Monday, January 26, 2009

Fa(shun)

Warning: Spoilers ahead. But I hardly think it matters. This one is beyond repair.

Every now and then, it's entertaining, and possibly necessary, to diligently keep track of Bollywood's actions. When a director who has created some well-made movies on offbeat topics in the past, the reason become even more apparent. But this time, that doesn't seem to hold true.

Madhur Bhandarkar made Chandini Bar. Tabu was at her best and it made the viewer belive that the acting prowess may have had a lot to do with the flawless direction. Traffic Signal though not as widely received was a good film too. How else would it be possible to see the thriving commercial system behind three green lights? Corporate also wasn't Bhandarkar's finest moment but it passed. Like Aamir Khan, it's an unfair standard. But the audience continues to judge against the best, in this case - Chandini Bar. They expect every movie to be as perfect.

That's possibly why Fashion fails miserably. The intention is good. But it doesn't deliver. Middle-class girl wants to be a model. Excuse me, super model. She heads to Mumbai against her father's wishes to make it in the big bad world. What follows is a whirlwind rise to stardom (this happens after a designer fires her from his show. I had no idea it was possible to become the face of a leading fashion house when you can't hold down one assignment. The Indian glamour world is just full of surprises), an expected foray into drinking and all things that good Indian girls should never even think of and the ineveitable downward spiral closely preceded by hard drugs and one-night stands.

I don't claim to know anything about the fashion industry. But correct me if I'm worng to believe that this isn't the path all struggling starlets need to take? The over-the-top elements just push the film over the edge. Kangana Ranaut is the "show stopper" (who uses these terms?!) until she's replaced by protagonist Meghana Mathur (Priyanka Chopra). The shock is too much to handle and Ranaut embarks on a self-destructive spree involving cocaine and booze to numb the pain. She finally becomes mad (yes, mad) and is found at some city station with a very bad hair day where it's believed that she hasn't spoken to anyone in two days. In some parts of the world, that's called PMS.

And what is with Ranaut's English? If she can't speak it, don't make her!

Like I said, the intention was noble. Sadly, it's packaged terribly. Nothing makes an audience see red than an insult to their intelligence. Middle-class families are not found only in Chandigarh. And there's nothing more nauseating than watching the lead character go crying home to mommy and daddy after she finds out that the world is a scary place full of bogey men and scary monsters under the bed. Especially when she's treated them like dirty dish rags the entire time. Chopra begins to rehabilitate Ranaut because it does her good? Spare us the Mother Teresa routine. It got stale back when Chopra decided to draw inspiration from the deceased saint when asked which living person she most admired in the 2000 Miss World pageant.

Sorry Mr. Bhandarkar. You just fell a couple of notches from grace. It's going to be a long climb back.

1 comment:

Babushka said...

Apparently Kangana's character played the model who was actually found clueless about her whereabouts and also her bad hair day. She goes by the name Gitanjali, if I'm not mistaken.

I haven't seen the movie and don't intend to. But this is something I think sprung up from somewhere within when I read those lines.

That said, hope better movies come along your way!