22 May 2008 | HeadleyLamarr
Brave but flawed
Madhur Bhandarkar directs this film that is supposed to expose the lifestyle of the rich and famous while also providing a commentary on the integrity of journalism today.
Celebrities party endlessly, they like to be seen at these parties, and to get due exposure in the media. In fact the film would have us believe that this exposure MAKES celebrities out of socialites and the newspapers have a huge hand in this. IMO there is much more synergy between the celebrities and media and it is a "I need you, you need me" kind of relationship. However, the media needs celebrities more and not vice versa. Anyhow, in this milieu of constant partying is thrown the social column (page 3 of the newspaper) reporter Konkana Sen Sharma. She is shown as this celebrity maker, very popular at the social gatherings. She has a good friend in the gay Abhijeet and in the struggling model Rohit (Bikram Saluja). She rooms with an air-hostess the sassy Pearl (Sandhya Mridul), and a struggling actress - Gayatri (Tara Sharma). The editor of the newspaper is Boman Irani and a firebrand crime beat reporter is played by Atul Kulkarni. The movie has almost too many plot diversions and characters but does work at a certain level. The rich are shown to be rotten to the core for the most part, the movie biz shown to be sleazy to the max with casting couch scenarios, exploitation of power, hunger for media exposure. Into all this is layered in homosexuality, a homosexual encounter that seems to not have much to do with the story or plot, rampant drug use, pedophilia, police "encounter" deaths. In light of all this Pearl's desire to have a super rich husband, a socialite daughter indulging in a sexual encounter in a car, the bitching women, all seem benign ills.
The film has absolutely excellent acting by Konkana Sen Sharma, Atul Kulkarni has almost no role a pity in my opinion. But the supporting cast is more than competent (Boman Irani is very good). This is what saves the film for me. Mr. Bhandarkar bites off way more than he can chew or process onto celluloid and turns the film into a free for all bash. I wish he had focused on one or two aspects of societal ills and explored them more effectively. He berates societal exploitation yet himself exploits all the masala ingredients needed for a film to be successful. We have an item number in the framework of a Bollywood theme party, the drugged out kids dance a perfectly choreographed dance to a Western beat. I hope the next one from Madhur Bhandarkar dares to ditch even more of the Hindi film stereotyped ingredients. The film is a brave (albeit flawed) effort, certainly worth a watch.