Mangalmurti Films and Bhandarkar Entertainment’s Calendar Girls (A) is the story of five beautiful and sexy girls who become famous because of their modelling for a calendar. Paroma Ghosh (Satarupa Pyne), Nazneen Khalid (Avani Modi), Nandita Menon (Akanksha Puri), Sharon Pinto (Kyra Dutt) and Mayuri Chauhan (Ruhi Dilip Singh) come from different places to Bombay, after being selected as models for a prestigious calendar. They all dream of successful careers in the world of glamour. The calendar becomes coveted, as expected, and all the five models are on the threshold of exciting careers. But life is not a bed of roses. Destiny has different paths charted out for the five glamour queens.
Paroma reconnects with her boyfriend, Pinaki (Keith Sequeira), who initiates her into the world of cricket betting and match-fixing. She sees easy money for imparting sexual favours and makes this a regular habit because of her love for Pinaki who ditches her and goes away abroad. Paroma is arrested by the police and so is the cricketer (Arhaan Chaudhary) who is in cohorts with her, besides others involved. Nazneen is forced to become an escort girl serving the rich, famous and powerful people and she has to ultimately pay with her life. Nandita Menon gives up the world of glamour to settle down in matrimony with a very affluent businessman, Harsh Narang (Vikram Sakhalkar) but she is soon disillusioned with life when she realises that her husband, for whom she had left a promising career, is cheating on her. Mayuri Chauhan becomes a Bollywood actress, with guidance and assistance from her manager (Atul Parchure). Sharon kills her own dreams of making it big by publicly slapping her agent, Anirudh (Rushad Rana), for talking loosely about her. She realises that her Bollywood career is sealed because Anirudh is so powerful that nobody in the film industry would want to antagonise him, by casting her. But she, nevertheless, makes it big on television, with help from Shashank (Indraneil Sengupta).
Madhur Bhandarkar, Anil Pandey and Rohit G. Banawlikar have written a story which doesn’t have much of a soul and is also not too novel or fresh. Their screenplay does have twists and turns but many of them are predictable. The weakest part of their writing is that the five calendar girls are not portrayed as helpless girls to whom the audience’s heart could go out. In other words, the five glamour girls don’t get the viewer’s complete sympathy, probably because they are shown as being very ambitious and far from being gullible. The way they take to sleaze and, in some cases, sex, the audience never feels sorry for them or bad for them when calamity strikes. Resultantly, the audience sees the drama unfold quite passively.
It would not be incorrect to say that although the story is about five calendar girls, it soon degenerates into a drama, which is mostly about sex, sleaze, desperation and deceit, something which the audience has seen in umpteen earlier films including those made by Madhur Bhandarkar himself. That’s the time the viewer realises that the same old story has been superficially repackaged and is being served to them in the guise of a new film which is set against a new backdrop. Nothing – repeat, nothing – even has a hint of novelty.
Rohit G. Banawlikar and Abhiruchi Chand’s dialogues don’t have the cutting edge so necessary in a film of the kind this is.
Satarupa Pyne looks glamorous and acts well as Paroma Ghosh. Avani Modi looks and plays the character of Nazneen ably. Akanksha Puri leaves a mark in the role of Nandita Menon. Kyra Dutt has the right attitude to carry off the role of Sharon Pinto. Ruhi Dilip Singh plays Mayuri Chauhan in a way that her character becomes realistic. Keith Sequeira acts effectively as Pinaki. Atul Parchure is likeable as Mayuri’s business manager, Tiwari. Vikram Sakhalkar leaves a mark as Harsh Narang. Arhaan Chaudhary, as the cricketer, makes his character sufficiently despicable with a good performance. Kiran Kumar and Gargi Patel provide adequate support. Mita Vashisht is fantastic. Sharad Madhav Ponkshe, as the investigative officer in the match-fixing scandal, does a splendid job. Indraneil Sengupta leaves a mark with a restrained performance. Suhel Seth, Rohit Roy, Anant Jog, Jatin Mukhi, Sanjay Gurbaxani, Shishir Sharma, Rushad Rana, Joel Brandon Hill and Suchitra Pillai play their parts well enough.
Madhur Bhandarkar’s direction may be alright but he is not in his element. That unique touch of his, which makes his films on and about high-society people stand out, is missing almost completely. The lack of uniqueness gets translated into a lack of distinctive stamp in his direction. Meet Bros. Anjjan and Amaal Malik have scored the music which sounds nice when you hear it but does not have the strength to remain in the memory for long. Kumaar’s lyrics are not easy on the lips. Choreography (by Longines Fernandes; one song, ‘Awesome mora Maahiya’ by Ganesh Hegde) is fairly nice. Rohit Kulkarni’s background music could have been better. Hari K. Vedantam’s cinematography is of a good standard. Salam Ansari’s action is okay. R.K. Naguraj’s production designing passes muster. Editing, by Devendra Murdeshwar, is quite tight.
On the whole, Calender Girls is too ordinary and routine to stand out, that too, with an all-new lead cast. It may attract the audience in the initial weekend but sustaining at the cinemas is a far cry. Flop.