Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Fashion — clichéd, but watch it for Priyanka
Fashion is suddenly a huge part of our lives. Models, fashion shows, haute couture, prêt and wardrobe malfunctions are dominating news headlines and beauty contests are springing up even in small towns across India.
That is why Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Fashion”, which makes an attempt to take a long hard look at the world of fashion, with its pressures and pitfalls, is a topical film.
Priyanka Chopra plays the part many girls must be living out at this very moment — a small-town girl who wants to make it big as a model. She rebels against her parents and comes to Mumbai.
She makes the rounds of auditions, parties and photographers, gradually realising the fashion world was not as glamorous as she imagined.
But her ambition is far too strong to let her take notice of these minor glitches. She is determined to make it big. Along the way, she makes friends with Rohit, a designer’s assistant and Janet (Mughda Godse), a small-time model.
She also falls in love with Manav (Arjan Bawa), a fellow struggling model, but the relationship can’t stand the pressures of their careers. Her big moment comes when she catches the eye of Abhijeet Sarin, the owner of a big fashion brand. She moves to the top league but loses out on friends along the way.
Director Bhandarkar has his intentions in the right place and from the first few frames, I thought I’d get to see a hard hitting, no holds barred look at the world of fashion. What I did get though was a whole lot of clichés and a predictable storyline. Bhandarkar includes a whole lot of subplots, introduces a whole lot of characters, but unfortunately, tells us nothing new.
There is the mandatory gay designer (Sameer Soni), the model taking drugs (Kangna Ranaut), the socialites, the businessmen, the front row elite, the photographers — but the film just seems to skim the surface. There is none of the impact that Bhandarkar’s films “Chandni Bar” and “Page 3” had.
How I wish Bhandarkar had given us a glimpse of the mind of a model — the pressure to look good, the crazy working hours, and the politics, rather than just telling us it exists. I wish he had made a much more honest film, merely because Priyanka Chopra deserved one.
As Meghna Mathur, the protagonist, she is at once innocent, ambitious, in love, angry, jealous, arrogant, and defeated — delivering each emotion with such intensity you feel for her at all times.
This performance has awards written all over it. I wish it had been backed by a more rounded script — that would have been the icing on the cake.
As for Kangna Ranaut — she plays the violent, schizophrenic Shonali Gujral to the hilt — but what is it with her and crazy, suicidal roles? I’d like to see her in a “nice” film for a change, in which no knives or drugs are involved.
The rest of the cast is competent enough, except for Arbaaz Khan as Abhijeet Sarin, who has one single expression throughout. Watch “Fashion” for Priyanka Chopra, otherwise, this one has nothing new to offer.