Coming from Hansal Mehta- director of films like Shahid and Aligarh- Simran is a letdown.
It is a tale of an NRI gujju hotel maid Praful Patel who is ambitious and impulsive. (I couldn’t but think of the former minister when I heard that name!) Praf- as she is called- is played by the effervescent Kangna Ranaut. Praf feels suffocated by her conservative Gujarati parents and has no qualms about breaking all the great Indian middle class family rules. Gambling, casual sex, boyfriends- nothing is taboo. No preachy moral tales for her. Her exasperated father wants her to settle down with a nice guy from Rajkot, while our heroine is keen to buy her own independent house. Things go wrong after a visit to Las Vegas. And the more she tries to settle issues, the more complicated they get. And she slips into a life of crime.
Kangna is a complete natural- playing the hotel maid or the rebellious daughter without make-up quite effortlessly. The transitions from the hotel maid scrubbing toilets, to the ordinary girl in shabby pyjamas at home, to the decked up prospective bride for the people coming to ‘see her’, to the stunner in a red dress in a casino, to the jeans and hoodie clad ‘lipstick bandit’ are remarkable. She is the only person who hogs the screen, which is a shame. In fact the guy who has come to ‘see’ her as a prospective partner- Sohum Shah- does a nice job of playing the good docile Indian boy. His role could have been etched a lot better.
To be fair to Kangna, I don’t think I felt bored during the film. But eventually you exit the cinema hall wondering why you spent these hours watching a meaningless film. The script isn’t tight enough and the music is insipid. The American cops and baddies are reduced to caricatures. There are occasional sparks of original dialogue, but otherwise nothing great. Watch the film to find out why a film about Praful Patel is called Simran instead. But wait for the movie to be aired on television instead of heading for the theatres.