Kangana Ranaut makes `badass` look simple, human and full of heart
In one of the film's standout scenes, the protagonist Praful Patel - played effortlessly by Kangana Ranaut – tells her bride-to-be cousin about good girls and bad girls. The former can only manage a single boyfriend and the latter are lucky enough to land many, she declares quoting a worldly-wise mum. Early on in the film, we know Kangana was entrusted with the Herculean task of finding the grey space between good girls and bad girls. She had at hand a character who could trip over to the negative side too easily. Praful is unapologetically materialistic. Greed drives her actions and her scheming side spares none, not even her own family. But Kangana creates an affable entity of her, who is funny, emotional, warm and kind. A housekeeper at a hotel, sneered at by her own parents for her life choices – failed marriage and barely respectable profession, Kangana still manages to lend to Praful a striking sense of independence and confidence, making her relatable. After a chance bachelorette trip to Las Vegas, Praful is addicted to gambling which sucks away her finances in no time. The returns of her first win has her smitten till she loses all her savings to the game, besides becoming a target of blood-hungry moneylenders.
Director Hansal Mehta and his writers – Apurva Asrani and Kangana, herself, give a novel spin to this dark and twisted story. They borrow the title from DDLJ, making a realistic parody of how women have changed since 1995. 'Jee le apni zindagi' is no longer about finding the man of your dreams. It's about achieving what one's heart desires. The narrative is layered with deep-rooted optimism, giving it the edgy fairytale feel. And they achieve all of it without romanticising or glorifying Praful's crimes. It must've been tricky but therein lies the power of the plot. Despite being ridden with several clichés, the effort to be inventive is unmissable. A special mention here is for the dialogues – which are bound to leave you in splits. The beauty of Hansal's direction is that the story has its grim, poignant, heartbreaking and a few high-strung emotional moments but he never lets the humour go missing.
The first half of the movie casts a spell as you travel with Praful on her misadventures – boys, beer and betting included. Kangana never allows you to stop rooting for Praful even when she is wrong. In the second half, Mehta falls for the usual traps. It's disturbing how easy he makes bank robberies look but Praful googling videos on how to rob a bank makes it an easy offense to forgive. The romantic angle is purposeless. Sohum Shah, who plays Samir – Praful's love interest - is beautifully cast but that's one character the film could've easily done. I wish Mehta-Asrani-Ranaut had explored more of the volatile bond between Praful and her father. A tighter second half, fewer songs and a less hurried ending would have made Simran a watch for keeps.
But there's more reason to celebrate Simran than diss it. The quirky perspective at finding laughs in troubled times is a refreshing way of viewing problems. And then there's Kangana, making badass look simple, human and so full of heart.