Monday Movies: Dil Bole Fashion

Starring: Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapoor
Directed by: Anurag Singh

Veera Kaur (Rani) is a perky village girl who loves playing cricket, but there is no team she can play for. Chaudhury Vikram Singh (Anupam Kher) organizes an Aman Cup between his Indian and his friend's Pakistani team, a tournament his team has been losing for years. He asks his son Rohan (Shahid) to come down from England and lead the team. Veera wants to play in the team, but she is turned away as she is a girl. So she gets the idea of dressing up as a boy, Veer Pratap, to be accepted into the team. Everything starts clicking for her, her dreams, cricket and love.

I was in a pretty good mood when I watched the movie, so I overlooked many things that would have irritated me. The movie is a direct lift from She's the Man, but then every Bollywood movie is "inspired", isn't it? It tries to be fun Punjabi, but ends up being kinda loud. I liked the Rani-as-sardar part, she was fun and enjoyable. She looks older than Shahid, but the age difference is not very noticeable in most parts. I admit I like Shahid, though the hair was more Kaminey-bad-boy than Hadippa-cool-guy. I think he's a good actor, though the role didn't demand much. The movie started to go down about halfway into the story, and even Rani and Shahid couldn't save it. All the funda-giving about national pride, Indo-Pak brotherhood and feminism got tedious, and the ending was quite cliched. An okay movie, I'd say.

Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut, Mugdha Godse
Directed by: Madhur Bhandarkar

Meghna (Priyanka) is a small-town girl who comes to Mumbai to become a model. She is mocked at her first show, but is helped by a few friends. She gets small assignments, including a lingerie ad, which causes her relatives to cut off ties with her. Slowly she works her way up the ladder, getting shows with her idol, the arrogant drug-abusing supermodel Shonali(Kangana). A wardrobe malfunction helps her dislodge Shonali, but she gets drawn into the seamier side of the fashion world: the booze parties, the drugs and the affairs. She is traumatized by her experiences, and a surprising encounter with Shonali helps her get back on track.

Madhur Bhandarkar's movies are well-written and hard-hitting, and Fashion is no different. Priyanka pitches in a powerful performance, possibly the best of her career. It's a very topical movie, and exposes a lot of the darker aspects of the glamorous fashion world. He packs in a lot of things into the movie, including the Gitanjali Nagpal story. The movie is different from the formulaic romances that form part of Bollywood, but I felt that the Madhur Bandarkar formula was there: choose an industry, show the seamy side, have the protagonist transform from starry-eyed girl into a hardened woman. I've seen it in Page 3, Corporate, and this formula, while not jaded like the Bollywood cliches, is getting a little old. Nevertheless, it's different from the conventional fare, and I liked the movie.

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