Monday, 3 November 2008

Fashionably unreal

It's just my second week in Dubai, so the prospect of attending a premiere, reminiscent of my stint with the glitzy Mumbai world, was extremely exciting. So I dragged a friend along, promising a date with the stars! But the Fashion premiere on Wednesday night turned out to be anything but a big yawn!

Madhur Bhandarkar might have thought it fashionable to host a red carpet premiere in Dubai but he conveniently forgot to brief his glamorous ladies on red carpet etiquette. Surely Bhandarkar could have taught them a thing or two about making eye contact, smiling and posing for the cameras. The actresses, however, looked uncomfortable and were rushed into the hall by their hefty bodyguards. Their eyes remained fixated on the red carpet and only rarely shot glances at the crowd. In fact, they looked more terrified than happy to see that a crowd, however small, had actually turned up for their film. This should have been an indication on the fate of the film.

And it wasn't bad enough that we were subjected to their snobbery, we were also pushed around by two huge bodyguards, who refused us our seats! They behaved as if we were a 'threat' to the actors. But we, like good Indian women, gulped down the abuses and decided to give Bhandarkar's angels another chance. The actors, after their rude red carpet entry, had the audacity of faking a 'we-are-so-happy-to-see-you-all' act.

Anyway, we finally got to our seats and were hoping that the film would make up for all the bad vibes... but sadly, it didn't! Bhandarkar's take on the fashion world is stale, insipid, cliched and highly avoidable. If anything, he has excelled only in the trade of film marketing. The swanky photo shoots and crisp editing end with the promos, leaving the film with nothing else. For a man who claims to be a 'realistic' filmmaker this is a far cry from reality. It's depressing to see him waste a perfect canvas on nothing but cliches.

The film is the journey of a plain, small town girl Meghana (Priyanka Chopra), who becomes a famous model, but her flashy career comes crashing down after she makes a few silly moves. In fact, reality goes right out of the window, when the filmmaker categorises Chandigarh as a small town! Doesn't Bhandarkar know the difference between a big or small town? Also, Meghana's struggle doesn't seem like a struggle at all - she looks the same from start to end - her look, hair, walk and apart from a few tacky clothes, she's boringly constant. It's funny how Meghana starts off aiming to become a supermodel, but is shown craving to become a showstopper, as if that's all there is to achieve for in the fashion world.

This is a film of contradictions. Initially Meghana's father is upset about her decision to become a model, but when she returns home, broken and in dire need of psychiatric help, it's her dad who encourages her to go back. And why he would push his own blood back into the big, dirty world of fashion is anybody's guess. Also, when Priyanka walks out of a live-in relationship, she's doesn't shed a tear, but goes absolutely crazy when her affair with the sleazy, married fashion tycoon comes to an end.

Bhandarkar makes us believe that all models sleep around, all male designers and make-up artistes are gay, there is only one big daddy in the entire fashion industry, and if you cry shamlessly on the ramp you can easily become a super model!

The shoddy script and weak character sketches, leaves the actors with very little to chew on. Often you can spot the uneasiness on the actors face while they mouth the insipid dialogues. Also, there are far too many characters who walk in and out of the screen without no real story to tell.

Despite all the glaring flaws, Bhandarkar does attempt to be realistic, only with quick, fleeting instances of wardrobe malfunction and design thieves. He completely forgets to throw light on the industry -- about how hard the designers work on their collection, themes, choreographers, music and more importantly issues like anorexia and their much-talked about low IQ. His models and designers are stereostyped, suggesting that there aren't any with a few shades of grey.

And all this controversy about Kangana being unhappy about Priyanka hogging all the limelight is pointless as this is an all-out Priyanka film. The rest of the beauties have only a few minutes of glamour on screen. Of the performances, Kangana is the most striking. Priyanka in the lead was an obvious choice, considering her place in the industry, but she's done nothing to win our hearts. Kangana absolutely rocks. For a model, Mughda has done what they do best, walk the ramp! Arjan Baweja may consider himself the male lead in the film but he's in it for all of 20 minutes! Arbaaz Khan is average but Kitu Gidwani is a treat to watch.

Salim-Sulieman's music is catchy and fresh. But I fail to comprehend why they worked out only four tracks? The composers kill the magic by repeating the same tracks, each time with a different beat. Either they weren't paid well or they were pure lazy.

All in all, I think it's about time Bhandarkar did a complete reality check!

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