Bollywood Queen Kangana Renaut plays a self destructive American divorcee with dark secrets in Hansal Mehta’s new drama.
By Alamgir Ahmed
Set in present day Atlanta, Simran is allegedly based on true events. The protagonist Praful (Kangana Ranaut) works as a hotel chambermaid but prefers to refer to herself as working in "hospitality in the hotel industry".
Divorced and aspiring to get on the property ladder she lives with her parents. As a typical Indian family they want their only daughter to marry a "good Gujarati boy", but Praful has other ideas, like getting her own house and living independently.
After an argument with her parents a spur of the moment decision makes her reconsider a bachelorette party to Las Vegas with her cousin Amber (Aneesha Joshi). As Amber conveniently bumps into her ex boyfriend Praful decides to wander and as she says, "sample the sins in Sin City".
She ends up playing Baccarat in a casino. Winning money allows her to buy those things she wanted to but couldn't. A second visit to the casino the next day results in Praful loosing money.
Drunk and disappointed she borrows money from a money lender leaving her social security details as a deposit. This is when the real trouble starts.
Now short of money for her mortgage to go through Praful finds that she has been rejected for her mortgage back in Atlanta. Upset and wanting to borrow money from her father she agrees to meet a potential groom on the premise that she will get money towards a deposit for her flat.
Unsure about MBA student Sameer (Sohum Shah), Praful dismisses the idea of an engagement until she bumps into him at Ambers wedding. Romance blossoms between the pair and soon Praful confesses that she likes gambling and stealing.
However, the extent of her habits reaches as far as robbing banks to pay back her creditors and being dubbed the ‘lipstick bandit’. This inevitably spells bad news for Parful's pending marriage.
Based on a true story this black comedy is a welcome departure from the modern Bollywood films of today. Here the story and characters are king. With only one picturised song and a cast not purely Indian, Simran proves heroine lead films can work, particularly if Kangana is at the helm. Her solid central performance as a troubled hedonist is worth the ticket price alone.
The only things that don’t do the film justice are the US accent used by Praful and the fact she manages to evade the police. Despite these shortcomings, Simran is a film genuinely worth seeing.