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Upperstall Review




Hindi, Drama, 2012, Color

The spotlight followed her, the camera loved her, the paparazzi couldn't get enough of her. Mahi Arora (Kareena Kapoor) was a superstar - in every sense of the word. This is what the world would have you believe about her. Unfortunately, Mahi's inner world was in direct contrast to her outer life. Prone to intense mood swings, in fact secretly bipolar, insecure, unsure and very lonely, Mahi's only source of happiness is love, her insane, all pervasive, all consuming love for the reigning superstar who hadn't quite committed to her. While all her contemporaries are busy strategizing career moves, endorsements, 'alliances' and even marriages; Mahi, unmindful of her career is only focused on somehow getting her love requited and in her attempt to do that begins a journey spiraling downwards. This quest for love starts taking her to disastrous depths all the way to a point where Mahi is forced to risk everything she had. Her career, her sanity and her life all at once go through a spinning twist...

A woman named Mahi is thrown out onto the street from a car, in the middle of the night. Mascara running, a complete wreck, she screams at the car as it zooms off, "You Bastard!" Then she proceeds to munch on a cigarette, light up and walk into a cop station. This woman is a heroine, not an actress, mind you. And she isn't Kangna Ranaut. Yet.

This is how Madhur Sir's latest desi episode of Wikileaks begins. The ultimate whistle blower of all that is sensational and sleazy, Heroine is Bhandarkar's latest offering to a world that he seems to assume is Middle Earth. With this film, he only confirms that other than his 'comedy' Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji, he has been using the NG takes of each of the others, starting from Page 3 to Fashion, and pasting a new lead actress's face using tacky CGI, to present to us new behind-the-scenes productions.

If you are still reading, just like we sat through 3 hours of Fashion 1.5, you could look at this review of Fashion instead for an attempt to analyze what goes on in Bhandarkar's no-holds-barred world of amateur art design, terrible supporting casts, anti-screenplays and classless digs at fields he has lesser knowledge about than a teen beauty contestant would.

Small town girl. Troubled past. Meta worlds within worlds (actress, heroine, model, supermodel). Rise. Affair. Fall. Cigarette smoking=loose character. Downing whisky=downward spiral. "You Bastard!". Needy="I need you". Revenge=leak mms, sleep with racial stereotype. Hit the top. Fall again. "You bastard!". Sob, cry, almost die. Live. Watch 'friend' die instead. Sober up. Finish in white salwar kameez. And what could be behind the red door, folks?!

Stunningly, there are 3 writers behind this latest exercise in student filmmaking gone wrong when all they could have done was stick with Kangaa's accent post Fashion and still come up with something more original. Kareena Kapoor (cousin of Ranbir Kapoor, the 'hero' of Barfi!, another UTV production) does her best to outdo her intense Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon performance, and succeeds, especially when she whips out a cigarette and a glass of whisky at the drop of a hat, and still manages to look unconvincing despite being from the 'khaata-peeta' Kapoor khandaan. Down the years, when she watches this with her children and says this is her Walk The Line or Amadeus, the joke will still be lost on her.

Heroine is an existential exercise in self-mocking, with Bhadarkar himself not being in on the irony of it all. If he was even remotely aware that the pompous take on an idealistic low-budget director played smugly by Ranvir Shorey (Bengali, but of course) mirrors his own conscience, this film would have been called Actress.

The moment of the film comes when two half-empty wine glasses (red, mind you) are shown in the foreground with Kareena walking into a room with the allegedly bisexual Shahana Goswami. Needless to say, a lot of males in the hall clapped.

Also, Divya Dutta could kiss her subtle career goodbye with the line of the year, "Main koi normal PR person nahin hoon (I'm not just any normal PR person). I build brands." Then there's Rampal sleepwalking through a role based on a 'famous superstar', and he tries his best to exercise his facial muscles while driving a static car, on set, with Kareena and her red nose screaming into his ear. There's also a bisexual male actor couple who spout cool words like "bro" and "shits" in a Lokhandwala accent.

Tacky does not even begin to describe the production value on this film based on films based on movies based on Bollywood, and if Bhandarkar's team hasn't already realized the sheer worthlessness of working on the same project over and over again, they might end up as the secondary cast in his next.

In Twitterati terms (his next topic, I'm guessing), Bhandarkar's cinematic take on every industry he thinks he has exposed so far is nothing but a long-winding, badly-worded, naive and grammatically incorrect #slytweet.

Rahul Desai aka Reel Reptile

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