”Are you feeling tired…because you’re running in my mind?” a line perfectly suited to Kangana Ranaut, who plays SIMRAN in her latest ‘bet’ at the silver screen. Based on the exciting and unusual female bank robber Sandeep Kaur aka Bombshell Bandit during 2014, SIMRAN is infected by the contagious charm of the exceptional Kangana Ranaut and her fans may lap her up again as the girl has her guts in the right place. However, Hansal Mehta’s transformation of the story into reel and the settings from ‘chola‘ (Punjabi) to ‘thepla‘ (read Gujarat) fails to win the stakes.
The 25-year old Sikh nurse in reality is replaced by a 30-year old divorcee in the movie helmed by Hansal Mehta and written by Apurva Asrani. The movie opens nicely with Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) a divorced living in Atlanta in United States of America cleaning a hotel room. During lunch time with her colleagues, Praful amusingly avoids the advances of her manager. Though she is divorced Praful desires to have her own house and is struggling to get a loan passed for the same. Her parents live in the same town but she is adamant to have her own house. Owing to her status in US as a minority she gets the house with a good bargain. A chance to visit Las Vegas with her cousin Amber changes her life. She bumps into a casino and like any other gambler after initially winning a good sum starts loosing. Her savings for the house etc. gets eaten up by her obsession to win and get back the lost booty. The addiction takes its toll further and Praful falls prey to the loan sharks. 32,000 dollars gets blown as well. To pay back the loan sharks, Praful starts robbing banks and things go topsy-turvy in the life of Praful and her family.
Apurva Asrani had a brilliant idea to highlight the addiction of ‘gambling’ with the uncommon but highly intriguing phenomenon of an individual from a well mannered, cultured, background going berserk in his/her addiction due to their hidden criminal mindset and unpredictable personality. They are not idiots, or criminals but powerless over their addiction forcing them to do things they are not supposed to do and hurt others. Commonly, we see alcoholics going out of control, SIMRAN shows how gambling can also ruin someone’s life.
Apurva Asrani laces it with occasional dark humour that works but only in bits and pieces. The best part about SIMRAN is Kangana Ranaut and her initial days at the Casino. ”I will find something sinful in this sin city” she quips before entering the jungle. Her interaction with the bartender is the most charming portion of the film. A baffling cross between straight forward and naive, Praful firmly stops her cute possession for the day in moving further in the act without a condom. ‘No protection no sex’ she says while asking the guy to zip up her sexy red dress. She then goes to the terrace with her glass and cherishes the moment. Cheers. SIMRAN knows what she wants but sadly, the movie doesn’t give her more profound strength the way QUEEN or TANU WEDS MANU (series) did.
The movie takes the risk of telling a story which normally we don’t see but those who know something about addiction can relate. The common audience may fail to generate the required empathy for SIMRAN and find her reactions unconvincing and illogical. The dialogues are fine but at times are in English, Gujarati and that too without subtitles. After a point, the movie turns into a show reel of Kangana for the common audience as the script fails to add more interesting, funny and entertaining moments for the audience in general.
Hansal Mehta’s direction is fine, the movie moves smoothly but is marred by a script that demands a better understanding of addiction and mood swings.
The uniform manner in which SIMRAN robs the banks becomes indigestible, so banks in America don’t have security? The modus operandi is similar, the ‘lipstick’ robber is in news but strangely, no measures are taken by banks and police.
Kangana Ranaut exudes infectious charm in a losing battle aka gamble. She is just terrific. Though she keeps on skipping the Gujarati accent at her will. Her performance as said earlier is the best part of SIMRAN.
Sohum Shah’s (Sameer) is okay. Hiten Kumar is good. Kishori Shahane is fantastic.
On technical front, Anuj Rakesh Dhawan’s cinematography is eye pleasing… Tiya Tejpal’s production design is fine. Antara Lahiri’s editing is passable. Production values are superb.
Sachin-Jigar’s music is quite routine.
As the idea behind the title of this film SIMRAN demands an extra dose of patience, tolerance and imagination, Hansal Mehta had an interesting badass women robber – the bombshell bandit to churn into an intriguing piece of cinema like his previous SHAHID and ALIGARH which were based on characters from real life but this time in order to turn a bit quirky it turned murky resulting in a lost bet.