Jalwa indeed. Madhur Bhandarkar strikes again. You know what, Madhur Bandarkar sort of reminds me of Arthur Hailey, who creates a storyline while capturing one whole industry (Airport, Hotel, Wheels, Detective, and so on). So we had Chandni Bar (the "true and as-is" life led by the bar dancers), Page 3 (life of a journalist), Corporate (life in the corporate industry), Traffic Signal (life led by the urchins at the city's traffic signals), and now, Fashion (a model's life in the tough industry of Fashion).
As usual, synopsis. Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) is a small town model who aspires to make it big in on ramp against her parents' wishes (Raj Babbar and Kiran Juneja) and where else can she achieve this goal, but in Mumbai. With a few lucky turns of fate, she comes in the line of sight of many biggies of the fashion world. All this with the help of her contact and fellow designer, Rohit Khanna. Here she makes some friends, some foes and is manipulated by the rest. One major competition comes to her in the form of Shonali Gujral (Kangana Ranaut), a successful but haughty model, in the throes of smoking, drugs, and attitude tantrums. Soon, Meghna replaces Shonali as the brand ambassador of the agency run by Abhijeet Sareen (Arbaaz Khan) and Aneesha (Kitu Gidwani). As time passes, she is involved with the biggies of the fashion industry and in the headiness of her success, loses sight of the very people who helped to that level of success- Rahul Arora (Samir Soni as a gay designer), Janet Sequira (Mugdha Godse - who later marries Samir Soni in the film), Manav (her roommate, boyfriend, and fellow struggling model). Pride comes for a fall, they say and that is what happens to Meghna. Like Shonali, she is also replaced as the brand ambassador of the agency and is soon surrounded with controversies (drunken driving, attitude problems with designers). Luckily, before going too wayward, she takes stock of her life and returns to her home, albeit broken and depressed. The rest of the story is about how she reenters the fashion industry with a renewed enthusiasm and a new sense of maturity.
Well. Priyanka Chopra played every phase of her career as Meghana with excellence, even the grey shades. However, her transition from modest to haughty did not seem very convincing and was instead very forced and sudden. Basically, it was not justified. If you watch carefully, Shonali and Meghana led similar lives. The only difference in them was that Shonali didn't anyone to turn to in times of crises in her life and neither did she have the guts to do so, until Meghna inspires her to live (later in the film). But Meghna... she has the courage to return to her home and ask (even if silently) for help. She has the courage to accept help and regain her confidence to walk on the ramp. Another notable message passed on by this film is what we learnt long back in her primary classes but forgot when we grew up: Pride Goes Before a Fall. Don't be too proud of what you have today, you may lose it. There is also one more quote by Meghna herself "The people you meet on your way up to success are the same ones you meet on your way down. So be careful how you treat them."
Whether what is shown in the film is the whole truth of the industry or not, I don't know. In any case, I think this film is surely an eye opener for the aspiring models to look out for potholes in the road to success. For some reason, I always liked Indian fashion than the Western fashion. This film reminded me why. The designs in this film are just great. The music was not all that great, except for the theme music. The other characters play their roles well. Personally, I like Mugdha Godse. Her role was not much, but her transition from model to a designer wife and able support to Rahul is very smooth and seamless, and most of all, endearing. The most eye catching performance is that of Harsh Chhaya. The body language, the accent.. really commendable.
Whoever said that this film is a copy of Devil Wears Prada should get their facts right before spreading such misleading rumours.