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Chupke Se

BEHIND EVERY mega fashion show lies a slew of broken hearts, aspirations and... the underworld! And behind most middle class façade, is a dream to achieve stardom and fame via a Miss India contest. Which goes to prove that other professions, however noble, cannot hold a candle to the glitz and glamour of this profession. And the path to becoming something big and well known is a beauty contest! That in a few words is what ``Chupke Se" is all about. And it is not such a bad film. In fact it has some really true moments of humour, romance and observations of the life behind such shows. Mostly they are tongue in cheek and give the viewers a lot of fun. The dialogue, situations and expressions blend with their characters and give this film its reason to draw audiences.

Even if the film has shades of the immensely popular Hollywood venture ``Miss Congeniality," the situations have been well indigenised for people to empathise with the proceedings. Which makes it acceptable.

Twenty seven year old Shona Urvashi has directed this cheerful flick which is not really very different from other commercial ventures but without the crassness and obvious pandering to the gallery. There are songs (Vishal Bhardwaj) extremely pleasant one may add, there are several clichés, but well done, and there are the usual coincidences without which Bollywood cannot function. But all that is set off by the narration, which is refreshing.

Megha is this young thing with dreams of making it big. Wants to be famous, rich and well, really rich! But she comes from an ordinary middle class Maharashtrian family. Her father is a pillar of the income tax department who goes after defaulters with a vengeance. What is worse, he just cannot be bribed. Circumstances make Megha the object of a bet between a fashion world diva and a bar owner — that she can make anyone a star and win the Miss India contest! Naturally Megha is wild with excitement, tells her parents nothing and a lot of stealthy activities goes on with her getting ready for the contest, several nefarious deals being struck in the background. Enters Varun, who chances to meet Megha, thinking that she is Sarika. The merry go round begins with much frolic till its chaotic but engaging end.

In terms of performances quite a few stand out. For starters newcomer Masumi! She is fresh and charming. She plays the role of the giggly girl turning into a true beauty, most disarmingly. Then there is Zulfi Syed who plays Varun. He is every girl's dream — rich, handsome, caring and hardworking! His eyes take care of the romance part very well.

Rathi Agnihotri as the aging diva may never have played such a character before. But she does a great job. Especially when she has to confront the underworld don (Om Puri) who is crazy about becoming famous. The redoubtable Om Puri is as usual good. Dilip Prabhavalkar is the surprise element in the film. Others in the cast are Jayant Kripalani, Tinu Anand, Reema Lagoo, Raj Zutchi (who does a good job too) and Cyrus Broacha.

CHITRA MAHESH

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