Madhur Bhandarkar, the undisputed king of realistic fares, comes up with yet another hard-hitting film that enlightens you, moves you, motivates and deflates you, even shocks and surprises you and of course, entertains you.
The solid reason why FASHION works is because Madhur brings alive everything you've read in newspapers or watched on TV as an outsider, to the big screen. And that works and how!
But let's not give the subject material all importance, for Madhur's handling of the subject is exemplary. Madhur dresses up his mannequins well, but most importantly, infuses life in those prime bodies. A number sequences leave you tongue-tied [more on that later].
But there's a hitch. And this problem tones down the impact considerably. The running tine of almost 2.40 hours makes you restless, especially the penultimate 25-odd minutes. Yet, all said and done, FASHION has all it takes to be the showstopper this Diwali!
FASHION tells the story of a small-town girl with a dream and the determination to make it a reality. Meghna [Priyanka Chopra] is ambitious, she wants to attain the status of a supermodel. She realises her dreams and rises to walk the ramps for leading designers across India.
But Meghna has to pay the price for her fame and her journey to the top. Her career starts sliding downwards. In this journey of Meghna, she encounters a number of people. Most importantly, Shonali [Kangna Ranaut] and Janet [Mugdha Godse]. Also, Abhijit Sareen [Arbaaz Khan], a tycoon who controls the fashion industry.
CHANDNI BAR, PAGE 3, SATTA, CORPORATE, TRAFFIC SIGNAL -- every Madhur Bhandarkar film has a new story to tell and he tells it most convincingly. In fact, Madhur strikes a fine balance between realism and entertainment in every film. Given the fact that FASHION is all about the fashion industry, the narrative is inevitably filled with lots of glam-n-glitz moments. The fashion shows, the stunning models, the superb styling, the vibrant colours and the behind the scenes drama is worth every penny spent on the ticket.
But it's not just ramp shows and style-n-fashion here. There's a story running concurrently -- of three models. One, the rise of an unknown into a supermodel. Two, the fall of a supermodel to dust. Three, the ambitious model not achieving success, but opting for a marriage of convenience.
While Madhur has handled the theme as if he were an insider, this review would be incomplete if you ignore two major sequences that are simply outstanding. One, Kangna's wardrobe malfunction and two, when Priyanka exposes Arbaaz to his wife [Suchitra Pillai].
Mahesh Limaye's cinematography captures every aspect of the fashion industry to the fullest. The screenplay [Madhur Bhandarkar, Anuradha Tiwari, Ajay Monga] is perfect, except for the penultimate portions. Niranjan Iyengar's dialogues are fantastic. Nitin Chandrakant Desai's production design is truly upmarket. The costumes and styling are top notch, a feast for the eyes. Salim-Sulaiman's music is well synchronised as well. 'Mar Jaava' and 'Jalwa' are lilting creations.
Madhur places immense trust on Priyanka and she is remarkable all through, more towards the second hour. Post AITRAAZ, FASHION is another medal that shines the brightest when you look at her body of work. But the real star is Kangna. Her role may not be as lengthy as that of Priyanka, but the actress pitches in an awesome performance. Her confidence at the very start is infectious and her overall performance deserves an ovation.
Mugdha Godse is, again, supremely confident. She has dum. Arbaaz Khan is first-rate. Arjan Bajwa does well. Harsh Chhaya, the gay designer, stands out with a realistic performance. Ashwin Mushran, Priyanka's confidante, is top notch. Samir Soni is good. Suchitra Pillai and Kittu Gidwani are effectual. Raj Babbar and Kiran Juneja are seasoned in such roles.
On the whole, FASHION has tremendous curiosity value and also shock value for the Indian audiences. Its subject -- the behind the scenes working and drama of the fashion industry -- is its USP. At the box-office, the pre-release hype and buzz will ensure a successful run for the film. Its business at multiplexes mainly should be bountiful. However, trimming the film will only help; not only will it enhance the film, but also its business. Must watch!