Cast: Kyra Dutt, Avani Modi, Akanksha Puri, Satarupa Pyne, Ruhi Singh, Mia Vashisht,Kiran Kumar, Keith Sequira, Amit Parchure, Vikram Sakhalkar
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Rating: * *1/2
Runtime: 125 mins
It’s ‘Fashion’ and ‘Heroine’ with bits of ‘Page 3’ thrown in. Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest sociological expose takes the tried and tested route, throwing up unfancied threads of potential interest and criminally frayed twists to make it look interesting and unseemly. But the un-affectingly fractured narrative isn’t strong on logical flow and the exposition and development are consistently frayed.
Madhur’s ‘Calendar Girls’ are easy on the eyes and have no compunctions about exposing large expanses of their skin to lure in the uncultivated audience. The five attractive girls preen and pose, garbed in the skimpiest of clothes, and look lustily into the camera and are sure to set some heartbeats on the run. Nandita Menon (Akanksha Puri), Sharon Pinto (Kyra Dutt) , Paroma Ghosh (Satarupa Pyne), Mayuri Chauhan (Ruhi Singh) and Pakistani Nazneen Malik (Avani Modi) are the five chosen calendar girls basking in the limelight spread thin by business tycoon Rishabh Kukreja (Suhel Seth) and his photographer friend Timmy Sen (Rohit Roy). The much attended launch event sets-up the five girls on a roller-coaster ride of life’s luxuries, triumphs and disappointments. While Mayuri networks her way into the acting profession, Nandita hooks herself up with Richie rich Prince Charming Harsh Narang (Vikram Sakhalkar), Sharon takes the modeling route to a TV anchor’s job, Paroma plays the bookies with her ex-boyfriend Pinaki (Keith Sequeira) only to end up in the Big Boss house and Pakistani Nazneen who makes a telling start with her comment about being able to please any man, gets hurtled off the film sets due to political protests regarding her origins, has a brief fling as a high-end escort and subsequently ends up face down on the road side.
But it’s not shocking because none of what transpires is anything new or untraveled before in cinema or in the news headlines. And Madhur’s presentation of it majorly lacks passion and sting. The rise and fall trajectories are passionless and without major incidents, to raise the bar on the already fetid drama. While the tech credits are spiffier than his earlier works, the telling lacks sharpness and edge. The actresses are all attractive and confident enough to show off a great deal of skin without a care. Kyra Dutt appears to have a clear cut idea of what’s expected of her, Ruhi Singh lisps her way through a decent Priyanka Chopra impersonation and Satarupa Pyne looks gorgeous but is a little wanting on the acting side. Akanksha Puri and Avani Modi fail to make the characters they play,convincing.
Anil Pandey’s screenplay and story lacks definition and bite while Abhiruchi Chand’s dialogues are devoid of any sharpness or depth. So it’s all left to cinematographer Harri Vendaantum and editor Devendra Murdeshwar to pick up the slack. Unfortunately there’s only so much they can do. The narrative feels abrupt, and the visual glamour is evidently superficial. The few revelatory moments rest with Mayuri – one where she informs a director (Madhur Bhandarkar playing a much more successful himself ) that a film is a film only when it hits the screen and another when she attends a biggie’s funeral to contribute some glamour to the occasion and earn some big bucks in return. The rest are routine Bhandarkarisms that have long ceased to matter to a lay audience!