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Movie Review
Rating :
Hero :
Arjun Rampal
Heroine :
Kareena Kapoor
Other Cast :
Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutt
Director :
Madhur Bhandarkar
Music Director :
Producer :
Madhur Bhandarkar, Ronnie Screwwala
Release Date :
Nothing was unexpected. The flavor, the nature and the fate of the movie was predecided. Just looking at the trailer of Heroine, one could say that Madhur Bhandarkar was desperately trying to recreate the magic of Fashion. However this time, he failed miserably.

A Madhur Bhandarkar film has the same allure as a juicy tabloid or some particularly nasty gossip. Bhandarkar is a proudly pedestrian director. His movies are voyeuristic, sensational, sleazy. But invariably, the narrative includes a strong conservative streak so viewers can leer and still feel morally superior. Heroine is Bhandarkar’s great Bollywood exposé however a boringly repeated one.
It’s supposed to be our window into the muck, the Machiavellian politics and the Faustian bargains that a life in the limelight necessarily entails. This seemed, to me at least, like a perfect fit of maker and material.

After all, what better subject for steamy scandal than the life of an actress? But sadly, Heroine never rises to the occasion. Bhandarkar and his team of co-writers – Anuradha Tiwari, Manoj Tyagi and Niranjan Iyengar – bung in every possible element of masala. There’s alcohol, affairs, a sex tape and even – gasp – a lesbian one-night stand. But Heroine doesn’t even deliver the frisson of a good Stardust story. It’s limp and, more incredibly, boring.

The film opens with genuine promise, but very quickly collapses into a heap of lazy stereotypes. Sadly, the film offers no original insight into the minds of movie stars or the inner workings of the Mumbai film industry – this is a movie that might well have been made by an avid reader of gossip rags; it hardly feels like the work of an experienced filmmaker. At least with Page 3, Corporate and Fashion, Bhandarkar cast an outsider’s eye on different worlds. What’s his excuse for doing such a sloppy job on an industry he belongs to?

It remains a string of drab cliches, despite a strong performance from leading lady Kareena Kapoor. Let me count the ways. The small town girl who comes to Bollywood and becomes a star (Kapoor). The commitment phobic male star (Rampal). The incessant search for love. The deep insecurities. The petty jealousies. The unscrupulous rival (Godse).The possessive star wives. The all-powerful hero (Suri). The vulnerable heroine. Wait, did I leave anything out? The famous cricketer who likes hanging out with filmstars (Hooda). The gay designer. The faithful secretary (Namdeo). The vulture-like media. The shrewish public relations type (Dutta). The bitchy celebrity hack. The swinging-both-ways promiscuity. The eccentric small-budget filmmaker (Shorey), and arty actress (Goswami). The neglected older star (Helen). And more.

Of the cast, Randeep Hooda keeps it real as the charming cricketer who falls for Mahi, while Arjun Rampal seems ill-equipped to tackle the role of her mercurial lover. Divya Dutta is convincing as the manipulative PR consultant who’s available to discuss strategy with her client even when she’s in the middle of a bedroom romp. But it’s poor Kareena Kapoor who gets a pretty raw deal in this disappointing film. Mahi isn’t exactly a likeable character, yet Kareena plays the part with utmost sincerity. Matching the film’s over-the-top sensibilities with a deliciously camp performance, she’s the only reason this film is watchable.

At one point in Heroine, a character asks: Iss glamour industry mein kaun fraud nahin hota. This film certainly is one.
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