Madhur Bhandakar is strictly programmed robots which can make films following a template of an ambitious woman reaching her dream, enters a mean world and gradually falls down and ends with ‘A Madhur Bhandarkar Film’. We can easily make out that from the trailers of his latest film Calendar girls too. Unsurprisingly, this film also follows the same template. But, fortunately this time it’s not manipulative unlike Fashion.
Evident from the title, this is the story of Calendar girls who move to Mumbai to fulfil their modelling dreams. For a reputed calendar shoot, our five female leads are selected. Their backgrounds are diverse and their attitudes too. They hail from all over, from Rohtak to London. Sharon from Goa is a sorted lady. Contrasting to the common perceptions of a Goan girl, she is a lady of values. Mayuri Chauhan from Rohtak is a small town girl and an opportunist. Nandini Menon comes from an educated family from Hyderabad (What was the point in putting her from Hyderabad .Menons are from Kerala. No?). She looks like an intentional choice to have someone look like Deepika Padukome, as the dimples resembles her and she is a ‘South Indian’. There is Paroma Ghosh from Kolkata who is hell-bent in proving her dad and brother wrong that she will be successful one day and they shall come to Mumbai to be proud of her. Nazneen is a Pakistani who lives in London, who comes against the will of her boyfriend who considers the whole modelling business as prostitution.
All the five assume that they have a golden life waiting for them once the calendar releases. Well, they get the fame but stays only for limited time. How these five girls deal with the opportunities that come, opportunities that don’t come, the choices they make is the rest of the story. The film never gets preachy. The film doesn’t endorse or explain women empowerment either. The film clearly speaks about the reality that it’s all about choices that you make. On one end of spectrum, there is Sharon who is sick of the plasticity in the modelling industry. She is sick of the loud mouthed people and ends up being a news anchor and she is finally happy. Mayuri aspires to be a Bollywood actress. She embraces the plasticity, smartly grows in her career and achieves her goal too. These were the good choices. On the other side, Nazneen ends up in being an escort, Nandini ends up marrying a stinking rich but an unfaithful husband, Paroma gets stuck in a match-fixing scandal. All the five threads are shown in a very natural flow.
The bad part of the film is its beginning 30 minutes. It has Suhel Seth and Rohit Roy having a boring discussion which is followed by an ice-breaker activity. Rohit Roy asks the 5 girls ‘When did they first feel a man?’. And the answers go like, ‘Oh he was a two-minute noodles’. Out of all, Nazneen was the character with most impact and Sharon’s role is inspiring for the ladies out there in the field.
All in all, Madhur gives a film in his comfort zone but this time, it’s not manipulative.