Fashion (2008)

FashionTyping ‘fashion Priyanka Chopra’ into google gives 27 million results. Top of the news for today is an article from The Times of India: ‘5 Things That Priyanka Chopra Should Endorse‘. The list includes bags and shoes, and … strepsils. Priyanka Chopra, truly a Patsy Stone for our times.

It took me a little while to get into Fashion. (The film, that is; sartorial savvy has passed me by and I usually look like a tablecloth.) This was through no fault of Priyanka Chopra: the video stream kept lagging. I suspected my housemate of hogging the internet connection to watch football – a suspicion later confirmed by the cheers/labour pains emanating from the other end of the house.

Sorry, Priyanka, it’s your film and I’m getting sidetracked.

It really is Priyanka’s film and a great big hurrah to that. I am always delighted to see Bollywood women romp through bigger roles than dancing appendage to action hero.

Priyanka plays Meghna Mathur, a nice middle class girl who dreams of making it big as a model. “Ji nahi, super model.” Leaving Mum and Dad and safely sterile neighbourhood behind, she hops it to Mumbai with stars in her eyes. There she meets Rohit, who is camp off a coat hanger and a wannabe designer. Through him, she gets a few low-grade gigs: arm candy for a business party, showing her knickers for a catalogue.

Janet (real-life model Mugdha Godse) lives off this kind of stuff and tries to take Meghna under her wing. But Meghna wants to flyyyyy … and this we know she can do, because while Mugdha was a semi-finalist in Miss India, Priyanka was Miss World, crown and all.

Meghna’s first proper fashion show also introduces her to reigning catwalk queen, Shonali (Kangana Ranaut; also of the catwalk to camera career route). Shonali has a red wine habit, and probably more. (There’s also a KJo cameo.) Kangana is brilliant as the increasingly unravelling Shonali. Before Fashion, I’d only seen her in Queen – and the naive girl abroad is a far cry from the coked-up model. Lass can act, for sure.

Shonali’s downfall is partly her own making (too much sniffing in toilet cubicles), partly because fashion mogul Mr Shirin has started lining Meghna up, and partly because of a wardrobe malfunction of the boobs-out variety. Off she goes to continue her downward spiral. But not without giving Meghna a little advice.

Priyanka Chopra, seen here selling strepsils.

Of course, everything Shonali spits out turns true because Meghna really can’t keep hold of herself. She hops from Shirin’s bed to fag habit to diva behaviour to drunk-driving media storm. And as soon as it sours with Shirin she’s dropped from the billboards as quickly as Shonali was.

Distraught, Meghna heads home to rehab it with Mum and Dad.

Then she fancies a comeback.

Somehow she also takes it upon herself to rescue Shonali. But Shonali isn’t easily rescued. It’s while about to walk for her first comeback showstopper appearance that she gets the news that an overdosed Shonali has been found down the back of some bins. “Walk! Walk!” everyone is shouting … and she can’t … and it’s harrowing. And then she surges forward in a hip-swing of sequins.

And that was Fashion. And it was good. Bags, shoes and accolades for you, Priyanka Chopra.