Movie Review: ‘Heroine’

Kapoor in 'Heroine'
Kapoor in 'Heroine'

Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

Producer: Ronnie Screwvala & Madhur Bhandarkar

Starring: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutta, Ranvir Shorey & Helen

Music: Salim-Sulaiman

Everything that glitters isn’t gold. This age old adage applies to Madhur Bhandarkar’s overlong, contrived and clich̩d venture ��Heroine�۪ too unfortunately.

This massively hyped film has been in the news from it inception. From Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s ouster, to Kareena Kapoor’s colossal fee, virtually every aspect of ��Heroine�۪ was talked about, so nobody can blame the PR department for not doing their jobs properly. Alas hype, overkill and a talented star cast maketh not a good film. Perhaps, it was too soon after watching a subtle gem which portrayed the sensitive love story between an autistic and a deaf-mute character, or the crew�۪s incessant denials of the plot being nothing like ��The Dirty Picture�۪ (2011) (a masterpiece compared to this), or the filmmaker�۪s own ‘Fashion’ that made us come down unfairly on the film. Either way this big budget mess is a let down in almost every department. It doesn’t even have a proper plot as such – its just a culmination of scenes thrust in the audiences faces in an attempt to shock

The plot of the film is largely uncomplicated. Mahi Arora (Kapoor) is a wayward, bi-polar, eccentric actress who climbs the ladder of success only to be given the cold shoulder by the big bad industry when she’s on her subsequent decline. ��She has an affair with a much married actor (Arjun Rampal) followed by a fling with a cricketer (Randeep Hooda) with a thing for film stars – neither of whom can help her fill the empty void that’s within her.

Kareena Kapoor in 'Heroine'
Kareena Kapoor in 'Heroine'

She decides to turn her fortunes around when she hires a wily PR manager (Divya Dutta) and succeeds too, albeit temporarily, until her self esteem and career both buckle under after she turns down the advances of a superstar (Sanjay Suri ��� who completely lacks the charisma to pull off the role).

Her next move of putting her acting chops to the test falls flat on its face too when the film gets shelved due to production hassles. Thus begins her downward spiral into an abyss which she never quite gets out.

How she then tries to escape the trappings of stardom and learns to be at peace within herself ultimately form the crux of the story.

Don’t get us wrong. ‘Heroine’ is by no means a bad film. It’s just a tedious, overdone, and boring one. Every scene is stretched incessantly either for shock value or to remind us what a great actress Kapoor is. We don’t need reminding – we’re already aware of that especially in films where she didn’t have to try as hard.

The in-your-face references to current and fading actresses, the gay stereotypes, the B-grade supporting cast, the ridiculous dialogue, an unnecessary lesbian romp and the sloppy screenplay add absolutely nothing to this artificial film either.

Technically though, the��film is well shot but some of the sets (especially at the award ceremony) are tacky. And was there really the need to have such close ups of Kapoor so that we can focus on every quiver of the lip, every tear and every ounce of despair on her face? A performance has to come naturally and not forced in your face. Having said that though, Kapoor never lets us down. She is expectedly good and looks bewitching but this is by no means her best performance. Her talent was far better utilised in films like ��Omkara�۪ (2006) and ��Jab We Met�۪ (2007)�ʉ�� she shone effortlessly in those roles regardless of their length.

The music by Salim-Sulaiman who gave us some awesome tracks in ��Fashion�۪ (22008)��is dull. Bar Saiyaan and Halkat Jawani there�۪s nothing here to write home about. The much hyped item number too is just a rip off from Chikni Chameli (from ‘Agneepath’ earlier this year), choreography wise at least.

Rampal and Kapoor in 'Heroine'
Rampal and Kapoor in 'Heroine'

The supporting cast bar Dutta and Shahana Goswami are below par. Rampal remains expressionless and wooden throughout which is probably no fault of his. His character is so one-dimensional that one wonders why he accepted the role in the first place. Randeep Hooda who has shone in smaller films is criminally wasted while Sanjay Suri is bland and has nowhere near half the aura he’s supposed to have bearing in mind his character plays a superstar. Special mention though has to be made of Helen – as a fading yesteryear star she shines in a brief, albeit important, role.

All in all ‘Heroine’ is ultimately a colossal disappointment. If Bhandarkar had employed the art of subtlety we would have had an unforgettable film. One feels sorry for Kapoor though. She does valiantly try and carry the film on her slender shoulders. She just needed a better vehicle with which to show off her volcanic talent.

BizAsia Showbiz Rating: 2/5

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