Simran movie review: Kangana doesn't disappoint, but it won't make you go 'wow'
What's in a name?
Nothing perhaps, as far as this movie is concerned. Honestly, we all wanted to know why the movie was called Simran; assumed that the main protagonist is called Simran? Yeah, well, she is not. So is this a throwback to “Ja Simran ja, jee le apni zindagi...” and a new age Simran not giving two hoots about Raj's ineffective reaching out to help her get aboard a train that is leaving the station?
Maybe, but only marginally. And that too if you REALLY think a lot about it.
Good hands & bad hands
Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) works in the 'housekeeping department' of a hotel in Atlanta. As a 30-something divorcee, Praful is as resourceful as her father selling khakra in America. She has her heart set on a flat, a steal price thanks to minority housing, and she is oh so close to getting her loan approved.
But, it cannot be all hunkydory now, can it?
Praful lands up in Vegas with her cousin. She wins a good hand at baccarat on her first night there. The second night she loses it all. She ends up spending the money she saved up for the house as well. However, clearly there is no stopping this girl.
After her father refuses to help her with money unless she agrees to meet a boy for marriage, Praful goes right back to Vegas. And this time, she loses even more. As a drunk, weepy Praful rages against cheating management, a money lender steps in and gives her $32,000.
Praful's losing streak rages on and she stumbles back to Atlanta and agrees to meet the boy her parents want her to meet.
It goes without saying that the moneylenders catch up with her and they want $50,000 back, and now. With no money in either her bank and no possibility of any help from her father – Praful does the only thing that makes sense to her carpe diem-ish thought process – she starts robbing banks.
Spirit animal etc
Ever since Bollywood decided to get decently practical about plots, you can imagine how the story turns out. However, it is a given that Praful will be every feminist's poster child. She has no qualms about dating and dumping men, she considers 'ladka patana' a talent etc.
But superfluous feminism aside, Praful makes some relevant points when she walks away from a hot guy because he did not have protection and when, despite her father's vehemence and disappointment of having to deal with a divorced daughter in the house – goes all out to secure her own flat and constantly think of new business ideas.
Praful is ambitious, no doubt about that. Her ambitions do not border along mansions and Mercs, but a place of her own away from parents constantly bickering about money. But make no mistake – her parents love her – they are just fraught with middle-class angst. After all 'beti paraya dhan hoti hai (a daughter is someone else's wealth)' – they really just want her to get married and settle down.
She lashes out in anger at Sameer (Sohum Shah), the guy who wants to marry her, when he just deposits the amount she owes the loan sharks in her account without asking her. She refuses to marry him. That is not the solution Praful wants to her problems – she is more than ready to deal with the consequences of mistakes she has made.
Ok, so let's be blunt. There is no logic in the movie being called Simran. The only, exceedingly forced, connect to the title is the iconic scene from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge where Babuji asks Simran to go live her zindagi. As Praful's mother watches the scene on TV, she waits impatiently at the door, all set to go rob a bank.
At the bank Praful gets dragged in to have a conversation with an employee instead, and she says her name as Simran. End of that story.
On a long shot, Praful using the name Simran could be indicative of that fact that she is the evolved, new-age character who is more than the white kurta, the mustard fields, a Raj who must rescue her from her life – but of course, she does not leave without her father's consent.
Praful wants her father's consent, but she is not scared to walk out of the house and almost leave the city after her father slaps her.
The scene where she lets cops arrest her a little out of the city because, as she explains, her neighbourhood is full of Indians and her father would kill her if she was arrested there – is hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time.
Another possible reason for the movie being called Simran is that the filmmakers wanted a name close to the name of the woman the story is based on – Sandeep Kaur. There are a few other things the filmmakers have kept common between Praful and Sandeep – one, the fact that they both love baccarat; two, Sandeep also robbed banks by showing the cashiers a note and three, both use wigs and dark glasses to change their look.
Also, there is really no clear logic as to why Praful needs to be Gujarati except perhaps to establish the fact that under normal circumstances, she is good with money.
Should you watch it?
It is a fun movie, Kangana is endearing, she is great to watch on screen. The other characters do full justice to their roles. However, you need not watch it on the big screen, you can wait for it to come to your TV set.
It did have us wishing that the movie was a good 10 minutes shorter. The last scene with Praful asking Sameer to not be with her really adds nothing to the story. It gets a little tiresome at some points.
Also, Kangana going all out in her interviews slamming Hrithik Roshan and going viral while at it and the All India Bakchod video gave Simran the publicity it needed. It does give you the feeling that it is getting increasingly important for the actor to play roles like these to live up to her feminist poster child image. And of course, you do tend to expect a lot of from an actor of that mettle.
However, Simran is not a bad movie, it is just not stellar.