Review: Heroine. 2012

I haven’t watched too many movies of Madhur Bhandarkar. His credits include, Chandni Bar, Page 3, Fashion, Corporate, Jail etc. He is most known for getting his actresses the coveted National award (Tabu, Priyanka Chopra, Kangna Ranaut). And his tryst with the law courtesy of a small time actress who filed a case against him for rape.

Heroine is like reading the back issues of Stardust (as mentioned in the Rediff review that trashes the movie). It is a story that touches on the gory side of film making. Capturing the gory side of things, their underbelly of politics seems like a favorite pastime of Madhur Bhandarkar. Cases in point, Chandni Bar, Fashion, Corporate etc. Heroine is a heaven sent movie for people who religiously read the Bollywood section of Mid Day Mumbai.

Sure, it’s gossipy, trashy (some scenes are downright titillating) but I found a thread of honesty here. And frankly I probably liked this movie better after having watched the breezy to the point of non-existence ‘Barfee’.

This is a terrifically woman centric movie. Your sympathies are always with the lead actress. The men come and go. But you know who the hero, rather the heroine is.

I have always complained about Kareena Kapoor on this blog. Her choice of movies (Ra One, Bodyguard etc) and her waxing and waning presence on screen. With this role, I am satisfied (ha ha). She completely holds the thread of the character. Makes one realize that she has amazing potential, but is probably let down by the script/directors everytime. In this movie she comes into her own. I can see why she would do this movie, a full screen time is probably hard to come by. I am also extremely grateful to the Gods for Aishwarya Rai not being in the movie. I am not a complete hater but still she almost always manages to brutally murder every role in every movie bar a few. Kareena Kapoor however manages to bring in a certain Chutzpah, certain strength and a certain vulnerability to her character which is very nice to watch. Apart from the fact that she looks gorgeous, especially in her scenes with minimal make up and often dark circles under her eyes.

I am yet to watch a movie where women smoke as much as they do in this movie and never get morally beaten down with imaginary sticks. It is commonplace and treated as such.

I have a feeling the older women will appreciate this movie much more. Why? Because they probably have faced many situations in society with men as the main players and with similarly inherent politics of society.

The comparisons are many, who is who in this movie. And during the entire movie one is second guessing the identities of the actors in real life. This is of primary importance in a Madhur Bhandarkar movie, where he gives a behind the scene picture of the current things in vogue. Fashion, movies, the high flying corporate lives. For a middle class family sitting in an obscure town, this is heavy information. A cinematic tabloid perhaps filled with sensationalism. Stories about their favorite actors and their lives. Of course this movie could have gone deeper, probed harder and definitely given more thought to the aesthetics. But this has to be understood about Madhur Bhandarkar films, he isn’t an auteur, he is a smart guy who is able to get his movies done, even managing to secure national awards in the process.

His movie making sensibilities are minimal, never rising above the story in hand and often rely heavily on sensationalism. But he is true to his sensibilities, and has very few pretensions. This was refreshing in the movie, a lack of pretension. Almost always his movies are dialogue and story driven. To the point that his casting of character actors is often touch and go, bending towards caricature.

You don’t come out of the movie with your picture of actresses, the movie industry changed. You don’t come out with new empathy towards the industry but emerge with your suspicions confirmed. And this is probably the same with all his movies. He goes in with popular perceptions and solidifies them thoroughly through the movie.

However like I said, I liked this better than a Barfee, a Kahani even. Because it is pretentionless and honest to a point with its intentions and is generally an engrossing tale. Even if it only confirms your worst fears about the movie industry. After the release of ‘The Dirty Picture’ one often heard of the life of Silk Smitha was romanticized. Here there is no romanticizing of anything.

Hmm interesting.

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