Bhandarkar’s definition of realism is making dramatically depressing films. Time and again, he’s passed off his brand of depression as realism simply because the world he sets his characters in seem real and are peopled with stereotypes that you would identify with that universe. He slaps his middle-class morality into every territory he’s ever explored and has branded himself as a hard-hitting filmmaker known to expose truths.
Fashion is among his better formula films because it has a few interesting characters but Bhandarkar lets them down in not fleshing out the key parts of what’s interesting about them most. Why would a girl (Priyanka) who has reservations about sharing a house with a guy she trusts not even discuss or think about having an affair with a married man? What exactly is going through Mughda’s head when she agrees to marry her gay best friend and are there no complications that arise out of an unnatural marriage between a straight woman and a gay man? Kangana’s is one of the most interesting characters but then we hardly get to know much of her other than the fact that she keeps going back to her abusive boyfriend, does drugs and punctuates every sentence screaming Bastard. And does wardrobe malfunction have to be treated with so much melodrama – it’s something most model experience and Carol Gracias got an applause for the way she carried herself. The world of Fashion is much more understanding than as seen from Bhandarkar’s blinders.
Irreverence and self-deprecation is in, thanks to Om Shanti Om. Like the first installment, Golmaal Returns is equally forgettable but entertaining nonetheless. But seriously, imagine the audacity of the filmmaker to repeat his gags all over again just because the title promises that the franchise has returned.
This is strictly for fans of the first installment simply because there’s more of the same old. Devgan is less smarter this time around, Sharman has been substituted with Shreyas, Arshad has been reassigned a cop’s role and Tusshar reprises his role of playing the animated mute who talks through noises. Apart from Shreyas who rocks this part, the rest are barely passable and Arshad is worst hit with hardly any lines to keep himself afloat.
About Fashion, I (and surely a lot others agreeably) do not find anything we do not know. It is a very stereotypical film in a lot of aspects and any attempts to shock the viewers by its ‘boldness’ only leaves us D-uh.
Having said that I could also notice a weird pattern and some irresistibly inane ideas. Ideas first. Why does it show that a middle class girl (or person) has to end up on such a note in the big world; either Bhandarkar clearly thinks the person is not worth it or the elites definitely hold a different class. Firstly define elite for me and your middle class Mr Bhandarkar. Second idea is the annoying need for filmy razzmatazz in an already razzmatazz world. Third, the presence of lame dialogues that are spoken as if it is a freshers’ first tryst with the stage (hence Kangana’s repeated abuse of the word bastard).
The pattern and this is very interesting. I think, in a lot of ways, Bhandarkar’s understanding of the world comes from a concocted construction which is a product of various media practices. Maybe it is the way the middle class (in no way am I using the term in a derogatory manner) or this section of the society witnesses the events through Page 3/Supplements/Hackneyed news reporting. Consider a man living in a one bedroom apartment, or even a chawl. He has a TV, reads one newspaper, and breathes news as it is everywhere now like pollution. This man would remark on Fashion/Corporate/Page 3 in the same tone as Bhandarkar’s. Are you seeing something new? It is like paying 5p to see the bioscope in a village while the city guy has already seen it alive through various media tools. Bhandarkar used to own a video store in Bombay; maybe it is THE way he will make these films.
I remember a script I once wrote where in a character is constantly asked to shut up because his views are ‘myopic’ and ‘low class’ [sic]. At that point my script was deemed middle class because I could not explain why this character behaves like that in the world of Delhi University. We are looking at a new class divide in an already globalised world. Think about it!
P.S. I would have elaborated on the pattern but then I am yet to condense it properly for my own review.