Director: Madhur Bhandarkar; Writer: Madhur Bhandarkar, Niranjan Iyengar, Anuradha Tiwari; Producer: Madhur Bhandarkar, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Ronnie Screwvala; Cinematographer: Mahesh Limaye; Editor: Devendra Murdeshwar; Cast: Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Shahana Goswami, Pooja Chopra, Divya Dutta, Rashmi Nigam, Pallavi Sharda, Ranvir Shorey, Lillete Dubey, Mugdha Godse, Sanjay Suri, Harsh Chhaya, G.K. Desai, Kanika Dhillon, Areesz Ganddi, Sanjay Gurbaxani, Pompy Hans, Helen, Kaizaad Kotwal, Ritesh Naik, Gaurav Nanda, Jignesh Panchal, Amrita Raichand, Durgesh Raje, Dabboo Ratnani, Shilpi, Meenakshi Thapa, Raqesh Vashisth
Duration: 02:28:21; Aspect Ratio: 2.368:1; Hue: 130.999; Saturation: 0.029; Lightness: 0.348; Volume: 0.122; Cuts per Minute: 35.180
Summary: After his incredible run of women-centric films from Chandni Bar, Page 3, Satta and Corporate to the blockbuster Fashion, Madhur Bhandarkar now turns his lens inwards and presents his most ambitious work yet - Heroine. The film is based on the life and times of a superstar heroine from the dream factory we call 'Bollywood'. The film is a daring, shocking, glamorous, scandalous behind the scenes account of the reality behind the world of glitz and glamour that our film stars inhabit. For a country obsessed with films and film stars, Heroine will take audiences on a voyeuristic journey to see what really goes on behind the closed doors of make up rooms and vanity vans. It will give them a chance to go beyond the gorgeous smiles and politically correct quotes, to see what really happens in the lives of India's sweethearts. The bitching and the politics, the secrets and the lies, the incredible highs of fame and the lonely depths of failure.
This is the first time we see Mahee drinking and the context of her relationship with her mother is important. It is clear that her issues regarding socially deviant behaviour such as excessive drinking and smoking, presented as immoral female behaviour in the film, stem from her childhood and the kind of bond she has with her mother. Her mother's attempt to draw parallels between their lives and traits is rejected by Mahee but the suggestion of an etiology of ostensibly unstable and emotionally irresponsible/unhealthy tendencies is established.
The introduction of Mahee's therapist Dr. Tanvi makes explicit that she has psychological issues and that she takes medication for them. Dr. Tanvi's resistance to pills foregrounds Bombay films' old aversion to conventional medical interventions though rather than traditional remedies such as love and romance, there is an acknowledgement of professional therapeutic help. Is there objection to the hero/heroine being a sick/afflicted person?
Mahee pours her drink on her lover Aryan's ex-wife at a party. Her publicly flagrant act and disregard for social norms and rules is highlighted as well as her unpredictability and lack of control.
A film journalist is the narrator for Mahee's life and articulates plainly what is otherwise subtly expressed in her behaviour. She states a diagnosis of bipolar disorder set to a montage featuring the downward spiral and emotional imbalance exhibited by Mahee. Dr. Tanvi is shown counselling her. The use of a film journalist to report the disorder might be a point of interest in terms of linking the idea of mental health and public perceptions of it: perhaps refer to a real life case of a famous female movie star, Deepika Padukone talking about her depression?
Mahee starts having a breakdown while drinking and talking about her acting abilities. This is an interesting moment in terms of linking substance abuse and psychological health to notions of artistic labour and femininity: the romantic ideal of the genius, always male, as prone to the consumption of alcohol which is a depressant.
The connection between female desire, lesbianism and mental health is made in this moment when Promita and Mahee decide to sleep together. The figurative device of the two wine glasses side by side to imply sex between the two women brings deviant sexualities and mentally/emotionally disturbed conditions into a circuit.
Set to the film journalist's narration, we are shown another montage of Mahee's worsening situation. Her application for adoption is rejected. while realistic, it also indicates the old Bombay film obsession with the 'good' mother who can never be imperfect. At the same time, it complicates a certain understanding of the 'bad girl' who smokes, drinks and does drugs but still has maternal desires.
Mahee appears visibly unhinged as she drinks and plots. This scene serves to show how the decline that she has suffered throughout the narrative reaches its nadir.
A montage of Mahee taking pills and drinking and avoiding the world makes explicit her condition.
The possible physiological effects of substance abuse: listlessness, physical deterioation, visible decline in health, disinterest and inattention. The relationship between stardom and glamour - work that requires a maintenance of good looks and public energy - and the toll it takes on emotional health is underscored.
women and madness