Heroine - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

Except for a difficult performance by Kareena Kapoor and the lost character she plays, Heroine is one dramatic scene after another without anything substantial.

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Wogma Review

Welcome to the world of 'babes', one-upmanship, over-reaction. Welcome to the cut-throat world of the Hindi film industry, Bollywood. Or so you are made to believe. Heroine doesn't sink in any deeper than these two lines. However, like a Madhur Bhandarkar film, it does spend quite some time with its lead character, Mahi Arora (Kareena Kapoor). Mahi's character builds interestingly but unfortunately her story has nothing out of the ordinary to hold the film together. It's almost as if the character wasn't written but just happened to happen.

It's great that Heroine picks not a typical top star as his lead character, nor is she a struggling actress who's rise we see from the very beginning. Her journey is told to us from somewhere in the middle. At a point in which she's most distraught and finds her way to a police station for a reason that is not told to us immediately and when you do find out, you can't believe the pettiness of the issue. I doubt the character or the writer/director knew why she was there.

But meanwhile, Kareena Kapoor gets to insecure, distraught, failure, glamorous of course and bipolar! Though she seemed more depressed than bipolar, but hey that's nitty-gritty, right? But, the point here is that whatever Kareena is asked to do, she works really hard in getting it right. She looks gorgeous even when she is dispirited. And I mean this in a good way. She takes every opportunity she can get and the labor shows. It is not an effortless performance.

The character offers her enough layers too - a woman who wants to do well in her career and is a decent human being too. But as it turns out, even if she is willing to put in her best, try everything within her control and resist from sinking low, it's not enough. And after all, she is a woman and thus is needy. There are other times, where Mahi behaves aggressively, over-reacts and takes actions the repercussions of which she hasn't taken into account.

Interestingly, the only really good looking actress in the entire clutter of 'top' heroines in Heroine is Mahi. The rest, aren't half as magnificent. Yet, she struggles as a 'star', if not a beginner. For a change, you also have the male leads in sensitive roles, who have their own shades of gray, however unbaked they are. None of the other side characters add any meaning to the film except for maybe Shahana Goswami's Promita.

With such textures, you'd hope the story would hold your interest. It meanders, it stretches, it disengages you from the characters. And towards the end it just gets overbearing. And at times, you feel like some sequences, especially ones revolving around sexuality, have been added just to titillate without much relevance to the story. The run-of-the-mill songs slow the film down too. The two and a half hours run-time doesn't help its case either.

There is this underlying equation that Madhur Bhandarkar seems to point at, which is annoying as his audience, because it comments about the audience. While belittling the hard-work that people put in their work, Heroine implies that the entire film industry lives in a cut-throat environment where manipulation is the key to success. They do it to so their films do well with the masses. And the masses supposedly decide the fate of a film depending on the controversy surrounding it. Full stop. There is no if or but there, the question about the film's quality or content is a distant one. The audience's love for their cinema is based solely on the associated scandals. And what is poor media to do but to report on these with dramatic effect if that's what the audience wants. !?!? Really? Is that what we are? Naïve and basically stupid.

Whatever.

What it all boils down to then is the same question we could ask about most Bhandarkar products – Is Madhur Bhandarkar's Heroine about "Bollywood - behind the scenes" or is it telling us the story of its heroine, her ups, downs and in-betweens? If its the former, you'd get more out of reading your city's daily edition let alone film magazines. And if it's the latter, atypically so, Bhandarkar doesn't engage despite having his heroine perform to the best of her capabilities.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None.
  • Language: A few cuss words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A couple of making out scenes, references to sexuality and loads of skin show.
  • Concept: The drudgery of a Heroine's life.
  • General Look and Feel: Filmy. Glamorous even when characters are down and out. Yet, it carries a dark ambiance around itself.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 2
  • Screenplay: 1.5
  • Music Director: 1
  • Lyrics: 1.5

Heroine - Trailer

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Comments (12)

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silvan:

Promo looks good, hope it's not just another typical style of Madhur film....

meetu:

@Silvan, yeah let's hope so!

B.H.Harsh:

I do not have any special reason to hope for anything different than the usual Bhandarkar template... but being a Bebo fan, I hope she makes the most of it (though am sure comparisons with 'Fashion' and Priyanka will be inevitable, and Bebo will turn up at the losing end :P)

B.H.Harsh:

Bahut intezaar karaa rahe ho aap :P

meetu:

@B H Harsh lo ji!

B.H.Harsh:

:)

Lil:

Hi Meetu, Thanks for the review. I want to ask one question. How different do you find this movie from Fashion? In terms of the main character, the general theme, the sequence of events etc. Thanks!

guddu:

:( Poor Kareena , her efforts went entirely wasted due to lack of interesting plot. Had it been made in an explosive way, the film might wouldn't felt so boring and lame.It was a tiresome experience watching except for some humor and intimate scenes. I feel bad for Kareena , and i hope she won't disappoint us again.

Sanya:

The movie is surely worth a watch. If anybody thinks that it's similar to fashion. Then he/she might be wrong. I watched it with some of my friends at Wave Cinemas and I happened to like it a lot. In fact, all my friends liked it way too much. The movie proved nice in terms of the story depiction but one thing that I felt about it was that the other characters somehow got lost in it. This didn't happen with fashion and I think that was the reason why it got so much of acclamation. And heroine focussed just on Kareena's role. The only downfall point I felt.

meetu:

@Lil The overall broad stroke is similar, but there are a few differences. I found Fashion a much stronger story of its protagonist.

@guddu oh well..

@Sanya Yep, there are some similarities and some slight differences with Fashion.

Suman:

Direction: 2
Story: 3
Lead Actors: 3
Character Artists: 2

Dialogues: 2
Screenplay: 1
Music Director: 0
Lyrics: 1

meetu:

@ligne yeah, pretty much. But, I liked the fact that she was all grey and was trying to figure herself out. Only problem was they didn't take it further. :(

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