Calendar Girls Movie Review

Saturday, September 26, 2015
One of our biggest fallacies was believing that Madhur Bhandarkar’s films are rooted in reality. They never were and seven years after Priyanka Chopra sizzled in Fashion, Calendar Girls has nothing that he hasn’t shown us in that film before. If you want to jot down his recipe of this disaster, here’s how it rolls – 1 kilo of Fashion, 500 gms of Page 3, 500 gms of Heroine, 100 gms of Corporate and 50 gms of Jail, with a sprinkling of fresh tacky actresses to top up this fiasco. The film stinks of Madhur’s past mistakes and you can’t help but feel bad for people like Suhel Seth, who’ve gone so bankrupt that they needed to sell their soul to this devilish confection. Mr Seth, we bet a few of your fans are hospitalized after watching you in this debacle.
In an attempt to torture people lesser than what we suffered, we will keep the plot minimalistic in this – five girls are handpicked to don the glossy pages of a popular fashion calendar but not all become survivors. We hardly ever notice these perfect-porcelain-faced beauties who are unmemorable enough to slip into oblivion. The film quite mirrors than and doesn’t even aspire to join higher ranks of its director’s works.

Madhur has always romanced formula more than logic. But, his passion for his work was always evident in his previous movies. The filmmaker’s journey from Chandni Bar to Calendar Girls is a handbook of do-nots. In his earlier movies, he had the advantage of using actors with caliber but he has never been the one to extract poignant performances from his artistes. Be it Priyanka, Konkona or Tabu, for that matter, they all are accomplished actors who rightly judged their respective screenplays and moulded themselves to the tee for the challenging parts they played. Madhur’s inadequacies as a solid filmmaker became evident in this film with his wrong choice of actors. None of his debutantes are promising, a few less bad than the others, but none remotely qualify actors. Akanksha Puri, Ruhi Singh are slightly better than others but none worth a mention after the end credits roll down.
As far as it story goes, the film revisits Bhandarkar staples – sleazy CEOs, mudslinging, gossipy socialites, gay designers insecure about their sexual identities, the menacing black man gets replaced by a white man et al. Imagaries are starkly reminiscent of his previous works but missing the streak of his erstwhile genius. 
Probably, the main reason why the film doesn’t work is because it is dated and repetitive. Bhandarkar revisits his classic formula which is now almost a decade old. He doesn’t attempt anything inventive which makes this film a tragic bore. Secondly, it has a bunch of really bad actors. Expecting subtlety is asking for too much, but these not-so-drop-dead-gorgeous shrieky ladies fail to make a strong case for the film. There are tackily dressed, dreary looking clones who have the same physique and face, and if you don’t look too intently, they’ll look the same to you. With copy-paste expression and melodramatic faces, the girls’ performances come close to a nightmare. Satarupa with her Bongy diction is far from being a bombshell her character should ideally be. Avani Modi, has a better hold over her character but suffers from a dismally written part. Their dukh-bhari kahani will barely interest you and before you know the film will pat you to nap.
While you wouldn’t hold a grudge against the film had it not been as regressive as it is. Which world is the film set in? When a Raj Babbar denied Priyanka a career of her choice in Fashion, it was contrived but still made some sense. Probably that’s the quality to good actors; they lift up the conviction of your film. Ofcourse, Calendar Girls has none of the plusses and is replete with the detestable concoction of promiscuity, lies, power games and how innocent souls are entrapped in this.
With too much of his quintessential exaggerated dramatics taking the center stage, Calendar Girls is neither the sensational commercial caper it aspires to be nor the palpable expose it would’ve preferred. It is a misfire and an acute case of talent deterioration. Madhur Bhandarkar of Chandni Bar – May you RIP. Madhur Bhandarkar of Calendar Girls – Mr Sajid Khan of pseudo-grim films, may we never have to see you again.  Avoid the drudgery.
We rate this a 30%


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