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Heroine  : Bad old cinema
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Friday, September 21, 2012
Madhur Bhandarkar
Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutta
Heroine Movie Stills
You’ve seen her umpteen times before – the emotionally fragile, insecure actress showcased forever by Mahesh Bhatt (Arth), Vikram Bhatt (Ankahee, Raaz 3) and Milan Luthria (The Dirty Picture). And you’ve seen Madhur Bhandarkar’s formula a zillion times – the Fashion and Page 3 elements of giddy glamour, bedroom rivalry, claws out, nails sharpened. Add Bhandarkar’s favourite garnish of homosexuality, professional and emotional highs and lows, plenty of loose morals, zilch ethics, smoke, alcohol, substance abuse and zzzz, you’ve seen Heroine many times before.

The plot: Shattered superstar Mahie Arora (Kareena Kapoor) is on the streets, thrown out of a BMW. With eye makeup smudged and running, she totters into a police station to file a complaint when her secretary Rashidbhai (Govind Namdev) arrives to take her home. And you go into a predictable flashback of bipolar Mahie, the stereotypical heroine, starry tantrums, unpredictability and an affair with a married man, all intact. Below all that shallow negativity lies a very good heart of course. So sob with Mahie, please.

Her emotional outbursts are courtesy a broken home and when costar Aryan (Arjun Rampal looking gaunt and stiff) is once again a Mr Wrong in her life, Mahie goes off the rails. It’s a swift ride to the bottom but a shrink (Achint Kaur) and a hardboiled PR consultant (Divya Dutta) are around to break Mahie’s fall and help her find her feet again. She is soon back at the top when cricketer Angad (Randeep Hooda) hits a sixer by winning her heart. He’s sincere and ready for a commitment unlike Aryan who’d always evaded it. But Mahie, who’s now thriving on manipulations and cheap tricks to grab endorsements and films from rivals, keeps him hanging and she loses him too. You have it all here – depression, scandal, publicity stunts, popping of pills, plenty of smoke, liquor and scandal, even an MMS.

The bad: 148 mins long, a gay fashion designer, unprofessional bitchy journos, a persistently recurring shrink who bores, competitive actresses all with highly insecure emotions, easy morals, sex, scandal, dope, alcohol, smoke and an old has-been (Helen) preaching on life in cinema, add up to a string of unending clichés, making you feel you’re watching a bad re-run of many films put together.  One really wonders why a filmmaker and his cast would want to show their own industry in such a pathetic light.

Mahie’s character is befuddling and her unending lineup of mistakes makes it superficial, leaving the audience untouched. Mahie making the mistake of signing an arthouse film to prove that she is a substantial actress, is super elongated and cliché filled. Making it worse is Madhur’s fond homosexual angle, this time lesbianism.

It is like an old 60s movie. There is little connect with today’s super professional heroines as the weepy, emotional, self-destroying Meena Kumaris are relics of cinematic history. There is no justification for Mahie’s confusion when Angad proposes marriage, especially since that’s precisely what she was hankering after in her relationship with Aryan. Her mother (Lilette Dubey) has an insignificant part to play, it seems like it was a role written in a hurry. She comes in at her convenience and goes out without justification, leaving no impact on Mahie’s life or on the story.

Bhandarkar has tons of unrecognisable ‘sidey’s strewn all over who elicit no interest from the viewer. Casting the likes of Sanjay Suri as a superstar makes it further difficult to digest. The film’s predictability and reliance on content seen before, make it more irritating than interesting. Due to this, even the performances don’t shine. The two gays referring to each other as ‘bro’, unintentionally adds humour to the film since it’s so desperate to come off as cool.  

The good: Not much except maybe a cameo by Ranvir Shorey as an eccentric Bengali director. A few fringe performances by Shahana Goswami as Promita and Govind Namdev as the PA are acceptable.  Hulkat Jawani has got its listeners and Saiyan is a soothing track for which credit goes to Salim-Suleiman. Kareena looks gorgeous in the film, Manish Malhotra’s costumes are spot-on glamorous and she could have found favour with the male audience if it were not for the all-round mediocre performances.

Overall: Save your ticket money and your time this weekend for Bruce Willis.

Pooja Thakkar
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