It's so apt that she's wearing an Alice in wonderland T-shirt.
After all, this Delhi girl has led such a protected, inhibited existence that even a small decision needed her fiance's permission.
Rani (Kangna Ranaut) is the quintessential "good girl" studying Home Science (naturally), saying things like "mummy-daddy ki kasam", and thrilled about going to a foreign country for her honeymoon.
So when her fiance (Rajkummar Rao) cancels the wedding last-minute, she coops herself in a room, sobbing. The next morning, having partially recovered from the trauma and thanks to some kick-ass advice by her grandmother, she decides to go on the honeymoon herself.
And that's when we see her in that 'Alice?' T-shirt!
Used to taking her little brother along everywhere as chaperone, Rani now has to navigate her way through a new country. And it's ironic that she's heartbroken and has chosen to travel alone to one of the most romantic cities ? Paris.
Now she has to lug up the heavy suitcases, live in the hotel room and have dinner by herself, and handle everything on her own. The scene where she's trying to cross the road, and is habitually looking for someone's hand to hold her, is heartfelt. The viewer understands what Rani hasn't yet - that she is meant to take this journey alone; that it'll be good for her. Indeed, the film is more philosophical than it seems.
The first few days in Paris make her want to run back home, but then something happens. She finally begins to have some fun, and starts the journey of re-discovering herself.
The film makes several important statements. It's a progressive film that humanizes everyone breaking race, gender and geographical limitations. It's incredible how director Vikas Bahl (Chillar Party) draws us into each character's graph, even the peripheral ones. And the superb humour makes the ride even more cheerful!
The only place where it falters is its flitting between extremes. So the only two lives offered are a typical life where you join your mother-in-law's kitty party after marriage, or get drunk and dance on the road. Then, we're shown the disparity between being a hesitant woman from an over-protective background to a wild child who believes in free sex, doing drugs and living it up. Surely there are people that fall in the middle ground-but the film believes in shocking black and white portrayals. And you really don't mind because the film makes it so much fun.
The central character has more grey shades thankfully. She's one of those innately wise, non-judgmental people who just didn't get a chance to flourish. And then they do, the transformation is quick and sure-footed.
Ranaut is a fearless performer-completely uninhibited and raw. Her performance will have you thinking back to the astute comic timing of Sridevi in films like Mr. India and Chaalbaaz. (interestingly, the film reminds you of Sridevi's English Vinglish as well.) From the scenes where she's hopelessly in love, to her wide-eyed transition, and the finale - she's priceless!
And then there's Rajkummar Rao who plays the Delhi brat superbly. Lisa Haydon as the wild child deserves mention for understanding her character, and therefore giving a very thorough performance (even if the accent keeps shifting). Performances by the rest of the cast particularly those playing Rani's family and new-found friends are superb!
One thanks Bahl giving us this richly textured, endearing charter and for Ranauat (also the co-dialogue writer) for bringing it alive with humour and heart.
A true coming-of-age-story? no cop-out. Now that's a rare Bollywood gem. Do Not Miss!