Fashion Movie Review
I enjoyed Fashion despite it being two and a half hours along. True, there was nothing groundbreaking about it in the sense that that one is aware of the dark side of the glamour world…the desperate struggle that newcomers go through, the compromises they have to make and the drugs and the partying which can take its toll. What I liked was the way it was all portrayed, through a myriad of interesting and believable characters.
What’s it about? (no spoilers)
The movie is about people rather than Fashion. There is little about the designing or the clothes. It’s all about the designers, the models and the agency owners. The lead character is Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra), the small town girl with a steely determination to make it in the big bad world of modeling. A girl who is willing to defy her parents and the middle-class society she moves in. She has the looks, the brains and the right attitude. But this is she realises is just not enough to survive in the industry.
There is a fair amount of depth in the way the director (Madhur Bhandarkar) explores the roles of the various people in the industry. It gives us a sense of who calls the shots and the dark secrets which lie behind the glamorous facades. The lifestyle of the rich and the famous is presented as fairly decadent – the infidelity, the promiscuousness, the drugging, the vacuous gossiping…and that is exactly what the public wants to see. The average Joe gets a kind of vicarious satisfaction to see the damning “truth” behind the made-up faces of the page 3 world.
It is this dissolute lifestyle that innocent Meghna comes face to face with. The way in which Meghna is shown gradually adapting to the lifestyle is nicely done…acceptance replacing the initial shock and disbelief.
The other characters in the movie have less space but they are clearly etched nonetheless. The two gay designers are poles apart in temperament, and the character of the friendly Rohit (Ashwin Mushran) is well done, if a little stereotypical. However one wonders why Rohit, who is an agent of sorts, goes so much out of his way to help Meghna make it in the industry. True, he recognizes her potential, but it is still unconvincing. Perhaps if his reaction when he spots her at a beauty contest in Chandigarh had been actually shown it would have been more believable. Another thing I found unconvincing was the deep friendship between Meghna and Janet (Mugdha Godse) another upcoming model who later marries the famous gay designer Rahul (Samir Soni). While one can somehow believe that Meghna creates an impact professionally, what is more difficult to swallow is the way others get drawn to her. After all, she doesn’t come across as a nice person. Is an apology all that is necessary to heal past wounds?
Meghna is paired with two men. One is Manav (Arjan Bajwa), a struggler who refuses to compromise on principles and the other is the powerful agency owner Abhijit Sarin (Arbaaz Khan). Manav’s character comes across more clearly than Abhijit’s. One is never taken into Abhijit’s mind. The director doesn’t give him a chance to articulate his feelings…he keeps giving those thoughtful glances and one is supposed to guess what he is feeling! Meghna doesn’t tell him to bare his heart either. Perhaps Abhijit is actually feeling nothing. Maybe he is just as he appears to be…a heartless, ruthless businessman.
The casting in this movie is excellent and that is more than half the battle won when it comes to performances. Priyanka has the right look to play the lead role and she knows how to walk the ramp too. I have never seen Priyanka emote as well as she does in this movie and considering how lackluster her performances in have been in some other movies, one realises that if given the chance the woman can act.
Kangana Ranaut and Mugdha Godse look like experienced models and do a great job as clothes hangers! Kangana in particular has that supermodel look. The performances of all the actors are decent. I was a little disappointed with Kangana in her last scenes. If she is supposed to be a drug addict she certainly doesn’t look like one although she acts and behaves like one. She should have been made up to look haggard and worn.
Is the movie worth seeing?
I think so, although I have received some negative feedback about this movie from a few friends. True, the movie has its flaws and the major flaw is that the pace falters. The pace at the start is good and it draws you in as it keeps building up until the interval. After the interval it slackens, and while it goes with the mood of the lead character, the movie start to drag. You wonder whether watching this movie is a big mistake (I have sat through movies which have good first halves but tortuous second halves), but thankfully the pace picks up again and the movie takes us to a satisfying climax. I say satisfying because there is no attempt at a fairlytale ending. In fact one gets the feeling that life for Meghna has just begun.
There are several incidents in the movie which are over dramatized and some of the characters are hyped up to an unbelievable degree but overall this movie manages to entertain. And for those who believe the fashion industry is choc-o-bloc with debauched people and that it is tough to get ahead without making compromises, well, this movie will confirm their opinion. Perhaps it will be an eye-opener to those hundreds of hopefuls who throng Mumbai hoping to make it in the glamour world without an idea that the competition is fearsome and the going is tough.
(Photo credits: Times of India)