Saturday, September 22, 2012


Is anyone surprised that the Kareena Kapoor magnum opus ‘Heroine’ is a disaster? I guess not. People have been hearing about the film for such a long time, since Aishwarya Rai Bachchan signed to do the film, and then walked out and so on. After a while, you stop caring. This is exactly what happened to ‘Heroine’. Over-exposure! This, and the fact that it’s a Madhur Bhandarkar film; you can sell an idea, a concept or a style only this much. ‘Corporate’ was perhaps the last good film Bhandarkar made. This, and the fact that we recently saw a similar rags-to-riches-to-rags story of an actress in ‘Dirty Picture’. This, and the fact that the promos of the film looked like a rehash of Bhandarkar’s earlier ‘Fashion’. This, and the fact that we have seen movies like this; two off-the-cuff example would be Shyam Benegal’s ‘Bhumika’ and Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Khoya Khoya Chand.’ But, ‘Heroine’ has more affinity with Aparna Sen’s Bangla film, ‘Iti Mrinalini’.

Anyway, while penning the film, critic, the acerbic Raja Sen imagines how the director may have convinced the ever-wonderful Kareena Kapoor to do the film... (Observe how every critic has only words of praise for the Kapoor girl.)

It isn't hard to picture just how Madhur Bhandarkar pitched this film to Kareena Kapoor, India's highest paid actress. (I naturally assume a script wasn't involved.) 'Kareenaji,' I speculate the director would have said, 'this film will make you Meryl Strip.'

'You mean Streep?' Kareena perhaps interjects.

'Yes, same only, just with more skin show. So we can show off not just how good an actress you are but also how tiptop your body is. We'll make you do everything, from playing insecure to bipolar to furious to arty. Matlab Kangana plus Priyanka, madam.'

At this point Kapoor, weary (as one gets) of all those hundred-crore moneyspinners that have featured her merely as arm-candy, sighs, and looks over above the fireplace in front of that Asian Paints emulsified wall. On the mantelpiece she spots a gap, a gap just large enough for a National Award. She smiles but hesitates. (She might have watched Jail, you see.)

The director lays out his trump card: 'The former number one heroine was to do it, but now it's you.'

Film as coronation, as it were, the ultimate endorsement. She giddily signs on, and Bhandarkar, armed with three years of Stardust back-issues, starts to write what we might as well call a script.

See what I did there?
The full review here.

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