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Fashion Movie Review

November 4, 2008
Mugdha Godse, Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut

Mugdha Godse, Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut

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 characters
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)

36 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2008 9:54 am

    Its an old Hollywood formula that the heroine has a gay friend who helps her a lot…sort of like Sex and City.
    Kangana’s rosy cheeks didn’t make her look like an addict. They could have used more makeup! Moreover I m fed up of her stereotype image. In most films she is an addict or mad! 🙂
    The cons of the movie was its pace and a sort of staleness..same old page 3 people..same old habits.

    well, I wasn’t sure how Rohit became her friend, because right at the begining he was already her friend! Yeah I guess this movie reminds one of page 3 to a certain extent but I had not liked page 3. I don’t remember the reasons now. I forget movies very quickly which is an advantage, because I can see them again! 🙂 – Nita.

  2. November 4, 2008 10:07 am

    The theme is different but the elements sounds pretty similiar to Madhur’s “Metro”,which had the sterotypical lady falling for her boss and more. But then these are what happens 🙂 so cant blame him.

    Would prefer waiting and seeing fashion in DVD with a forward button so that I dont feel the lenghth :).

    nautankey, I guess there is some similarity in style in all his movies. But I doubt whether she falls for her boss. I mean in the romantic sense. – Nita.

  3. November 4, 2008 10:10 am

    Looks like a movie worth watching

    yeah I guess! – Nita.

  4. Chirag permalink
    November 4, 2008 10:44 am

    Thanks, Nita, I have always enjoyed Madhur Bhandarkars’ take on social issues and now he has a thumbs up from you too, will surely watch this.

    Well, if you like his style, you’ll like this one. I think it is one of his better movies. I liked it better than page 3. – Nita.

  5. November 4, 2008 11:55 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. As you rightly said, Priyanka emoted well. Kangana has done a great ramp walk!! I liked the scene at the end, in which Priyanka breaks down after the finale ramp walk. The wardrobe malfunction scene was also good! Overall, I liked the movie inspite of many cliches…like why only two fashion designers are talked about, while there are many out there? Arbaaz Khan is the only saving grace for the models? No other agency in Mumbai!!?? Finally, why can’t there be more than one super model? These questions were also raised in an NDTV review. Nevertheless, it’s a movie worth watching!

    Manoj, somehow I didn’t feel this, because when kangana falls from grace she keeps getting shows and assignments and one knows there are other out there. I think the director implied that these couple of designers and agency were the most powerful. Somehow that is the feeling that I got. – Nita.

  6. November 4, 2008 12:58 pm

    I liked the movie..Kangana has done good acting,but as Reema says,its boring to watch same mad stuff again n again..My fav is the last scene when she walks to ramp ,after phn call..Great dress n accesories used… I want them 😉

    Well, it was a different story. I liked the story quite a bit even though the overall sameness is certainly there. But I guess as I forget movies quickly, I tend to enjoy the same movies again and again! 🙂 – Nita.

  7. November 4, 2008 1:24 pm

    I saw it yday and It was ok mainly because the way its potrayed….as u said , its more abt people….and as Manav says…”There are few people who know how to handle success”

    And so in that sense it applies to all professions! Now Bhandarkar should do a movie called Politics!! That I would love to watch. – Nita.

  8. November 4, 2008 1:25 pm

    btw I wanted to ask , how do u see all new movies?

    I guess because I am a movie buff! I love cinema. Also my kids are grownup so I do not need to look after them. I work the whole day (I am a freelance journalist) and in the evening/night I long for entertainment. As I do not watch more than 15 minutes of television everyday this is what I do…see movies. I hate tv. Usually we catch late night shows. I also do not need more than 6 hours of sleep nowadays. – Nita.

  9. November 4, 2008 2:30 pm

    I would love to be able to watch all movies and catch all the late night flicks on HBO, Star Movies etc.

    I saw Fashion, and went with a lotta hope and was 80 % fine with what I saw for 2 1/2 hours.

    I guess maybe they could have done with some better editing, and making it 2 hrs, that would have made it way better.

    Hmm, you put it well. 80% fine! – Nita.

  10. November 4, 2008 3:14 pm

    Ah.. atlast a movie review on blogspehere.. its awhile since i read one! I wanted to know more about this movie and thanks to you now i know.. now i will just have to find a day when my daughter sleeps early 😉

    Sakhi, I hope you do manage to catch this movie in a theatre! It was an interesting movie. – Nita

  11. November 4, 2008 4:05 pm

    hey thats nice to know….:)…actually na, I am a movie buff as well, I dont like sitting in front of TV…but cing the prices and crowd at the theater, got fed up and stopped watching… no chance, have to go to manchester to watch hindi movie but max i can watch 1 in a month :O… was just wondering 🙂

    Oh you live in Manchester! No wonder! Here every theatre shows hindi movies and there are many multipleaxes around my house. So I manage to see at least 3-4 a week, which I think is too less! 🙂 – Nita.

  12. November 4, 2008 4:06 pm

    Also, the way you present the review is really good….doesnt spoil the plot at all unlike other reviews online 🙂 Thank you 😀

    Thank you Sahaja. – Nita.

  13. November 4, 2008 5:25 pm

    i saw the first bit of this online 😛 it was interesting,have to find time though 🙂

    Don’t worry, the adult stuff is not really about the actual scenes, It’s just the subject…you know drugs and the like. You can certainly see this movie and in any case you have only one year to go for 18! – Nita.

  14. November 4, 2008 5:50 pm

    I liked the movie, thank you very much, and especially since I watched it after Karzz, (um, I was the only one watching at Ahmdbd Adlabs evening show along with the lightsemen, diwali week) but I enjoyed reading your review immensely this time, it is very well written, and was just like reading that feature of urs on ad film making(old post, I keep reading people’s old posts a lot somehow!)
    But I hadnt known it was Arbaaz Khan, and I had recommended friends to watch out for HIM!!
    I thought he enacted the suave, man of the industry very credibly, only I didnt like the way he slinks into the lift with Priyanka, later. That, IMO wasn’t in keeping with the character they built up to unfold in the film. It would have been more like Sarin, if he had smiled quietly and said “Hey, hi good to see you back in town” and turned and walked away. You expect Sarin to always be suave and the astute businessman he is, no matter what.
    It is perhaps not perfect, but what is in this imperfect world, but it still is worth a watch. And Madhur is able to humanise the shockers so that you don’t leave the hall hating the people for what they do, that in itself is hard to achieve, so maybe Rambler, you might as well watch it 🙂
    Thanks, Nita, had a nice time here this last vac afternoon.

    Thanks Trisha. You like Arbaaz Khan huh. I like him too, but somehow in this movie I didn’t like his character much. In fact because he completely ignores Meghna in the lift, I feel he must be a very nasty man indeed. If he had said hullo, it would have meant he was a better person, though not really all that good! But you are right, Bhandarkar managed to make us feel sympathy for the characters even thought they were not doing nice things! That is the hallmark of a good story-teller. If he can make you like even the not so good characters then there is something in his story-telling skill. – Nita.

  15. November 4, 2008 6:54 pm

    All Madhur films are about the people but in this one the people come across as fickle… I feel that towards the end Bhandarkar lost his way. Meghna becomes unrecognisable as do her circumstances. But its a typical film…
    Also i hated the stereotypes. All fashion designers are gay. All models snort. The basher boyfriend is Muslim…

    True, the people come across as fickle and shallow and I too felt disgusted at times. I think that was what Bhandarkar wanted to show. And yeah, the sterotypes were there, and some of them really hyped to a great degree! – Nita.

  16. November 4, 2008 8:06 pm

    Nita, Is the film depressing ? The promos suggested that it was about the exploitation of models. I am an escapist and couldn’t gather the courage to go watch the film.

    No it isn’t a dark movie at all. Its entertaining and frankly I look for entertainment in a film mostly. I too go to see films for this reason and do not like films which are dark, depressing or films which start to lecture you! Its a nice story and there are family values shown in the movie too although I didn’t write much about that. – Nita.

  17. November 4, 2008 8:29 pm

    no, the film is not depressing. In fact Meghna emerges as some woman who bounces back after considerable kicks in the back. She is shown to cope with exploitation, an unwanted abortion, lovelessness, competition, self doubt, her own flaws. She changes at the end of the film to someone who is wiser. If you can see that it is exhilerating. This is a commercial blockbuster, so go wth that attitude ki am not going for Satyajit Ray….then you start seeing the good parts. U wdnt want to complain abt stereotypes or cliches.

  18. November 4, 2008 9:01 pm

    you are so prompt , its heart warming, Nita.

    yes agree, Sarin is ruthless, self-centered, absolutely focused on what he wants, waits to get it, and does what he can to get it – very human traits for that kind of a man. That is precisely what I think Madhur wanted us to see. But when he fails to say “hi” it shows he still cant feel cmfrtable wth her exhibiting a wee bit of conscience!!nai?

    well, I didn’t think of it that way…I guess so. If he cannot face her, it means something. – Nita.

  19. November 4, 2008 9:38 pm

    Nobody has pointed it out yet, but the movie is based on a novel titled – Valley of the Dolls.
    Here is the link –

    I am surprised how the media has not brought that up yet.

    Amit, I have read Valley of the Dolls and there is no resemblance between that and this movie. Fashion has only one lead actor while Valley was about three women and their lives, like Sex and the City. But in Fashion, the other two women have minor roles, as compared to Priyanka. What’s more, the story is entirely different. They say the story of Kangana is inspired from a real life story of some model who became addicted to drugs and the media has mentioned that. – Nita.

  20. November 4, 2008 9:44 pm

    looks like a watchable movie. I have not been watching any bollywood movies lately .. last 2 were jaane tu and roadside romeo ..
    will watch this one …

    its worth watching! – Nita.

  21. Joss permalink
    November 4, 2008 11:20 pm

    That’s a great review, Nita. You’re back, and on top form. The rest (if that is what you actually had over Divali) seems to have done you good.

    I’ll give this movie a try, I think, mainly for what you said about Priyanka. She’s a very beautiful woman and I’d be pleased if what you said about her acting is true.

    Thanks Joss. This movie is nice. – Nita.

  22. November 5, 2008 12:15 am

    Nita, I just came to UK early this year…..I am from Hyd and we have hindi movies all over released as well…but to be honest with you, its coz of all the costs in multiplexes that I stopped watching movies in theaters…and was somehow def sure that you would not watch them online….:)

  23. November 5, 2008 12:19 am

    excellent review! besides madhur bhandarkar always comes out with a new theme altogether. i am too willing to watch this movie but i think i wouldnt be able to make it…and yes i read that kangana ranaut gave an outstanding performance…….in delhi the film was being prevented from releasing due to the geetanjali story and even on day of the release some people of a political party tried to stop the screening at few places……….but i guess the story is obviously predictable as we all know about the glitz and gloom of the glam world…..but i would still want to watch it.
    and nita do you write reviews for some sites too?
    you see it has got a a very professional and reader oriented touch to it.

    Arpit, thanks. I think this movie is good and if you miss it in the cinemas, you can always watch it later on dvd. and yes i do write reviews for some sites, but its sporadic as they want me to watch a movie on the first day and it is not always possible. And you know that in India it is not possible to go for movies alone. I need to hunt for company as well!. – Nita.

  24. Ravi permalink
    November 5, 2008 2:08 am

    I have always liked Priyanka and I watched this movie only cuz of her. When I get to know this movie is out in theaters I thought of watching this at least not to compare it with “devil wears prada” Well Madhur focused on the dark side of fashion business when the later is about the fashion business itself. I think its worth watching Fashion though its more feminine 🙂

    Ravi, good to know you liked it as I know you do not like too many bollywood movies! but as you said you can’t really compare it with the devil wears prada because the latter is actually a lot about fashion while Fashion is more about the people. – Nita.

  25. November 5, 2008 3:11 am

    loved the movie …. really great work by Madhur Bhandarkar ….. how skillfully has he carved reality on the silver screen …. hats off ….

  26. November 5, 2008 8:33 pm

    The one problem that plagues the models is keeping slim. They undereat and smoke and cause themselves anorexia. Was there any reference to that in the movie? or I bet it would have been too technical for our movie population? Madhur Bhandarkar film is always worth a watch. Liked his page 3 very much.

    Dinesh Babu, no there was no reference to the anorexia. It was more about Priyanka’s first struggling to get there, and then what she has to cope with. There was no mention of dieting etc, but just getting contacts, making compromises etc. – Nita.

  27. Jairocks permalink
    November 6, 2008 10:34 am

    Guys.. the movie was awesome.. I watched it for 4 times and still I wish 2 watch it more.. And seriously Madhur Bhandarkar is really amazing director.. He has again proven his excellence.

  28. November 6, 2008 2:22 pm

    I am going to go back to the fundamentals and point to the dialogue wherein Priyanka states that she does not want to become a model but that she wants to become a supermodel. Knowing ones strengths and what one wants is perhaps the first step towards achieving ones goals.

    Nandu, I would say it is more of her confidence in herself. – Nita.

  29. November 6, 2008 10:15 pm

    But don’t you think there is a tiny winy similarity? 😦
    I mean, three girls-glamor industry-drugs, the basic thread seems quite similar. Although, I have not seen the movie, but that is what I interpreted from the promo. 🙂

    Nope! You see the movie and you’ll know what I mean. The movie isn’t about three women. Its just about one woman and they have those three in the promos for effect. – Nita.
    P.S. To explain a bit further, one of the models, Mugdha Godse had hardly any role and Kangana was like a side actress. But nothing about her background is told to us, we know do not know anything about her motivations etc, except that she is shown as someone who is at the top, a supermodel, a place where Priyanka wants to reach. In fact Valley of the Dolls and this movie are not just different in story, the characters but also theme. Sure, Valley of the Dolls is about the glamour world, but then so many movies are about that. I saw more similarities with Page 3 in Fashion. I just hope Bhandarkar doesn’t make another similar film!

  30. November 7, 2008 3:23 am

    Very much your blog was pleasant, has added in the reader, to the author is a little questions, please give the e-mail

  31. November 8, 2008 12:17 am

    I enjoyed Fashion despite it being two and a half hours along.

    This is an interesting lead, but I am confused. Did you like it despite the fact it was only two and a half hours long?

  32. November 8, 2008 10:15 pm

    Justin, no, not “only”. Usually I do not like long movies, I prefer them to be about 2 hours or so!

    Mix, my email id is on the sidebar. Thanks.

  33. Revati permalink
    November 21, 2008 5:56 pm

    I love your blog so this is not personal,
    But i beg to differ on there being any “amount of depth in the way the director (Madhur Bhandarkar) explores the roles of the various people in the industry”. He has only further fuelled misconceptions and stereotypes that people have about the glamour industry. As a matter of fact, there is no glamour inside the glamour industry. Even a lingerie shoot is extremely clinical and not sleazy the way he portrayed it. And the signifiers of the coke addiction? Maybe he should have tried some coke before showing a coke addict sway like a drunkard, and using stereotypes like sleeping with a nigerian dealer as the ultimate in slutification.
    As a former Madhur fan, i must say i was let down.

    Ravati, I welcome differing opinions because I learn something from them too. Your comment is not personal at all and the reason is that you have an argument to present. People who make personal comments usually are dumb and have no argument to present. In real life between friends, don’t we all talk about movies and everyone has a different point of view and listen to them don’t we?
    I think you have brought out a very important points. That aspect about the Nigerian dealer occurred to me while i was watching the movie but while writing the review I didn’t mention it. So thanks. 🙂 – Nita.

  34. December 28, 2008 7:36 pm

    The story is only arround priyanka.and she couldnt perform very well in this movie. role of kangana is supper and director shouldnt reduce her role.
    any way i enjoy this movie
    i can give this movie 3 star

  35. September 28, 2015 10:08 am

    how would u say the film has influenced your view of the major cultural, psychological or social issues it raises.

    • suhas permalink
      February 19, 2016 12:46 am

      very well explained about the fashion world especially in Mumbai…the introduction of characters was made in crispy manner..director made us to walk slowly into the fashion world…showed about the struggling models there issues and there hope..similarly he also made us to understand how difficult to keep the position super model.Though Megna (priyanka) didn’t struggle much ( it was covered by showing her confidence and rohit confidence on her) ,she made a fabulous job as a model to super model. The Director has slowly made us to walk step after step understanding her change in the character when she is facing situations. at a point when she becomes super model her attitude goes in a wrong direction..her fall was quick as super modle , her addiction and her realisation period at her home town was very well managed wat i feel that rohit role was avoided..her recovery and again meeting rohit and jenat was cool..kangana as a super modle dominated many orginal super modules in the real world…her connection with Megana was very well designed ..but he makeup was not upto the mark..about Arbaaz khan , I liked his character..designed very well..rohit tells to megana in Rahul show that arbaaz is the big daddy..this means a lot ..he infact is very true business man ..who is a womaniser but tries to be very good husband and father..I could understand that his wife knows about his links but since he gives her lot of respect personally and publicly she tries to leave that point …when megana opens with his wife , we can see how arbaaz kills her carieer since his family life got distrubed…he ignored megana when they come across in the same lift ..this point is very notable point ..he ignored her completely..ignored that he was with her on her bed ..and we have to see how megana reacted when he ignored. .her feelings told that is there no value for relation value for the sex …he used her like a bitch. .that was her expression…at this point if he wished would be the same wat others react at her reentry..we will loose the character of a big daddy business man tycoon etc. ..over all the characters were perfectly designed ..the step by step presentation was good..the down fall was digestive and the raise was also not bad..i felt last 1 min episode climax should be more better became a stereo type one rather than any…it saw this movie in 2008 as a common audience.again after 8 years I have seen today as an assistant director ..thanks for reading ..suhas

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