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Heroine – Yet Another Blunder-Kar [Review]

Heroine-Kareena Kapoor

To borrow one of the dialogues from Heroine, Madhur Bhandarkar, over the years, has become a brand in Bollywood, albeit a fading one. His movies, often serving as an outsider’s look into the world of socialites, corporates, fashionistas and roadside beggars, have been praised, discussed, criticised, and laughed upon too. With his latest offering – Heroine, he takes us on a ride into the world of super stardom – the dirty picture of the price of fame. Sounds familiar? There is an overwhelming feeling of deja vú throughout the movie, of scenes from Bhandarkar’s previous works. And at this point, the shock value has worn out, and the novelty of moral code speeches just gets reduced to a display of the sloppiness and lack of originality of the director. Heroine almost feels like a continuation of Fashion (which seemed like a continuation of Page 3), and in not a trilogy kinda way, but in a rehashed shit kinda way.

There’s a few points I’d like to discuss, which are quite spoiler-ific. And hence, they are tucked away safely after the jump. If you’re after the star ratings, just skip to the end bit.

1. To start with the good one – the lead star, Kareena Kapoor, quite literally, acts her face off. And it is in scenes when her make-up has given way to the ugly and demented Maahi Arora, when she is most believable. Kareena shows off her range as an actress, playing an exaggerated version of herself (or one of her peers), who is obsessive, distressed, insecure and bipolar (we’re often reminded of that). Even when she’s at her most arrogant and impulsively reckless, you want to see what she’d do next. It is difficult to root for such a grey character, but Kareena makes it work somehow. Not a lot of actresses can pull off this. And I’m even imagining if Aishwarya Rai (who was cast originally for the lead) could’ve done it better. Probably not.

2. Randeep Hooda as Angad Paul, the suave Vice Captain of Indian Cricket Team is the most believable of the male leads. He’s a stud and he knows it. In contrast, every other male in the movie – from the bully Sanjay Suri, to the sleepwalking Arjun Rampal, is just mediocre at best. Even Ranbir Shorey portraying a stereotypical art-house Bong director Tapan Basu is hilarious for all the wrong reasons.

3. And what Bhandarkar movie would be complete without the gays. There’s plenty of them. Some serve as designers, and some as “facilitators”, and all gays have limp wrists without fail as a sure sign of their sexual orientation. This is the Bhandarkar universe, where logic is fucked in the eye. Picture this – Mugdha Godse’s character asks her gay mate to sleep with the bisexual head honcho to help her score an endorsement deal. How does that even work? Did the friend just offer terms and condition pre, during or post coitus? And hang on, he was sleeping with the man, for his friend. That’s some selfless shit right there.

Why doesn’t Bhandarkar call his next movie GAY and wrap up everything there is about showbiz and fame and all that in that single movie, and just get over it, and move on?

4. And Bhandarkar also can’t live without those insignificantly hovering side characters with terrible acting skills, filling dialogues to spoon feed us with the details. Bhandarkar probably gets some sort of sexual gratification from spoon feeding. There is no other way to explain why he’d do it, movie after movie after movie.

5. Shahana Goswami gives Vidya Balan’s cleavage a run for “their” money. And oh, being gay in Bhandarkar universe is supposedly evil, and naughty. They had some ecstacy after all, and the morning after, they feel guilty about it. These are characters who’ve had 17+ boyfriends so far.

6. Lilette Dubey – so wasted!

7. The only thing rewarding about watching a Bhandarkar flick is when you play the “spot the real one”. Yes, Bhandarkar refers to heroine rivalries, and how they try to beat each other in grabbing the movie game. Then there’s the alcoholic heroine who falls in love for a married guy, sex tapes leaked, Southern remakes, Item numbers, casting couch, volatile parties, and even more volatile paparazzi. The paparazzi in Bhandarkar movies often seem like a fleet of scavengers everready to throb down their logo-loaded microphones down your throat. But thinking about it, is that really what came out of a proper research, or just a few random tabloid headlines from the last few years? Now if they were to show some SRK-Shirish Kunder kinda action, or Salman vs Vivek kinda action, and the lead somehow caught in the crossfire – that’d have been more exciting than a lazy reference to the 100 Cr club.

8. To conclude, I’d say Heroine is a confusing movie that moves from one scene to another with no sense of an overall story arc. But not as confusing as the female lead Maahi, who gulps down glasses of whisky, but prefers Red Wine, and yet her favourite drink is Vodka with coconut water? She remembers to put on her eye-liners so that she looks like a total trainwreck when she cries her eyes out; your stereotypical Drama Queen. Maybe that’d have been a better movie title.

And by the time Heroine climaxes (as in the movie ;P ), it gives birth to the title of an upcoming Vivek Oberoi movie – KLPD. Who knew even with a Kareena item number Halkat Jawani, we would be left underwhelmed, bored, and mostly disappointed. Madhur Blunder-kar lives up to his name after all.

RATING: 2 JAWANIS out of 5

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  1. yeah you hit on quite a few points about how Bandar-car creates stereotypical characters with little to no nuance. I find this approach tedious and haven’t really liked any of his movies since Chandni Bar or Page 3. Although I would have to revisit them to see if they stand up the test of time but since his movies make his so called Strong female characters go through hell, they arent really pleasure to watch.
    I had had no hope for Heroine and felt i could guess the narrative arc without ever having seen the movie, I do think Aishwarya would have been able to do something different with the movie as they probably made quite a few changes for Bebo.

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