There’s a reason why I watch Madhur Bhandarkar films. Some of them annoy me so much my pulse rate goes up. I feel like I am getting a free cardio workout. Or some parts just have me laughing like mad. Fashion is a supremely bad film. Even technically. The script is so full of holes and discontinuities that I had to wonder if I slept through some bits.
That Bhandarkar loves his stereotypes is well known. So here’s the deal. Girl from North Indian town goes to Bombay to be model. All men in the fashion industry are gay. (Only gay, not bisexual mind you). All ramp shows play awful music.
But there’s something else that annoys me. It’s the potrayal of corruption. Somehow the connection of moral corruption with the consumption of alcohol or nicotine escapes me. I can understand if you connect excesses of the body with the loss of mental stability. But why is that you need to show innocence oozing out of a person even as they drink a glass of wine?
At some point I think Bhandarkar wants us to feel sympathy for the protagonist. Because you know her innocence has gone, she is a fallen woman now, and all of that. But all you want to really do is give her a tight slap. If a grown up adult cannot deal with pressure, well, that’s their problem. The thing is, the character is so poorly etched that it doesn’t feel right. Sure, cinema isn’t supposed to be realistic. But if the film is going to be so divorced from reality, then you might as well make a science fiction piece.
(Oh wait, we’ve seen Priyanka Chopra in a science fiction piece. Love 2050, remember? Scratch that. Anything but something like that piece of nonsense again!)
There are some people who are vulnerable to pressure. It is irrelevant what industry they work in. They will feel the heat of expectations and deadlines and cannot cope. Some of us are more resilient. Yet others handle it alright in the beginning and then crumble.
I guess Bhandarkar tried to make a Gia out of this film. Except, that Gia was in a very different context. And perhaps because it was based on a real character, who was a bit high strung throughout her career, the transition to coming undone was believable. What annoys me about this film is this absurd journey between innocence, corruption and then a return to innocence/ stability. Or an assumption that corruption of the soul is inherently an unstable state of mind.
I wish the film had explored more about fashion itself. Or how the industry operates in India. Or what fashion really is!
And someone please, please tell him that people from small town and cities are not idiots. That they are fully well capable of handling themselves when in big cities. That small towns have their own shares of wolves and glamour.