By Hindustan Times
Heroine is drably monotonous, its insights are shallow, most of the characters are caricatures and the lines that they speak border on the corny. Kareena Kapoor is a complete stunner in the movie. She steals the show by delivering a stupendous performance, feel critics.
"With Bhandarkar watermarked on every single scene of the film, Heroine is highly predictable and somewhere disappointing for those who swear by his ability to reveal the unseen facts. From the feminine-traits of a designer to a back-bitching friend, from vicious women who pass the same comments to death being a turning point for the protagonist, stereotypes successfully kill the essence of this film," writes Kanika Sikka, DNA.
"Madhur treats the theme of Heroine with extreme simplicity and unfussiness for the avid moviegoer to decipher. I am sure, the viewer would experience explicit contentment to witness the truth behind the made-up faces of the film world, the shadowy secrets that lie behind the enchanting veneer. The lifestyle, the betrayal, the promiscuousness, the inane tittle-tattle… all this and more is what is expected from a plot that covers the movie industry and it's all there in profusion in Heroine," feels Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama.
"Multiple National-Award winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar takes vicarious pleasure in giving his audience a ring-side view of various walks of life. His Chandni Bar (2001) dealt with Mumbai dance-bars; Page-3 (2005) showed the shallow side of the media and celebrity circus," writes Meena Iyer, TOI.
"In conveying the ebbs and tides of the life of a self-obsessed, impulsive and troubled Bollywood diva, the film taps into the tropes that constitute the Bhandarkar formula. The novelty has worn off. So, all that the audience is left with is an overwhelming sense of déjà vu," writes Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV.
"The movie does a rinse-and-repeat from here on with heartbreak, love and heartbreak again. Watch the rest of the movie for more close-ups of Kareena’s blood-shot eyes, her incessant break-downs and some really confusing blocks in the story," writes Roshni Devi, Koimoi.com.
"Heroine is just Madhur’s unbalanced take on his heroines, with Sushmita Sen, Preity Zinta, Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra and Konkona Sen Sharma, among the few who get an unjust mention. Even his first choice for ‘Heroine, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan isn’t spared with a hint that political influence can buy anyone the state’s highest honour – Padamshree," writes Sneha May Francis, Emirates 24/7.
"On the face of it, Heroine had great scope to be developed into an interesting story. But director Madhur Bhandarkar gets confused – he wants to reveal the big bad world of Bollywood to the outsiders and tell a human story at the same time. There are lose references to real controversies – a star who edits his co-actor’s role, female actors partnering with a businessman to buy an IPL team when their careers are going downhill, a leaked MMS which brings ample publicity to a couple, a gay designer who is known to design saris and is a close friend to some top female actors, a star wife who decides which heroines his star husband will work with after a recent linkup and so on. The director entertains you by giving you a guessing game. You get busy trying to find out whether a character is based on a certain star or not. But that’s where the fun ends," writes Suparna Thombare, Bollywood Life.
What went wrong?
"Before the interval, the film is a mess up of fast-paced events. The second half, though slow, manages to bring these events into order to lead to a predictable end," Sikka adds.
"On the flip side, although the writing borrows from reality and has ample shock value, the writers could've avoided a few episodes in Mahi's story, which seem unimportant. Besides, the track involving Ranvir Shorey and his film is stretched. Also, the writers have tried to cram too many instances/episodes in the screenplay, which only elongates the run time of the film. Moreover, the film focuses more on the lows than the highs. Had the writing depicted her stardom with the same zeal as the downfall, the impact of Mahi's fall from grace would've appeared more persuasive," says Adarsh.
"And Heroine would have been crisper had it not digressed to cover every Bollywood insider account. When the maker attempts to show mainstream cinema's condescending attitude towards art-house films, precious screen time is lost. Mahi's attempt to play a prostitute and say scandalous lines are clearly attempted to woo the front-benchers but the gig lacks conviction. The music is a complete let down and even the item song Halkat Jaawani fails to give the required `rise' to proceedings," Iyer adds.
"The film could easily be written off but for Kareena’s performance. As the bi-polar, erratic, insecure and vulnerable fading star, Kareena gives a superb performance. She looks beautiful, glamorous and makes Mahi her own. In fact, some of the incidents seem to be lifted straight out of Kareena’s life (yes, there is an MMS scandal as well). Kareena, who has for a long time been used as a glamour quotient in Rs. 100 crore films, gets a meaty role and gives it her best shot. Some of the scenes in the film, although a bit unnecessary, need courage to be enacted and it comes as a surprise when a hard-core commercial actress like Kareena agrees to do such scenes. And then, does them so convincingly," writes Shomini Sen Spicezee.
"Heroine is drably monotonous, its insights are shallow, most of the characters are caricatures and the lines that they speak border on the corny, if not on the outright ridiculous," feels Chatterjee.
"Madhur Bhandarkar may try and claim his stories to be “real” every time, but this time the writer-director is downright lazy. He, along with writers Anuradha Tiwari, Manoj Tyagi and Niranjan Iyengar, has taken page-3 stories about stars and based them around a few characters. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that the movie comes out as being too fake," feels Devi.
"The biggest weakness of the film is that there is no structure. Where is the beginning, the middle and the end? The flaw is with the basics. A high point is followed by a very predictable and dreary development – a bummer. A rather boring and flat first half gives way to slightly more promising second half. But as the story unfolds you are just going through the motions, mainly because of a confused plot," writes Thombare.
"The place where the film scores is performances, and mind you, this can’t be said for all the actors. Kareena does a good job, however tries too hard to give a powerful performance, which is very evident. Yet, for her fans, the film is a treat! Arjun does a good job. Randeep, as usual does justice to his role. Shahana Goswami is brilliant, but it is unfortunate that her role is limited. Helen has a charming role and she plays it effectively," says Sikka.
"Heroine is Kareena's film all the way and she delivers an award-worthy performance. It can be said without a shred of doubt, Heroine is her most valiant effort so far. Apparently motivated by real-life episodes, this is a role not many actresses would have taken the peril of implementing. Kareena arrests the viewer's attention from Scene A to Z. The triumph and disappointment, the innocence and conceit…, every emotion, every sentiment is projected with sheer brilliancy," feels Adarsh.
"The other characters in the movie get less screen space, but they are clearly etched nonetheless. Arjun Rampal is proficient and leaves an impression. Randeep Hooda is incredible in a brief, but significant role. The supporting cast is praiseworthy, but I'd like to make a special mention of Divya Dutta [in terrific form] and Shahana Goswami [very good]. Sanjay Suri is first-rate. Mugdha Godse is decent. Govind Namdev does well. Delnaaz Irani, as the journo, is effectual. Veteran Helen lends grace to the cameo," adds Adarsh.
"Arjun Rampal, as the confused, non-committal, playboy Aryan Khanna, gives a believable performance. It is also refreshing to see Randeep Hooda play a charming cricketer madly in love with Mahi, especially after doing a dark role in ‘Jism2’. The man though, is underused. In fact, Madhur manages to cast some very talented actors like Shahana Goswami, Ranvir Shorey and Sanjay Suri in walk away cameos who ably support the film’s narrative," says Sen.
"Kareena Kapoor is a complete stunner in the movie. She steals the show by delivering a stupendous performance. The best part is that Kareena manages to get into the skin of her character Mahi Arora and makes it look real. Heroine seems to be Bebo's show all the way," says Nabanita, OneIndia.
"Kareena is in virtually every scene in the film. She is particularly good when she dons the no-makeup look and allows herself to go with the flow of the emotions. But when she is called upon to strut around like a heroine, she is, surprisingly, far less convincing," writes Chatterjee.
"Kareena Kapoor owns the movie as the, er, bipolar actress Mahi. As much as you would like to appreciate her ability to showcase the mood swings behind the camera, her character badly suffers from hackneyed writing. Arjun Rampal is alright as Aryan with Randeep Hooda bettering him as the suave Angad. Divya Dutta does well in her uni-dimensional role as the PR agent. Shahana Goswami and Ranvir Shorey are very good in their small roles," writes Devi.
"If anything, Madhur’s movie can boast of some impressive performances from his supporting cast. Randeep Hooda nails the part as a Yuvi-styled cricketer, with a maturity rare in Bollywood. He’s unafraid to play into the hands of his hyper girlfriend, who is reluctant to be his anchor. There’s also Arjun Rampal, who despite being given a one-dimensional character, succeeds in lending it sincerity and charm," says Francis.
"Shahana Goswami, Divya Dutta and Ranveer Shorey are exemplary, and their efforts seem genuinely engaging, brilliantly camouflaging any attempt at reducing their characters into caricatures. And, last but not the least, Kareena Kapoor doesn’t disappoint. She’s seen earnestly puffing few hundred cigarettes, glugging many stiff drinks, popping anti-depressant pills, crying copious tears, shrieking uninhibitedly, dancing lavishly and romancing passionately. She’s versatile, yet not honest enough to win over our hearts," adds Francis.
"My heart goes out to Kareena Kapoor, who carries the film on her solitary shoulders. She looks ethereal and makes the most of whatever has been offered to her in terms of her character. She brings depth to the role of a moody and emotionally unstable fading star. Some scenes are over the top and that affects her performance too. But Kareena especially shines in some scenes – when she is completely down and out and just nods in agreement to her manager, when she comes face to face with her ex-boyfriend and when she watches the TV to find out whether her publicity stunt has worked. But a clichéd script, some clumsy dialogues (by Niranjan Iyengar) and naive direction let her down," says Thombare.
"Director Madhur Bhandarkar made his movie from a magnum opus to a monstrous blob that has too many leaks to be fixed. And the leaden script is of no help. Madhur should have focused on a few aspects of Mahi’s life instead of thrusting everything into a 3 hour long haze with alcohol, psychological problems, mummy-issues, role mongering, lesbian relationship… Salim-Sulaiman’s music is nice with Halkat Jawani, Saiyaan and Heroine being the noteworthy songs. Editor Devendra Murdeshwar has done a passable job. Cinematography by Mahesh Limaye is good," writes Devi.
"Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar does make an impressionable start to ‘Heroine’, but he’s unable to sustain it for 2-hours-and-30-minutes, leaving us muddled with clichés and caricatures. His attempt at exposing the underbelly of the big, bad world of Bollywood is flawed with stereotypes," writes Francis.
"It’s Madhur’s world of contradictions, with realism and fiction finding an insensible blend. ‘Heroine’ remains his most unoriginal take on the film industry, and uncovers, if anything, his imperfect, creative limitations," Francis adds.
"Bhandarkar makes sure he incorporates all the clichés – some that he has already used in his previous movies – a gay friend, a bisexual director sleeping in return for a favour, MMS scandal, heroines dating cricketers, struggling female actors sleeping around with big stars to rise in their career, philandering male stars and their manipulative star wives. Now that is the image of Bollywood in the eyes of the common man anyway! Bhandarkar simply affirms the stereotypes instead of adding a new dimension or depth to these impressions. Cutting the paraphernalia and sticking to Mahi’s story would have done the film a whole lot of good," says Thombare.
"If you are a Madhur Bhandarkar fan, I would recommend you skip this one. One, it may be disappointing; two, you’ve seen all this before. If you are a Kareena Kapoor fan, it’s a treat. All said and done, the film may be a one-time watch. But if you expected too much out of the film, it may not be worth the anticipation and your money," concludes Sikka.
"On the whole, Heroine is yet another hard-hitting motion picture from Madhur Bhandarkar. For persistently choosing women-centric themes, for consistently winning national acclaim and most significantly, magnetizing moviegoers in large numbers to view his cinema, the efforts of the maverick film-maker deserve to be lauded. Watch Heroine for Madhur's imposing direction, for Kareena's superlative performance, watch it also for its fearless, inspiring and enlightening storyline divulging the scandalous realities of the movie industry. Try not to miss it!" feels Adarsh.
"Heroine is Kareena's Dirty Picture. The actress has shown ample cleavage and partaken in some really intimate bedroom scenes. Definitely worth a dekho!" concludes Iyer.
"Does ‘Heroine’ work? Yes, but only because of Kareena Kapoor. From doing the raunchy act in ‘Halkat Jawaani’ to the scenes where she is battling depression and popping pills, to the I-don’t-care-attitude of a confident actress, Kareena makes Mahi memorable and lovable," says Sen.
"Kareena Kapoor does a good job and, heck, you even get to see her in a pseudo lesbian scene along with other steamy scenes. If that’s enough to drag you to see Heroine, go ahead. Give it a miss otherwise," says Devi.