Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Divya Dutta, Govind Namdeo, Lilette Dubey
Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar
Welcome to the cesspool of enchantment or ‘glamour ka daldal’ as director Madhur Bhandarkar would like to articulate. Films about people behind the films tend to get preachy as filmmakers believe they know more about their own kind than anyone else. And in this case, the misplaced confidence ensures that the research department is sacked and most dialogues begin with ‘Humaari industry mein’… and end with ‘manipulate karo ya ho jao’, ‘zip aur zabaan sambhalke kholna chahiye’, ‘confidence se bolo toh jhooth ko bhi sach maana jaata hain’, ‘heroines ka waqt bohot kam hota hain’ and everything else in between. Basically, Bhandarkar likes to spell it out like the backbenchers aren’t paying attention.
The naughty kahaani being narrated here is that of Bollywood’s most wanted actress Mahi Arora (Kareena Kapoor). She may be conquering new heights with every film but in her personal life, she’s reduced to having an affair with a married actor, Aryan Khanna (Arjun Rampal). “Aaj pack-up ke baad main tumhare ghar aa raha hoon,” he tells her. And they do it like birds, bees and educated fleas. But like someone said in this film, ‘Mahi success ki duniya mein sachchai dhoondhti thi’ and since that was something that couldn’t be found, much distress follows. Aryan uses a ‘Humein ek break lena chahiye’ and calls it a wrap and Mahi is left popping prescription drugs (which will soon earn an onscreen statutory warning given their growing popularity). Two new characters are introduced: Cocky cricketer Angad Paul (Randeep Hooda) who wins Mahi over with his best line, “Main bhi moved on hi hoon,” and a self-confessed smarter-than-the-average-PR person, Pallavi (Divya Dutta). The latter injects confidence into Mahi by making her a TV commercial queen and by ensuring her shades cover atleast 30% of her face.
Finding it difficult to imagine her doing all this without spilling it? Browse through this slideshow to learn just how to:
But this film can’t end before Mahi learns her lesson for wanting it all. So her career takes a dive and we learn that heaven can’t protect a working girl after all. Another set of characters surface: She learns the ropes of real acting from appropriately ungroomed Bengali Indie filmmaker Tapan Guha (Ranvir Shorey) and explores her sexuality with a national award-winning (and hence commercially downtrodden) actress played by Shahana Goswami. Keep your pants on, they do too. The girl-on-girl scene is portrayed by two wine glasses sitting next to each other as the girls enter the bedroom.
With her career and love life sinking below industry standards, we’re forced to suffer Mahi’s sufferings for much longer as she stoops to conquer by resorting to desperate measures. ‘Somewhere in Europe’ is what the caption reads in the final reel where we see Mahi embracing obscurity and hiding her ‘halkat jawaani’ under several layers. 148 minutes of your life – Poof!
This is Kareena Kapoor’s first film post ‘Agent Vinod’. So even as her eyeliner bleeds in some of the high-voltage melodramatic scenes, she can’t go any lower than her previous release. Most actresses would kill for a central role like this to demonstrate everything that they have to offer in the acting department. But Kareena takes this opportunity, puts it in a brown paper bag, blows in it, seals the opening and slaps it for an optimal explosion. Arjun Rampal hasn’t managed so many expressions in any film before and his acting skills have surely gone from a 'chair' to a 'dressing table'. Randeep Hooda’s role is limited to a few courtship scenes with Kareena and can be deemed unobjectionable. Divya Dutta has carved a niche for herself and any role that requires shedding of morals for commercial gains will have her name on it.
None of the technical departments deserve a mention as they cumulatively fail to make this feature presentation a little more presentable. Apart from ‘Halkat Jawaani’ that stays with you like a zit that you want to erase but cant, none of the songs drummed up by Salim-Sulaiman find shelter in your mind or heart.
At some point during the film, Mahi asks the mirror a life-affirming question, “Kya main achchi actress hoon?” The mirror doesn’t respond. And while inanimate objects don’t speak, this one’s silence speaks louder than words.
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