Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fashion Movie review - The coming of age of Madhur Bhandarkar - Director

More about my opinion on Madhur Bhandarkar's earlier films here. But in come Fashion, and all that has changed.

Fashion is a story of a few models in the tinsel town of Mumbai. It is about a young and aspiring model who becomes a super star. And while becoming so successful, allows the success to go to her head. She stops respecting others, valuing relationships and starts engaging in smoking, drugs, affairs and arrogance. Once these poisons start creeping in her head, she falls down from the riches to the rags in a matter of a few days.

Its a drug episode that makes her realize that she is blowing her life away. She goes back to her grass roots, wins back some of her old & lost relations and values. And then starts another journey to rise in the Fashion world. Here she is helped and supported by the very same friends who she had be-friended once she was on the top. But now, she regrets her acts in front of all of them, and they all accept her sincere apologies. While doing so, she helps an ex-competitor revive her own wavering life and that's how - she gains a whole lot of the forgotten confidence.

Overall, I loved the acting of Mugdha Godse, Kangana Ranaut, Samir Soni, Ashwin Mushran, Arjan Baweja, Priyanka Chopra. The characters are mapped excellently to the actors. The story is the other strength of the movie - even though, it has been stretched a bit at the end. I thought the background scores were average but could have been better. And the music is almost forgettable. The screenplay, editing and cinematography are quite amazing. The Fashion Shows - which account for almost 5-10% of the movie timing, are very well shot and a treat to watch. Kangana Ranaut is simply perfect in the supermodel role - her steps on the ramp being quite remarkable. And Mugdha Godse is the surprise package - she has acted wonderfully well on debut.

Most importantly, the movie is not an over the top like other Madhur Bhandarkar films. It has a believable story. And very important messages - that you cannot let success go to your head. And that if you have the will power, you can come back from the pits to rise to your older heights. And the values of friends and relatives.

I guess the movie will be a bigger hit than all the previous films of this director. And I hope that he makes more such movies in the future. Suddenly, there is one more director to watch out for - a welcome addition to my favourites-list :-) Way to go Madhur, your talent has acquired a newer dimension.

- Ashutosh

My opinion of Madhur Bhandarkar's films before Fashion

Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal. These are some of the most talked movies of the last decades. And for a reason. They are all directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. In all his films, the director has been taking up relatively new, bold and un-comfortable issues in our society. There is no doubt that this guy had creativity and talent. And the courage to speak on such rare topics. And he must be appreciated for that.

However, I (and many others) thought that there was a same-ness to all his movies so far. That some of the things that he portrayed were blown out of proportion. And sometimes, they were too sadist. Those movies somehow made an impression in my mind that this fellow is trying to project a wrong story by showing too many characters doing far too many wrongs. For example - after Page 3, one got a feeling that almost everybody involved in journalism/bollywood had some or the other dark side to him/her. And in Traffic Signal, it was portrayed as if every homeless at the signal was harrassed and every signal was manipulated by the system, At times, I would call him guilty of trying to showcase too many issues - homesexuality, polygamy, pedophiles, drugs and so on.

However the effect that this had on youth was immense. A lot of people that I used to speak to, had comments like: "Dude, you have got to see the movie Traffic Signal, he has shown the REAL story of the poor!". Somehow, this guy made almost the entire youth believe his stories although they were mostly over-exaggerated. It was almost as if he used all the odd topics only to create cheap publicity and add spice to the story. So that it could sell more. And so did he succeed in doing. This was the main reason why I did not like any of his movies so far.

But in come Fashion, and all that has changed. More in the next write-up.

- Ashutosh