If anyone had any doubt that an Indian leading lady cannot carry a full film on her shoulders, banish that thought. Kangana Ranaut drives from the front seat, and everyone else follows.
While that is an entirely wonderful thing, that also becomes a failing. Because there’s altogether too much of Kangana in the film: the story gives her enough to do in the first half, and we are fully engaged and absorbed. And, then it slides into slushy territory. That’s called too much of a good thing.
The good things first. Ranaut’s Praful Patel is a woman who has a job, a complicated family life, and she is ambitious. For herself. Which makes her a rare creature in mainstream Bollywood where the leading ladies are referenced through their men.
Praful is in the housekeeping department in a hotel, and is determinedly blue collar. She pats down beds, cleans sinks, pushes a vacuum, and fends off unwelcome advances from colleagues. Her parents, the crotchety Pappa and loving ma are well drawn too: Praful is no sugar and spice and everything nice, and her interactions with her folks feel real.
But the plot gets into a loop, and her slide into another avatar — the gambler and thief– becomes tiresome.
Kangana keeps us watching, though. With her plain varnished face, she comes across as a real, solid, complex woman, someone you can reach out and touch. When she’s on the top of her game, she’s glorious. Pity the storyline let’s her down.