Friday 21 September 2012

Superficial and Fake

Film: Heroine
Producer:  Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Sanjay Suri.
Genre: Drama
Ratings: Disappointing
by Bhawana Somaaya

Set against the backdrop of show business, the film tells the story of superstar Mahi Arora and her battle to sustain her fading career and relationships. 
What works about the film?
Everything off the screen – The hype and the aggressive pre-release promotions, the innumerable endorsements, the various controversies related to the film and leading lady Kareena Kapoor’s personal life specifically, her impending marriage. 
What does not work?
Everything on the screen – All the characters are caricatures and their interpersonal relationships, fake. The screenplay is a cluster of scenes and devoid of any complexities or insights. The film is apparently borrowed from personal lives of many actresses but not a single moment rings true! It is too long – 2 hours 30 minutes and presents an exaggerated, cynical image of cinema world where everyone you are introduced to is ruthless be it the scheming producer, submissive director, abusive hero, unethical journalist, ambitious starlet, manipulative PR machinery and invasive electronic media.
All would have been forgiven if the performances were sparkling and there was ample opportunity for the supporting cast to shine but none, except Shahana Goswami and Divya Datta make an impact. Arjun Rampal is effective in parts but the biggest let down is Kareena Kapoor. Galloping through an incoherent script that fails to define stages and phases in the actor’s career, Kareena plays Mahi Arora on an even keel without any dramatic fluctuations. We don’t know how old she is and for all that she goes through, she is well preserved without any signs of ravage or degradation.
There are few spunky moments when she comes alive like when she lashes at the media in a press conference or when she is mechanical in conversation with her mother but besides that, Mahi leaves you cold and untouched!
What is upsetting about the film?
It is an unrealistic, exaggerated, negative and irresponsible projection of the film world. For a filmmaker who has made an identity of setting his characters in various professions and exploring their worlds, Madhur Bhandarkar goes completely off the mark about his own world. There is no layering in the characters or the ambience, no efforts to portray them as people.
The film will grant a good opening but the audience will see through the dishonest packaging. Alcohol, abuse, brothel, broken homes, cigarettes, drugs, item number, police, politician, homosexuality, sex, skin show and swear words don’t guarantee hits and particularly when everything is projected for sensation!

The review appears as it is in Blockbuster, a newly launched trade magazine.
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