It calls for immense fortitude to break the norms set by makers of formula-ridden Hindi cinema. Ramgopal Varma's MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON, directed by Chandan Arora, is an attempt at trying to give the audience something different.
So, does MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON succeed in its endeavour? Partly!
MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON tells the story of Chutki [Antra Mali], who aspires to be as famous as Madhuri Dixit. Living with her parents and younger sister in a small town, Gajrola, the youngster is a die-hard fan of Madhuri Dixit.
The story takes a turn when she decides to come to Mumbai to fulfil her dreams. But her parents throw a spanner and decide to get her married instead.
Raja [Rajpal Yadav] and Chutki have been childhood friends and though he doesn't express his feelings to her, his heart pines for her.
When Raja learns that Chutki's parents have chosen a groom for her, he hatches a plot: Let's get married, he tells Chutki, and board the next train to Mumbai to fulfil her dreams.
Chutki agrees and so do their parents and the two get married. Under the pretext of starting a business in Mumbai, Chutki and Raja leave for Mumbai.
But the starry-eyed Chutki and Raja have to face obstacles at every step. From finding an accommodation to entering a film studio to meeting a director, the ride to Bollywood is bumpy.
But her struggle pays off as she gets chosen for a music video and subsequently bags a film starring duplicates of top stars. Unfortunately, the film, when released, meets with a dismal response at the box-office.
Chutki is heartbroken. Raja and Chutki pack their bags and return to Gajrola. What happens next?
Although a number of films with Bollywood as the backdrop have been attempted in the past, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON brings back memories of two films -- GUDDI [Hrishikesh Mukherjee] and MAST [RGV].
The first half of the film depicts the aspirations of the girl convincingly. The perils and the hazards that Chutki and Raja encounter at every step, from the time they arrive in Mumbai to facing the camera for the first time for a video, are straight out of life.
Director Chandan Arora has laced humourous and emotional moments in the first half. The light moments, in plenty, do succeed in bringing a smile on your face. At the same time, the thorny road to stardom has been depicted without resorting to running down the film fraternity or showing the film industry in a negative light.
Post-interval, the story continues to move forward, but the pace drops at this juncture. Although the story moves on a singular track, somehow it does not measure up to the expectations raised by the first half.
But the turn of events in the pre-climax -- when Chutki's film opens to empty houses -- uplifts the film again. The sequence inside a near-vacant cinema hall -- where the film is being screened -- is simply brilliant. Even the end of the film catches the viewer unaware and is, in fact, an apt culmination to the film.
Editor turned director Chandan Arora is a welcome addition to the growing list of directors for whom substance matters more than stars. Although the film doesn't star a single known name, the director has extracted wonderful performances from the entire cast. Technically too, the film is just right.
The songs -- most of Madhuri's numbers -- have been presented with a different beat and the results are satisfactory. 'Maar Dala' [from DEVDAS] and 'Dhak Dhak Karne Laga' [from BETA] can easily be singled out for near-perfect rendition.
Cinematography is inconsistent. The auditorium sequence, for instance, could've been better lit. Dialogues are realistic.
Now to the performances! Antra Mali is brilliant as Chutki, expressing the gamut of emotions with ?n. The vulnerability that her character exudes comes across very well. Rajpal Yadav is outstanding yet again. The actor conveys the helplessness with utmost precision.
Raman Trikha is confident and excels in that one scene when he confronts Antra in her house. Govind Namdeo shines in a significant role. Sudhir Pandey is first-rate. Reeta Bhaduri is fair. Benjamin Gilani is competent. Vandana Sajnani is adequate.
On the whole, MAIN MADHURI DIXIT BANNA CHAHTI HOON is nothing short of an experiment which will meet with diverse reactions -- some would love it, some would ignore it. At the box-office, the film caters to a niche audience who have an appetite for different cinema. Business at multiplexes in metros should prove to be better.