Sunday, November 09, 2008

In 'Fashion' Madhur Bhandarkar tells the truth through cliches



It is usually the case that we dismiss as something cliche which we think does not state anything new. It is enough if a film is able to show something which we already know. Madhur Bhandarkar does this in his film 'Fashion'. He shows the struggles of models portrayed in the film by Priyanka Chopra, Kangna Ranaut and Mugdha Godse which do not say anything new. But that in itself is not a great artistic sin. It is only the meticulous critics who demand that there should be some deeper meaning in it all. Bhandarkar does not even attempt to do it.
But he has done something else. He has given a close-up view of how the fashion shows work. For a filmmaker, the fashion show is the most visible thing about the world of haute couture. For many of us who did now what 'showstopper' meant within the fashion world, it was a nice discovery.
The legitimate question to be asked is whether that the cliches that Bhandarkar holds on to become caricatures. They do not become caricatures. And that is the achievement of the film. He does not go out his way to portray the gays in the fashion with any kind special care. He just takes them as they exist, without any comment.
But at the end of the film we do not much sympathise with the characters Meghna (Priyanka), Sonali (Kangna) and Janet(Mugdha). There is nothing endearing about any of them. They live their lives mechanically, and Bhandarkar shows that they do not possess any inner life.
Perhaps, the best portrayal comes from Kitu Gidwani, who plays the role of the agency manager. She plays the role with elegance.

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