Over the years, Madhur Bhandarkar has become Bollywood’s go-to filmmaker for bold, unflinching films that also manage to entertain. Calendar Girls, which explores the seedy underbelly of the glamour world, fits right into his filmography. In fact, Calendar Girls feels like a natural progression for the director who has shown us the dark side of the modelling world, the film industry and the corporate world.
Calendar Girls follows the journey of five women who set out to make a name for themselves in the cutthroat glamour industry. When the opportunity to be featured in the country’s biggest calendar presents itself, each of them breaks away from the ties that bind them. However, leaving behind their overbearing families, boyfriends and small towns turns out to be more of a challenge than they could ever anticipate. The film follows the girls’ lives a few months after the calendar is unveiled. While some of them find their true calling, others find themselves trapped in a web of crime, lies and deceit. How they deal with their fame and success forms the crux of the film.
Much like the rest of Madhur Bhandarkar‘s films, Calendar Girls gives us a glimpse into a world that is a mystery to the aam junta. The enigma makes the the film’s premise its strongest point. We all have a voyeur inside us, one that wants to know what goes on behind closed doors. And Calendar Girls offers just that. It shows us that what we see on screen and in calendars isn’t nearly as close to reality as it seems.
The film also incorporates some very relevant topics, and puts a glamorous spin on them. India’s relationship with Pakistan, morality, infidelity, gender politics and match-fixing are just a few of the sub-plots the film features. It’s refreshing to see an honest take on such intense topics in Bollywood. However, the sheer number of subjects it takes on makes the film struggle to find its footing. It’s hard not to wonder if Calendar Girls would’ve been better off focusing on fewer topics.
Our Calendar Girls, the stars of the film, are gorgeous and convincing in their parts. Though their acting skills leave something to be desired, they are backed by strong supporting performances. Keith Sequeira, Rushad Rana and Meeta Vasisht make lasting impressions in their limited screen time. Atul Parchure, who adds some much-needed comic relief to the film, is especially noteworthy. Also, keep your eyes peeled for Madhur Bhandarkar, who plays himself in a very special cameo!
Though the film is entertaining, it is far from Madhur Bhandarkar‘s strongest venture. However, Calendar Girls doesn’t play safe and dares to be different from its contemporaries. It shows the audience a not-so-glamorous side of the glamour world, and for that, it deserves a watch.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Whether you’re a fan of honest, cutthroat cinema or masala entertainers, Calendar Girls will appeal to you. The film offers the best of both worlds, ensuring that the viewer is entertained without ever compromising on its brutal honesty. If you’ve enjoyed Madhur Bhandarkar‘s work so far, you are bound to love this film, too.