Queen Web Review: Tepid tribute to one of the most fearless leaders

Updated: Dec 19, 2019, 14:45 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Queen opens with an interview of the protagonist, Shakthi Sheshadri, harking back to Simi Garewal's famous interview with Jayalalithaa, thus setting the stage for the protagonist to walk the viewers through her life.

A still from Queen web series
A still from Queen web series

Queen
Director: Gautham Menon, Prasath Murugesan
Cast: Ramya Krishnan, Anjana Jayaprakash
Streaming on: MXPlayer
Rating: Rating

There's an alluring quality to a woman as charismatic as the late J Jayalalithaa. Marked with crests and troughs, her journey — which she described as "tempestuous" in an interview — lends itself effortlessly to an on-screen rendition. It is, therefore, unpardonable that directors Gautham Menon and Prasath Murugesan deliver a snooze fest in Queen, which cannot be saved by leading lady Ramya Krishnan's unflinching performance. The problem perhaps lies in the linear structure of the narrative, and not the material itself.

The series opens with an interview of the protagonist, Shakthi Sheshadri, harking back to Simi Garewal's famous interview with Jayalalithaa, thus setting the stage for the protagonist to walk the viewers through her life. Shakthi is introduced to us as a brilliant student who seeks refuge from her troubled family life in studies. What weakens the tempo is banking heavily on child actor Anikha Surendran, who plays the young Shakthi, for two episodes. She soon passes the baton to Anjana Jayaprakash who has the desired screen presence as well.

But foolishly, the better actor is under-utilised for the first seven episodes as the makers waste time on fleshing out her backstory.

Watch the trailer of Ramya Krishnan, Anjana Jayaprakash starrer Queen here:

The story focusses on her mommy issues, to being ill-treated by friends and lovers, harping constantly on her loneliness. It eventually starts feeling insipid as you see the plot points coming from a distance. In her chat with Garewal, the leader had denied having a romantic equation with mentor MGR, but the series (where he is lazily rechristened GMR) paints an intimate portrait of the two and their torrid affair.

Of the few plus points, the makers have commendably brought out the inherent gender disparity prevalent in showbiz and have not shied from representing the murkiness of politics. But Queen takes its muse too lightly to make an impact. It's a half-baked job that doesn't lack in sincerity, but it does in finesse. Guess we will have to wait to see if Kangana Ranaut's Thalaivi gives a fitting homage to one of India's most fearless women.

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