Monday, November 03, 2008


It was Page 3 revisited sans the powerhouse performance and the punches packed in. Nothing special in this 'trying to be gritty' tale about how a Chandigarh di Kudi becomes a diva and after seeing the 'highs' falls hard to the lows - and how!

The movie does start off earnestly albeit in a cliched manner with Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) leaving her house in small-time Chandigarh to make it big in the City of Dreams - Bombay. Her efforts are sincere - and some cleverly attended parties brings her straight into the company of the Fashion World's high fliers. Her confidence and attitude sees her through the 'struggle period' with charming ease. Her morals are held high and all's well for the damsel. One questionable comment about her morality by a leading designer and she walks away from her first big break! But surprise, surprise - a silent Mr. Sarin (Arbaaz Khan) of the leading designer brand (Panache, nice name - I thought) ropes her right in as their ambassador, terminating Shonali's (Kangana) contract for no apparent reason. Within no time we see Meghna walking the ramps being the show stoppers for most fashion shows littering Bombay. Her attitude builds up and thus slowly, very slowly begins her downfall. Starting from her break-off with her live-in boy-friend right to her going into depression.

Throw in Priyanka sleeping around with a black guy, a whole lot of homo-sexuals, drugs-drinks-smokes and a slip-down on a ramp walk... that is what the movie is all about. The plot on its own is decent enough and lays down a decently wide canvas for the director to paint in. Where Madhur falters, I thought, though is on two counts - there is nothing new shown in this movie. And at nearly 3 hours it is simply too long. The dialogues in the pretext of reality cinema are banal. The screenplayis nothing to talk home about. Music by the talented duo Salim-Suleiman is reminiscent of Page 3 - so are the characters, so are the actors, the scenes, the treatment. Heck, everything.

On the performance front, except for Priyanka and a little bit of Kangana here and there, there is none too much on display. Priyanka gives her best performance till date. Not to say she was brilliant or anything throughout - but let us just say, the rest of her performances till date have been nothing special. As long as Kangana keeps her mouth shut and has to act stoned - she is fine. In fact she meanders in that margin where you might think she might give in a brilliant moment but the director spoils it all by giving her a dialogue or two. (Note: Swearing, especially in English, by all Bollywood actors seems so contrived and unconvincing.) Anyway, one scene warrants special mention. The first time Kangana is shown walking the ramp - she looks all high and disinterested when she has to walk in. Then she takes the 10-odd steps that leads her to the ramp and the camera is right at her face as she takes the turn. Watch her expression change ever so lightly at every step and from being a drunken-little thing backstage she takes her first step on the ramp as if she owns the stage. She walks the ramp and jaws drop. The music in the background that rises to a crescendo is subdued by the mere walk Kangana possesses. That moment - I liked! Priyanka looks a kid - every step an amateur on the ramp.To give her due credit - it suits her image of being a small-town girl and all that. But her walk looks unnatural even during her last supposedly emotional ramp and that looks stupid. Anyway.

As for the director - he is trying to outdo himself and that is apparent. Why - one couldn't fathom. He is doing fine with his relaity bytes cinema - but to merely take a framework and apply it to different scenarios is appalling.You got to treat the subject differently. Show different shades. The protagonist undergoes a character change and that is shown quite well - but it lacks depth at every scene. That - maybe is limitation of the actor, rather than the sketch itself. However, the end result is poor. Humor is pathetic at best. Where he scores is despite the topic - you could watch it with the family. It is glamorous alright, but never vulgar. The fashion world that Madhur has created never looks pretentious. All's fine except the way he has executed. He wants to make a movie rather than tell a story. He takes extreme moral stands and that is probably because that is the way Indian audiences work.

At the end of it all - it doesn't look like the work of a 3 time national award winner. Fashion - lacks the passion.


Daneshia said...

Liked ur review :)
framework --> :-)

Abinav Kumar said...

[:)] chk the book review ...