be archived even if all of ye Kangana fans may have wanted to, especially after the release of Queen.

Kangana Ranaut is Alka Singh, aka Revolver Rani, who is a psychotic, hard-headed feared dacoit in the Chambal valley of Madhya Pradesh. She is also a leader and politician in the Gwalior area, vying for the prestigious MLA seat or whatever. She defines wacky, irresistibly, from her sex life to her public shootouts to her clothes, which are imported specially from Italy. Her opponents are more laughable than villainous, while her toy boy boyfriend is a back-stabbing plundering aspiring actor Rohan Kapoor (Vir Das). Amidst the louche pack of men surrounding her is her well-meaning Balli Mama (Piyush Mishra) whose only fault is that he cannot sacrifice his hard-earned power for anything. Like her Rani from Queen, Kangana’s Alka is also a woman in search of her own identity. Putting a cape on her murky past, she rages ahead by the power of her gun. She wants to live like a normal girl, wishes to become fair, beautiful, have a family and drop the ‘infertile’ tag slammed on her face. But then this is a world where you have no one to cheer for, as everyone is bad and conniving.


First time director Sai Kabir sets up architects a fresh interesting character in Alka with much alacrity. He also adopts a stunningly farcical tone in Alka’s journey, playing on standard tropes of betrayals, double-crossings, masochistic goons, cheating politicians and media intrusions. But somewhere, his plot gets fragmented with no character-centric approach to the story. Alka’s desire to clean up her act looks half-baked as the focus keeps meandering across various themes. In a certain sense, Revolver Rani is a very experimental film but its divisive screenplay shortchanges its audience. The trailer of the film promised much more fun while exploring the black layers that it does. The phan, phasion and gun is fun, but in bits of inspired moments, such as the one when Alka gets arrested, the one when she catches Rohan sneaking back into the house, the one where Balli mama conjures up Alka’s marriage story. But none of this makes up for the whole, as a lot of whim is injected in an injudicious attempt.

Produced by Crouching Tiger Motion Pictures, Tigmanshu Dhulia and a couple of others, and presented by Wave Cinemas, Revolver Rani delivers a solid punch of hinterland cinema on a modest budget. Sanjeev Shrivastava’s music churns out only a memorable title track. Suhas Gujrati’s cinematography is decent, while a special mention for Rohit Nag for putting together a delectable cast. Sai Kabir’s dialogues range from a riot to the trite. 


As the name goes, Revolver Rani belongs to Kangana Ranaut and she owns it well too. Post Queen, this one affirm her stature as the most versatile current actress of the Indian film industry. Gormless and crude, Kangana’s Alka Singh is a cartoonishly fearsome character, a sharp turnaround from her previous Rani. And she stands tall, like a monumental giant with her performance. Capturing the strife and the inner desire of Alka, as well as her blithe and candor is an uphill task which she achieves. I cannot think of any actor in the film industry who would agree to play a spineless hero, but Vir Das is an exception. As Rohan, he experiments with his own capacities and must be credited for that. Piyush Mishra is first rate as Balli Mama once again. Zakir Hussan does well while the immensely talented Syed Zeeshan Quadri is wasted in an inconsequential role as Pilot. But the real show stealer is Mishkka Singh as an over-enthusiastic, ludicrously hilarious news reporter Payal Parihar from Sajag Samachar.

On the whole, Revolver Rani may not appeal to a wide range of audience due to its unpersuasive plot and various dark indulgences. It does shine at many moments and worked for me, but I could not overlook the fact that it gets scattered all over the place. It has taken a decent start at the Box Office but one should not expect any success like Queen. Needless to say, Kangana Ranaut is in top form and could whisk away the well-written roles of many other actresses in the days to come. Vir Das, you always had my respect, and it continues to grow. The makers have been brave and that is always appreciable.  I will not urge that this is a film you should not miss, but considering the other options playing at the theaters, you might as well give this experiment a chance. If not for its leading lady!

Rating – 2.5/5


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One thought on “Revolver Rani Movie Review : Experimental, Brave but Flawed

  1. My thoughts on Revolver Rani…

    Revolver Rani is essentially a satire on the power hungry politicians, treading through the dark alleys of power in the Chambal Valley, who have little regard for anything save their own ambitions. Revolver Rani comes across as an experimental film and as with all experiments the probability of failure is much higher than the probability of success. Not everyone has the appetite for nonsensical, over-the-top violence which Revolver Rani offers in abundance. A rather overt swashbuckling style of cinema à la Sergio Leone is something the Hindi film audiences are usually not very comfortable with. And that’s precisely where Revolver Rani suffers. Hindi cinema is still in the need of its very own Quentin Tarantino who can help the audiences expand their cinematic horizons. But, until the audiences grow more receptive, films like Revolver Rani would continue to be treated as mere exercises in style.

    The best way to approach Revolver Rani is an indigenous tongue-in-cheek Western featuring a rugged cowgirl as oppose to a cowboy. Yes, Alka Singh can best be described as the female equivalent of a desi cowboy straight out of some Western pulp novel. The movie’s graphic novel feel only accentuates it further. Besides, the film is rife with symbolism and allegories. The thinking viewer will certainly be able to savor what’s at his/her disposal. The director Sai Kabir, a self-confessed fan of Johnnie To and Robert Rodriguez, paints a lurid canvass, oozing with an abundance of grotesqueries, adorned by shifty, larger-than-life characters caught in existential traps—all this facilitates the orchestration of rather palatable mise-en-scène.

    Revolver Rani presents experimental filmmaking at its very best but typically with little commercial relevance, especially in the context of the Indian market. Kangana Ranaut shines in her portrayal of a politically powerful female goon. There’s no denying that Kangana Ranaut performs Alka Singh to a tee. Barring a few anachronisms, everything right from her non-glamorous look to her native accent to her aggression in bed makes Kangana look convincing as Alka Singh—a caricature that strongly harks back to Uma Thurman’s character “The Bride” in Kill Bill movies. Kangana’s tour de force performance is well complimented by the rest of the cast. And the unconventional music adds to the overall mood of the film. There is certainly more to the film than meets the eye. As a socio-political satire, its relevance cannot be overlooked. The undercurrent of dark humour only adds to movie’s overall appeal.

    My full review can be read here:

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