With his numerous highly rated and critically acclaimed movies like Chandni Bar, Page-3 and Fashion, Madhur Bhandarkar is back with his “realistic” approach to movies, and this time to reveal the superficiality and dark side of the glamorous Bollywood industry with Heroine. Yet, his attempts seem to be in vain with a lack of a good storyline, and over the top presentation of the industry.
Heroine is a story of Mahi Arora (Kareena Kapoor), a glamorous A-listed Bollywood actress, who becomes a “victim” to the unquestionable pressures of her competitive world.
While at the top, with a number of films and endorsements, she constantly struggles to maintain her position and feels threatened by new actresses who seem to snatch away her daunting presence in Bollywood. She is shown as a free-spirited liberated woman with a free lifestyle, where she drinks, smokes and is involved in relationships: an image which doesn’t really convince the audience because of her ultimate emotional weaknesses in every personal relationship, from her mother to her boyfriends.
Rather than others creating a victim out of her, she seems to be victimizing herself. At times, we wonder why she can’t put her foot down with Aryan Khanna (Arjun Rampal), her co-star with whom she has a messed-up relationship.
We come to know that she has bipolar disorder, and has had a disturbed childhood, the oldest back-story in the book. She is moody and impulsive, another cliché. In this way, Madhur Bhandarkar tries to present her as a victim whom we are supposed to sympathize with.
In the midst of her emotional breakdown, Mahi finds a ray of hope in her relationship with a famous cricketer Angad (Randeep Hooda). But that too reaches a bitter end.
The story takes an absurd turn when Mahi opts to act in a non-commercial film, playing the role of a prostitute. Perhaps Madhur Bhandarkar wanted to highlight the contrast between the professional environment of a commercial and a non-commercial film. Or may be, in the character of Bappan Da (Ranvir Shorey), the art film director, Madhur Bhandarkar wanted to project his own image and his idea of “realism” which is absent in conventional cinema. Anyway, it seemed unnecessary to the plot and lent nothing significant to the movie, except making it longer and all the more unbearable.
Mahi, as expected from a typical Madhur Bhandarkar movie realizes that this glamorous world has consumed her. And yet again, we have a didactic sort of an ending.
The film shows power-thirsty actors who’d stop at nothing to get ahead, journalists getting bitchy and over-interfering in an actor’s personal life and the whole idea of the casting couch; as if Bollywood is an epitome of all the bad values existing in the world!
With poor and insincere performances, and a typical storyline bearing much semblance to Fashion, Heroine fails to shock or amaze people, and ends up being an utter disappointment.