Although the 2009 summer collections won’t be unveiled in London till early next year, the city is already in the grip of fashion fever. The cause? Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion.
The movie is generating word-of-mouth as the best Bollywood film ever made about the fashion world in India. Most movies about fashion are frothy affairs – long on glamour, decadence and the obsession with celebrities.
For a change, Bhandarkar’s Fashion finds deeper similarities between cinema and haute couture, not just with style alone but with a lot of substance to it.
Will Fashion bag another National Award for Madhur? Is Fashion, Priyanka Chopra’s best ever work? Does Kangana Ranaut look too hot to handle? And can Mugdha Godse win the best debutant female award? Well, thankfully the answer to all my questions is going to be short and sweet – Yes.
Sometimes the best fashion statement is not trying to make one at all, and that’s what Madhur Bhandarkar has been successful at with Fashion.
So here’s how the story takes off. Priyanka Chopra plays Meghna Mathur, an aspiring model from Chandigarh who wants to become a super model by moving to Mumbai.
The film brilliantly revolves around the former Miss World who lives, breathes, thinks fashion above all else. Unaware of how the fashion industry works in Mumbai, she meets a long lost friend, an upcoming gay designer, who helps her find small fashion contracts with the help of a small time fashion co-ordinator.
On her way up the ladder of success she meets veteran male model Manav Bhasin, played by Arjan Bajwa, who is trying to make it big.
Paving her way through model coordinators, portfolio photographers, talent managers, fashion designers, media moguls and business magnates she finally gets to rule the ramp.
Credit for Meghna’s stupendous rise also goes to a sexy struggling model named Janet Sequierra, played by debutant Mugdha Godse, who claims that people who use less brains can achieve instant success.
Enter Shonali Gujral, played by Kangana Ranaut, India’s reigning model, an icon for Meghna to aspire to. She is the pin up girl for the country’s leading fashion company ‘Panache’ owned by Abhijit Sarin, played by Arbaaz Khan.
But there is one person who knows the rules of the game much better than Sarin, Mathur and Shonali, and that is Anisha Roy, played by India’s former model Kitu Gidwani.
She runs the most successful modelling agency in Mumbai called Profile. One of her clients is Panache for whom she has discovered many talented models.
And, of course, Fashion would be incomplete without it’s top designer, Rahul Arora, played by Sameer Soni, as the lead designer of the brand Panache whose designs are adored by the glitterati. That almost sums up the principal cast of the film.
The urge to become the numero uno of the fashion world bites Meghna big time and she clearly understands that the ramp calls for some attitude.
Panache’s face is Shonali but although very successful, her drug habit starts becoming a problem for her and subsequently for Panache.
Abhijit decides to terminate Shonali’s contract and ropes in Meghna in her place. Soon, Meghna is everywhere – right from being the showstopper at the biggest fashion shows in town to fashion magazine covers to print ads to TV commercials.
The overnight success spoils Meghna and the budding love relationship between her and Manav, with whom she shares the apartment, also comes to an abrupt end.
What happens after Meghna reaches the pinnacle of success in the modeling world and how her journey also invariably leads to the downfall of Shonali and what shocking things further await Meghna form the rest of the film.
As we all know that the UK audiences love the glitz, the glamour and the golden show, so Fashion is exactly the film for this autumn/winter collection.
The intensive two years of research by the director Madhur Bhandarkar certainly shows that the fashion industry is much more than just the gay designers, sexy ramp models and a glass of red wine.
And those who’ve liked his previous films like Chandni Bar and Page 3 will surely love Fashion.
The director calls his films ‘a slice of reality’. For me, Madhur’s work is a slice of brilliance.
He knows that fashion is not something that exists in dresses only, but it is more to do with ideas and ideals, commitments and compromises and success and failure. Take a bow, Madhur, because only great minds can afford simple styling.
And the music is absolutely brilliant. Hats off to Salim Suleiman for giving us Fashion Ka Jalwa and Kuch Khaas Hain weaved into the ramp walks and various scenes.
I mean, imagine a couple dancing on the ramp with a dozen extras shaking their legs in bikinis. That would indeed stop the show by the so called ‘show-stoppers’!
Now let’s actually talk about the three show-stoppers of the film. My line up goes this way – Priyanka Chopra, Mugdha Godse and Kangana Ranaut.
The size zero Kangana looks absolutely hot on the ramp. She walks like a cat with attitude, a ‘doesn’t give a damn’ one.
Ranaut looks slick and slim and sexy, no doubt about that. She delivers her dialogues gracefully, which often rings a bell whether she has been drinking red wine on the sets or not. Jokes aside, Shonali shines in Fashion.
Now this one comes as a real shocker, guys – debutant Mugdha Godse. Oh my God Godse, what are you doing in the modelling world, darling? Bollywood’s calling you big time!
Mugdha plays the caring Catholic model with a bindaas style. Her transformation from a rugged-looking model to the bikini clad babe is awesome.
She is a complete natural and not for a second does her character looks forced. Didn’t I say that Madhur has found a diamond?
And now the number one show-stopper, Priyanka Chopra. There is some magic, either in Priyanka or in the ramp.
The ramp gets her the Miss World crown and the same ramp gets her the best ever role she has played to date in a Bollywood film. Wow! What a coincidence.
Today I say that there is a similarity between Madhur’s Fashion and Priyanka’s style. Both possess quality. Priyanka is the unforgettable, ultimate accessory of Fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.
All the other actors are competent, especially Kitu Gidwani. I remember when I was in school, I used to go head over heels while watching her in commercials. After seeing Fashion, I still feel the same way.
There are only a few directors in Bollywood who claim to make different cinema. Madhur Bhandarkar is one of them.
So after giving two films in 2008 a five-star rating – one Sarkar Raj and the other Rock On – Fashion comes third in the list of my five star rated movies. Not because it’s directed by Madhur, not because it has Priyanka Chopra’s best performance, not because it’s got a stunning Mugdha and a sexy Kangana, but because it’s a subject which hasn’t been dealt with by the Indian film industry before.
And by the way, can someone please remind supermodel Queenie Dhody that Madhur and his team made no mistake going on the NDTV show before the film’s release? See you soon at the aftershow party, Queenie!