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Film Star
Producer: Sahara One, Vishesh Films
Director: Tanuja Chandra
Starring: Mahima Choudhary, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Hira Pandit, Vasundhara Das, Aryan Vaid, Pratima Kazmi, Sandeep Mehta, Ravi Jhankal, Jatin Garewal, Rekha Rao, Jyoti Dogra
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Neelesh Misra, Vibha Singh and Israr Ansari

Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Released on: August, 2005
Reviewed by: Ron Ahluwalia
Reviewer's Rating: 3 out of 10
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There was a point in time when I considered Tanuja Chandra and Mahima Chaudhary to be quality artists in their respective fields. Their collaboration in Film Star proves how wrong I really was. This movie is barren, lacking the direction, screenplay, music, and performances required for an entertaining three hours at the movies.

Mahima Chaudhary plays the arrogant and self-centred actress Heera Pundit, who was ignored at the latest award ceremonies. She finds solace and advice in her drunkard friend and silent lover Digumbar Puri (Priyanshu Chatterjee). He tells her to make a movie that will make the whole world realise how great a star and actress Heera Pundit is.

She decides to film the real-life story of Leela Sharma (Vasundhara Das), the bahu of a prominent religious leader who wilfully murdered her abusive and torturous husband Abhishek (Aryan Vaid). Hearing Leela’s dreadful story and portraying her on film teaches Heera to become sensitive and caring individual. But Leela’s sasur provides the necessary obstacles to prevent Heera’s movie from being made and exposing his son’s tyranny.

Also, Digumbar and Heera develop the requisite love story.

Film Star had the potential to be an in depth and powerful character study of Heera’s round character. Instead, it is just three really boring hours of bad cinema. I am dumbfounded that Tanuja Chandra—who gave us such strokes of brilliance as Dushman and Sur—directs complete garbage. Although some her previous flair is revisited in the spine-chilling scenes depicting Abhishek abusing Leela.

The screenplay is a maha-letdown. Film Star continuously shifts between an issue-based drama to a boring love story at the drop of a hat; just when things start getting good, love rears its ugly head into the enterprise. The movie is supposed to be a character study—a look into the transformation of Heera Pundit. But the events of the screenplay coupled with Chandra’s amateur direction undermine the importance of this aspect.

The music of Film Star, courtesy (or lack thereof) of Jatin-Lalit (this pair makes one of Bollywood’s worst music directors), is atrocious. To make matters worse, the placement of the songs is haphazard. Editing is awful and the film carries a jaded look.

Finally, the performances are on par with the low calibre of the rest of the movie. As the title character, Mahima Chaudhary overacts throughout the initial reels. When her character morphs from a selfish brat to a caring individual, she gets better. But overall, she’s bad. It’s ironic how the story of the movie (a once-loved actress struggling to regain her fame) parallels Mahima’s own career. What’s even more ironic is that she is unable to rise to the occasion in a role that could have stood out in the bad movie.

Priyanshu Chatterjee repeats his lawyer-for-the-good-of-rejected-women role from the equally unbearable Julie. He is ok, but nothing more. Vasundhara Das had a great role in Leela, something that most actresses wait a long time before attempting. Sadly, her emotions are forced at times. But she does have her moments and should be given another chance to prove her mettle. As Heera’s publicist, Pratima Kazmi is good, but there’s not much scope for her to perform. Jatin Grewal, Heera’s co-star and business partner, has little to do. We know he’s a bad actor, but he doesn’t have enough screen time to prove that to us again.

Then there is Aryan Vaid, one who takes pride to ding sleazy films like Fun and Chahat-Ek Nasha, plays the evil husband very well. He is very menacing and makes the viewer sick to the stomach. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but makes a mark. What’s most impressive is his dialogue delivery.

In essence, the very face that Aryan Vaid has the best performance of all shows how bad a movie like Film Star really is. There are some movies that deserve to be stuck in the cans for a long time. Film Star is one that never should have been unleashed on the public.