Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 21, 2012

Pack up!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:42 pm

September 21, 2012

Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Divya Dutta, Shahana Goswami, Mugdha Godse, Ranvir Shorey, Sanjay Suri, Helen

Director: Madhur Bhandarkar

In a tense opening scene, an actress, who only moments ago has been hurled out of a car onto the road, enters a police station, her body still trembling, her face smeared with tears and running mascara. Clutching a lit cigarette nervously, she takes a seat before a cop who is persuading her to reveal why she’s in this condition. “Did someone assault you?” he asks.

Heroine, directed by Madhur Bhandarkar opens with genuine promise, but very quickly collapses into a heap of lazy stereotypes. Sadly, the film offers no original insight into the minds of movie stars or the inner workings of the Mumbai film industry – this is a movie that might well have been made by an avid reader of gossip rags; it hardly feels like the work of an experienced filmmaker. At least with Page 3, Corporate and Fashion, Bhandarkar cast an outsider’s eye on different worlds. What’s his excuse for doing such a sloppy job on an industry he belongs to?

Kareena Kapoor stars as Mahi Arora, a top film actress whose rocky relationship with a married star (Arjun Rampal) is hurting her career. Obsessed and insecure about his affections, addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs, and possibly bipolar, she’s a train wreck waiting to happen. What follows is as predictable as the lunch menu at your office canteen – her life is derailed in pursuit of this man.

To reclaim past glory, a ruthless publicist is hired, a new romance is staged, rivals are sabotaged, and a sex tape is leaked. Sleaze, scandal, and drugs are all familiar ingredients in a Bhandarkar film, yet all you’re left with here is one flat cocktail.

The only pleasure Heroine provides is lending itself to a game of Spot The Reference. Bhandarkar litters the film with thinly veiled digs at well-known celebrities: an actress who empties a glass of red wine on the head of her married lover’s wife, a star who seeks to fill the void in her life by adopting a child, a superstar’s wife who has final say in the selection of actresses who can work opposite her skirt-chaser husband, even a Casanova cricketer who spends more time between the sheets with different actresses than on the pitch. Expectedly, there’s also an assembly line of two-faced, bitchy movie stars, gossiping gay designers, and corrupt journalists.

From the very start of Heroine, a sense of gloom and doom haunts this film. Mahi is perpetually in pieces, her eyes red-rimmed with tears or dazed by alcohol and drugs. There is an attempt to infuse some heart in the script when she forms an unlikely bond with a yesteryear star (Helen), or when she shares a tentative friendship with a Bengali art-house actress (Shahana Goswami, flashing enough cleavage to blind you!). But even this track ends up being unintentionally hilarious, when the two girls avoid each other awkwardly the morning after some inebriated ‘fooling around’. “I’m not a lesbian,” says Shahana, apologizing for what must be the worst crime in Madhur Bhandarkar’s book – being gay! In another instance that’ll have you rolling in your seats, Mugdha Godse, playing a top actress desperate to steal an endorsement deal from a rival star, asks her male model friend to sidle up to the “bisexual” corporate honcho in charge of the account.

But these moments offer little entertainment in a film weighed down by its terrible writing. Page 3 and Fashion weren’t particularly competent films, yet they had some semblance of a plot and a narrative, however formulaic. Heroine, on the other hand, is a bunch of scenes in search of a plot.

Of the cast, Randeep Hooda keeps it real as the charming cricketer who falls for Mahi, while Arjun Rampal seems ill-equipped to tackle the role of her mercurial lover. Divya Dutta is convincing as the manipulative PR consultant who’s available to discuss strategy with her client even when she’s in the middle of a bedroom romp. But it’s poor Kareena Kapoor who gets a pretty raw deal in this disappointing film. Mahi isn’t exactly a likeable character, yet Kareena plays the part with utmost sincerity. Matching the film’s over-the-top sensibilities with a deliciously camp performance, she’s the only reason this film is watchable.

Despite an entertaining first half, thanks to all the unintentional laughs, Heroine slips into a slush of melodrama post interval. By this point, it feels interminably long and boring. Bhandarkar loses his grip on the script, and it’s evident that his storytelling now desperately needs reinventing.

I’m going with two out of five for Heroine. It’s pack-up for this one!

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Ohh Kareena was overacting throughout the movie.. She was irritating to the core.. And the worst movie of the century..! Kareena seriously need some acting classes..!

    Comment by Reena — September 21, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  2. ‎” Heroine is cocktail of complexities faced by modern day actresses..as twisted this statement sounds to you so is the movie…a ravishing Mahi Arora ( Kareena) is lost, in the stardom she has attained in Bollywood business..!! She is broken and is in desperate search of love, bonding and relationships…its a story of this actress who has everything yet nothing…because she doesn’t know what to value when. Heroine is certainly Madhur bhandarker’s learnings from b-wood..he shares every insight which you want to know..but the problem lies within..he tries to explain every bit of it… ending up in sheer exaggeration..For me its the support cast including two male leads who try to cover the mistakes of the director and lead protagonist..in running time of almost 3 hours..you feel tired of watching same smoking scenes again and again..Kareena kapoor could’t have asked for anything better than this..but she herself lays down the film…Randeep hooda and Divya dutta are special…

    But if you a huge bebo fan.. on her Birthdayi couldn’t have asked for anything better..Ignore her for a bit over acting,, she certainly is the Best Heroine in the Industry…!!

    I am going with..genuine..2.5/5 for Kareena & Madhur’s Heroine..
    it’s one of those movies..which you will enjoy with popcorn and will forget it when your corn’s are over…..”

    Comment by Utkarsh — September 21, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  3. flop movie its not madhur’s movie thank god Aishwarya was not in this movie, kareena was right this movie was meant only for her dull movie.

    Comment by khush — September 22, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  4. this guys are forgot that every stars do the flim for audience ,but our selfish kareena to hurry to beat priyanka and vidya only concentrate in the role of her ,that so despo to get a award…..i dont think she even thought that is this flim will entertaining for audience.
    i think she does the role becuse she playing herself in the movie,
    a over confidence actrees who thinks only about her role in the flim
    after giving some big superhits thou her’s credit less then 30 percent above 70 percent credit goes to the big co -stars,calling herself no 1 actress in the industry………….is being so lllloooooossssssssssserrrrrrrrr

    Comment by dwaipayan das — September 22, 2012 @ 1:30 am

  5. “Heroine” is too lengthy that by the end of the movie you’l loose track & forget what had happened at the starting. A totally halkat one!!

    Comment by Ganaraj Khandige — September 22, 2012 @ 1:45 am

  6. Pretty Boring movie,never in the movie you feel the superstar effect,reference to other actors like buying a IPL team and others suggest the link ups but there is no point where the movie feels interesting,it is very slow and being dragged despite the obvious climax.Fashion and heroine seem alike with the same cocktail of gays,drugs,lonliness,drinking and spoiled careers of a successful person…not a gud 1 mr Bhandarkar

    Comment by Ankush — September 22, 2012 @ 1:49 am

  7. I’m so sure if aishwarya was in this movie then Mr Masand’s would have been entirely the opposite! He would have lovedddd the movie n rated it better! U r such a chamcha just because aishwarya’s not in the movie u. R saying crappy things about a brilliantly made movie? Somethings so wrong with u! And anyway ur critique-ng technique is highly questionable after ur review on Action Replay, it was the stupidest movie ever n yet u had good stuff to say about it shows how biased u r n how much u kiss up to the Bachchans! Or is it bcuz journalists like u were shown ur place in Heroine that u have fancied some sort of animosity towards the movie? Could be! Anyway. The whole worlds loving the movie pls get over ur aishwarya phase!

    Comment by arsh — September 22, 2012 @ 3:58 am

  8. i just wanna know who they were referring to when kareena empties the red wine on arjun’s wife’s head

    Comment by sura — September 22, 2012 @ 4:30 am

  9. Thanks Rajeev for your honest reviews.
    I saw the movie and agree with each and every word written here.
    Tho we can be little appreciative of Kareena, Its like she gave her the best for bhandarkar’s worst work.
    IT felt like South Africa’s batsmen chasing a score that has been calculated wrong by thier masters sitting in the dressing room.

    Comment by KP — September 22, 2012 @ 4:56 am

  10. Heroine: 3.25/5 a perfect drama…has similarities with his previous fashion….kareena out performes every 1… Bhandarkar handles the sensible character of heroine very carefully…but looses its way in second half!

    Comment by Rana — September 22, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  11. Not a paisa vasul movie , n Karena acting was not good 🙁
    over acting

    Comment by shekhar — September 22, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  12. Check out my review of Madhur Bhandarkars ‘Heroine’ @ Reel is Life: Fanatical about films!


    Comment by Karthik Ganesan — September 22, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  13. One time watch,
    kareena is good but movie is avrage.

    Comment by Shakir khan — September 22, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  14. Not a bandarkar movie

    Comment by Deepak Mohapatra — September 22, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  15. Dear Rajeev Masand,

    I think the movie is a completely dull and a worthless movie not worth watching. I doubt the way you give ratings because this ain’t worth even a star. You should reconsider

    Comment by Yasho — September 22, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  16. Watched Heroine Yesterday.Though Madhur Bhandarkar name is enough to guarantee success to the film,I am wondering why did he needed an A-list Actress to depict that role? His Movie will sink,why risk the career of Poor Kareena? Already she has not much films in her kitty,and movies like this will thin the chances more.Thankfully shes marrying Saif,its like VRS(Voluntary Retirement) before the Industry shows you the Door.
    My all grudges are with Madhur,What did he had in mind making this? The director who has given such realty based movies like Page3,Fashion,Traffic Signal,How can he go wrong in his area of expertise?But yes he went all wrong. The Movie lacked solid storyline,weak plot,few good dialogues but even they cant save it from sinking. Kareena did a ok ok job,she was made to look so scary and horrible dont knw why..Nothing new he had,it was a mix of Page 3 and Fashion.When they released,market was different & Gay issue was quite new 3-5 years ago.Now when we have seen it so many times,it was quite repititive. No good songs. Besides Kareena, Divya dutta was good, rest were all wasted. First half was ok and was looking promising for the second half,but second half sunk the ship to the bottom with endless crying &psycho kareena howling in her worst without makeup look. If you have seen Page3 or Fashion, Don’t Go. If Not, See it if you can see Kareena looking her worst.I will give 2 out of 5.

    Comment by SIDDHARTH BAJAJ — September 22, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  17. agree on all counts….bebo was THE only reason to sit thru this film, specially the last ten minutes she was brillaint. but wonder if her eyes are fine, the amount of glycerine she muts have used, man!!

    Comment by aditi rao — September 22, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  18. Masand is my HERO

    Comment by Mini — September 22, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  19. My review http://rrachna.com/2012/09/23/movie-reviewheroine/

    Comment by Ashwath — September 23, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  20. Rajeev Masand, you are the best, most honest movie critic in the whole of India. I never watch a movie that you haven’t rated highly. Why aren’t there more people like you?

    Comment by RS — September 23, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  21. ‘Heroine’ is a terrible movie.It’s boring and all Bhandarkar movies now feels the same..Kareena acting was just ok…I am going with one and a half out of five…Lucky Aishwarya !

    Comment by Ritesh Chhabra — September 23, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  22. Hi Heroine deserve more….This is Kareena”s One of the best movie .But the first 30 minitue .but overall good movie.

    Comment by V.K.Shafeer — September 23, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  23. stupid movie but a great review…masand manages to get every movie right 🙂

    Comment by aakanksha — September 23, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

  24. Sir, here’s my review of Heroine:

    Popcornversations: Heroine with caffeine

    A cappuccino awaits its turn to be sipped by a girl and a guy. They have just returned from a multiplex after watching Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine. Let’s call the girl Ms. Audience and the guy Mr. Critic. Heck no, he’s isn’t a Masand, Sen or Ebert, but all of a sudden, everyone has become a film critic, walking out of auditorium promptly asking, “How many stars?”

    Well, it doesn’t take an Eisenstein to guess that Mr. Critic and Ms. Audience don’t get along well and often end up arguing over camera angles v/s golden bangles, story v/s soiree, screenplay v/s foreplay, inter-cuts v/s low cuts, direction v/s duration and so on. Sample this:

    Critic: What a waste of time! Yet another Madhur Bhandarkar film!
    Audience: So what did you expect? A Ram Gopal Varma film?
    Critic: I fail to understand how many times will this guy remake Page 3?
    Audience: But he also made Traffic Signal much before we applauded the slums and dogs. It wasn’t a Page 3, mind you. Nor was Dil To Bachcha hai ji.
    Critic: Come on, Dil To Bachcha hai ji was a silly film!
    Audience: Do you remember what you said after watching it? Madhur Bhandarkar should stick to doing what he does best – exposé movies. Now that he’s back to what he’s good at, you criticize him for making the same kind of films.
    Critic: But there should at least be a story yaar…a girl called Mahi Arora is a big film star, she falls, and then she either hits back or goes into the oblivion.
    Audience: Every story has the same formula – Conflict, Action and Resolution. Girl meets boy, they face problems, get separated and finally reunite.
    Critic: So you recommend Heroine for an Oscar?
    Audience: Heroine never made any such claims and can’t even afford to. Every film finds its audience and this one too will surely do that.
    Critic: It’s only because of people like you that silly films garner 100 crores.
    Audience: Yup, we’re not here to join the yawnathon in the auditorium for two hours and praise the same film to skies, just to appear intelligent.
    Critic: In that case, you should appreciate me for surviving Heroine.

    Audience: Like I said, every film finds its audience. Maybe you’re not the Target Audience. Why SMS all and sundry, asking them to avoid Heroine? What makes you think they won’t like it?
    Critic: By doing so, I save their hard-earned money.
    Audience: Hey don’t give me that b***, if people want to watch a film, they’ll watch it anyway. No critic can save anybody’s money. The only reason people read movie reviews is precisely the same why they watch films – entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. Do you see the bigger dirty picture?
    Critic: But Heroine has the same stereotypes of a Madhur Bhandarkar film…the same junior staff babbling, Page 3 party goers gossiping, gay designers and reporters with boneless wrists, and of course, a female lead character who is at the receiving end of every bad thing that happens in her field.
    Audience: Well, it had those obvious trappings of a Bhandarkar film, but what about the juxtaposition of the current film actors with vanity van against the yesteryear actor who is kept waiting under an umbrella outside the studio?
    Critic: That’s an exception, I must say.
    Audience: Did you notice how well the director handled this contrast through two heroines of different eras? Helen essayed her role so well that you could actually see the sixties and seventies way of making films in her eyes.
    Critic: I admit, it’s an exception, but it could have been explored further…
    Audience: Then you’d say – is Heroine about today’s actress v/s actress of yore! And what do you have to say about the director’s portrayal of art cinema and commercial cinema through two actresses of different genre? – An exception, right?
    Critic: Yup. Sahana Goswami was really good in her role as an art film heroine, but she seems to have been wasted.
    Audience: There you go again, in that case you’d rue – is Heroine about art v/s commercial cinema? The character of an art film director is played to perfection by Ranveer Shorey has been shown so realistically!
    Critic: He was really believable, indeed.
    Audience: And did you notice that scene where he walks out of the production company’s office and affirms he wouldn’t bow to the corporate giants and compromise? – An exception again, isn’t it?
    Critic: See, these are minor creative leaps that Bhandarkar takes but that doesn’t mean it’s a great film.
    Audience: I don’t say Heroine is a great film, but tad better than the mindless flicks belonging to the ilk of 100-crore club. If there’s any villain of the film Heroine, it’s the budget. The award functions, castings, red carpet moments – are so shoddily executed. It seems the director spent his entire budget on Kareena Kapoor and the film’s publicity.
    Critic: True, a subject of such magnitude should never be explored when you don’t have a big budget.
    Audience: Right, and wait till a big production house steps in and makes a saga of Indian actress, where we get to see Bollywood spoof skids, top actors dancing to a silly tune at a party, and stars making a blink-and-miss cameos.
    Critic: Heroine is no ‘Om Shanti Om’, ‘Luck by chance’ or ‘Zubeida’ for god’s sake!
    Audience: Exactly, but it isn’t a no-brainer either! The film explores multiple aspects of the film industry, right from the importance of relationships in the film industry of yesteryears, to the art film vis-à-vis commercial films. Had it been made with a bigger budget and a bigger name and hired some good writers who can write dialogues sans the prefix of ‘Yeh film industry hai’, Heroine could have been the next best thing to happen in Bollywood.
    Critic: Next big thing? Have you lost it or what?
    Audience: I don’t get it when people argue so fervently over films. At the end of the day, Heroine is just a film! Remember what the character Ramadheer Singh said in the movie, Gangs of Wasseypur-2 on cinema?
    Critic: Ah! That amazing line – Jab tak cinema rahega log c***** bante rahenge.
    Audience: Exactly, whether it’s an ‘escapist film’ like Heroine or an ‘intelligent cinema’ like Luck By Chance, we both are what Ramadheer Singh would like to call us.
    Critic: Did you just call me a….?

    Eventually, Mr. Critic and Ms. Audience leave the café. The cappuccino of enjoying a film loses its steam and the froth of appreciating a filmmaker’s style melts in a brew of ‘holier-than-thou’ syndrome. The argument continues.

    Comment by prakash gowda — September 24, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  25. saala Bhandarkar koi kaam vaam nhi hai kya….same thing again,,, as i was watching Fashion again…i want ma money back,

    Comment by Rahul — September 24, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  26. well well …. i saw the movie yesterday like 4 days after release but i was very sure from the start its just another PAGE3 OR basically a fashion 2 …. same old script that to survive in fashion or glamour world you have to be ” SELFISH , POLITICIAN , some one with no feelings ” ok ok MR BHANDARKAR we get that ….. to me this movie was something which i wanted to end as quicky as possible but a NEW stupid or BASICALLY a very PREDICTABLE plot was added …. even a 15yr could EASILY tell NOW arjun would leave KAREENA now, KAREENA will leave RANDEEP, NOW tapan da will close the movie …. the only thing that was unprectible wa that kareena starts a new life and narrtor says a funny thing ” MAHI JO KHUSHI GLAMOUR MEIN DHUNDH RAHI THI WOH USSE BHEED MEIN KHO KE MILI ” lmao …. so bassically bhandarkhar instead of giving any soultion like he gived in fashion has requested people not to join BOLLYWOOD or anything closer to it …… randeep hooda acted well so KAREENA sh was fair to her role , divya dutta was nice and her scene with her in bed with a guy and telling kareena what to do was a nice example of PROFFESIONALISM 😛 …. and RAMPAL like always showed his improved version of acting though i do not know when he will come closer to something called as VERY NICE ACTING ……. i think mr bhardharkar SHOULD LEARN FROM PRAKASH JHA …. he too always have same vegetable for his dish but aleast hi spicies are always different ….. not like mr bhandharkar taking out FASHION from REFRIGERATOR and putting that in a microwave and again serving that ….. finally i would suggest PLZ PLZ do not go for the movie or take a headache pill so that u could have patience to wait for a few good scenes ….

    Comment by ashim — September 26, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    i remember kareena’s one interview she said “jiske naseeb meni jo hota hai wo usko milta hai jo chez meeri hai mujhe wo milegi..” see the results… thats why people says don’t be over confident !!!

    Comment by khush — October 1, 2012 @ 1:08 am

  28. After watching The Dirty Picture, this movie felt so stale…

    Comment by Nandini — October 6, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

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