When one goes to a multiplex, sorry, to one of those relics of Indian metros, a proper old-fashioned theater to see a movie like Fashion in the first week of its release, it is because of two reasons: 1) One has faith in the director, his reputation and the actors not to let one down and 2) One believes that the subject in question is different and intriguing enough to arouse the curiosity of even a non-multiplex crowd.
Page 3 and Traffic Signal made good profits from multiplexes and Fashion will no doubt continue the trend, certainly by beating some expectations. The obvious expectation at getting a peek into the working of the glamor industry will no doubt be satiated. Madhur Bhandarkar plays to the gallery here by serving expected fare, but in some cases even cliches when delivered in the proper places and in the proper manner and helped by good acting leave a good impact. That is exactly what Fashion does.
There are the expected villians, people at whose whims and fancies, the fashion mills grind. The difference lies in the execution and in the deft handling of a complex subject. The director has extracted Priyanka’s best performance as an actor. When Aishwarya Rai was appreciated for her acting for the first time in Guru, Mani Ratnam deservedly got the credit and so should Madhur Bhandarkar here.
In an effort towards giving out minimal spoilers, the story is about the moral challenges and compromises one is subject to, during the rise to the top of the glamor industry. Again, this might seem a bit of oversimplification. Revenge is recurring with the tactic often misfiring. One can’t take sides easily as the story doesn’t simply let you take sides in the first place.
Kangna Ranaut has to start looking beyond some roles that she revels in. Mugda Godse looks the part and can go places in the future. Other actors play their roles but get overshadowed by the three girls. Music is just about good. The length becomes annoying later in the second half. It can be overlooked.
With gay associations, wardrobe malfunctions, the fall from fame to rags - all sharing screenspace, it is easy to say that recent media stories and happenings have influenced the maker but for the disclaimer in the beginning that any resemblance to real life incidents is purely coincidental. It is not a movie for the weak hearted. Some might end up feeling that certain parts were melodramatic and dragging.
Overall, a very much watchable movie that reaffirms my belief that, Bollywood with its recent string of releases, is breaking some invisible shell and trying to stand proud on its feet.