There’s nothing that ruins a deliciously bad film than seriously sincere acting. Maybe a lesser actor would have ensured there was nothing stopping us from laughing out loud at this long string of Bollywood stereotypes tied together as an unintentional spoof of Bhandarkar films.
Sample: “So what if I need a psychiatrist? So what if I am an alcoholic? I can't be a good mother? I will sue you. I will sue you. I will sue you.” The dialogue is hilariously bad, guaranteed to have you in splits, but the fact that Kareena Kapoor tries earnestly to make it work kills your mood.
In fact, most of the actors are pretty good in Heroine. Be it Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Sanjay Suri, Divya Dutta, Ranvir Shorey or Shahana Goswami, they are all great but how seriously can you take a film that lacks freshness and paints Bollywood in the same old broad strokes we can expect from Bhandarkar under the pretext of realism?
A film where every character smokes, drinks, swears and sleeps around. Where even the seemingly nice have creepy perversions. Where straight people turn gay at the drop of a wine glass. Where the most innocent of actors shoots a sex tape. Where even such footage looks like Bollywood's idea of a sex scene — all gloss and lipstick, hardly realistic. Where all mediapersons are evil camera-wielding witch hunters. Where all gay people are over-the-top effeminate caricatures... simply because this is a signature Bhan-darker film.
To avoid getting into The Dirty Picture territory, Heroine skips directly to the point when Mahi (Kareena Kapoor) is an A list star with absolutely no back story on how she made it big, apart from a voiceover that tells us she came to Mumbai from a broken family and became an actress! Just like that.
In his attempt to stay clear of the origin story, Bhandarkar makes us question the basics. How did she become a top heroine without ever compromising or selling her soul (which she does only much later into the film)?
Bhandarkar's portrayal of the industry mechanisms never feels like an insider's expose. The only expose he seems interested in are the plunging necklines of the ladies in the film, like he wants to make a Dirtier Picture.
But then, this is not a full on exploitative film either. Two women go into the bedroom and we are left with glasses of wine in the foreground. Oh wow! Bhandarkar suddenly showing restraint?
And then, there's the length and the unrelenting, exhausting series of ups and downs in the drama that make us age and die with the veteran actor in a cameo.
Oh! Poor rich and famous people. They have it so tough — they date heartthrobs, they dump heartthrobs, they want fame, they don't want fame... Aww! It's okay, Kareena. You will win a whole lot of awards for this role anyway. The only realistic thing here is that Bollywood is as predictable as a Bhandarkar film.
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Sanjay Suri, Randeep Hooda, Divya Dutta, Ranvir Shorey, Shahana Goswami
Storyline: An actress who likes to stay out of politics and trouble sells out to the demands of showbiz and stardom
Bottomline: A predictable, exploitative B-film with a terrific A-list actor giving it her all