A movie review by Deepa.
While most of my friends went off to see Madonna, a few of us who were not willing to spend $250 for a ticket to the concert trekked out to the big city to catch the opening night film Heroine at the Chicago South Asian Film Festival starring Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. This was a red carpet event where bollywood mini-stars like Lilette Dubey and Farooq Sheikh were present.
I don’t want to spoil the film for you, so I’ll just give you a quick synopsisis. The movie is about a character who is not quite a superstar in “Bollywood” but is young, naive and learning how the game is played. It gives you glimpses into the politics and the manipulation that goes on behind the scenes in the Indian film industry. It shows how a careless word from a make up artist can bring big celebrities to their knees and outlines the actors’ precarious relationship with the press.
Kareena Kapoor looks fantastic, with or without make-up, Arjun Rampal is super-sexy, divorced, Saif Ali Khan type character, there is a Hrithik Roshan meets SRK type character compete with controlling wife and all, there’s a Priety Zinta type that decides the only safe way to get a film is too befriend the star’s wife, references are made to Shilpa Shetty when declining actresses are told to join reality shows, and the parallels to real life continue! The story is interesting and moves along the lines of Madhur Bhandarkar’s earlier film “Fashion” from rise to fame to downfall but it is not about any one actress. There is a little bit of all of them. I felt it lacked depth in places, for example, they don’t really explain why the heroine Mahi Arora is such an emotional mess though it hints at a broken home, or when the heroine wants to adopt a child as a single mum (like Sushmita Sen), there is no build up as to why she wants a child. It is like someone had glossed over some scenes in order to be politically correct.
I had the pleasure of meeting Lilette Dubey. She plays Kareena’s mum in the film. What a charming lady…quick witted and fun! She was dancing to Halkat Jawani when it played! She looks fantastic…talk about aging gracefully! I asked her if she thought this was a true dipiction of the pressure that today’s heroine is under and she said it was, in parts. The actors that have a high profile are definitely under this kind of pressure but for the regular actors, like her, it is more of a 9 to 5 job. Farooq Sheikh was also there and he said something in in his lovely urdu that went way over my head!
So, all in all, my trip out to the city was worth it. My verdict on the film is that it is good, not fantastic, but definitely a worth-a-watch kinda film that makes for an interesting discussion after 🙂