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Revolver Rani (Sai Kabir, Indien 2014) - review in english

Alka Singh (who is Revolver Rani aswell), angry young woman and leader of a dubious political party, loses her heart to Bollywood wannabe-actor Rohan. Needless to say, he is is just an impostor with hopes and dreams he doesn't believe in himself. When he finally decides to leave Alka Singh for another woman, his chances are bad - she is already pregnant with his child. Besides, leaving Rani is never an option, because she is fast with her guns and gets easily carried away in her anger. If there's something she doesn't like, Rani fires.

Since two or three days (now: weeks) already I've been thinking about Revolver Rani and wonder about what I could prossibly write that could be of interest - and thus contribute to the discourse of this peculiar film that seems to stand midway between commercial filmmaking and exploitation. A point that would interest me a lot at least. Seemingly only that is, and that's the biggest problem of the film, because it definitely is, well, just a very uneven, blank commercial product with no ambition at all. The Grindhouse-appeal is just a poster tricking your unconscious mind. No ambition to break barriers, to shock, to show something unexpected or slightly new. Something of character. In the end it's another love story told in a stupid way. Maybe there wasn't even a script, because the movie loses its protagonists on its way. On the way in between a love so compassionate, that the heroine builds a gamepark (labelled: studioset) for her loverboy, but truly it is just there that they have the possibility of including an incredibly stupid citation of the most famous scene of one of the most horrible films in the history of moviemaking ever: Titanic. There they are, Rani and Rohan, stretching out their arms on their own little Titanic, not knowing that this is a very bad omen. The permanent references to other movies truly is the only "postmodern" - tarantinoesque or Robert Rodriguez-esque influence in a movie that tries to catch you with a Death Proof / Kill Bill-styled charm. That is, if your attention is not diverted by the most horrible acting of the main protagonists, Rani and her lover against his own will, Rrrrohan.

The general acting performance of superstar Kangana Ranaut as Rani is just terrible. Overacting is something that might be tolerated in an insanely crazy comedy from Hong Kong or an Indian lovestory, that is larger than life and gets totally carried away. A movie that wants to play with the ambivalence of a gritty reality versus love as a saviour, there should be, at least sometimes, a grain of reliable acting that hints towards the fact that there is actually something to fight for (that's why the scenes with Rani's father and his cohort of corrupt political hoodlums are the only ones that seem to be of interest). This goes for action sequences aswell. In one of the few fight scenes, the choreography is so bad and the editing so slow, that one has to think that it's a bad joke they are playing with the audience. This just looks like an unwilling imitation of a fight scene, and is a long way from the real stuff. Well, then, it might even be a mode of stylistic means, but like her acting in Revolver Rani, everything is just over the top, all the time.

This movie is grotesque, a politcal farce mixed with a really blunt lovestory and a - not even flawed - but unbelievably boring narration. After the interval in the second half of the movie, the entertainment level drops to unknown depths, and boredom reigns. Even Alka Singh herself seems to be bored by her much too violent and at the same time ordinary life, as she thinks about quitting politics and leaving the country with her soon-to-be husband and their child. Leaving her old life behind. Yes, this is a wise decision, I would quit a life like that, too. Before watching the movie, I was in good spirits and was prepared for a senseless time-waster, but after 30 minutes into Revolver Rani, I wanted to do my laundry and wished this ugly and uninspired bore of a movie would just stop. Still, I had to watch another one and a half hours. Be warned!



  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:


    1. Thanks for your opinion, but I strongly disagree. No experimental film making here whatsoever... at least in an international context. You named the references yourself.


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