By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Not often do we get to see a film that purports to blow the lid on the sham and hypocrisy of the film world, and that too one which starts with a proclamation that this is based on the true story of an actress from Bollywood. If so, one feels sorry for the actress.
DREAMS does no justice to anyone's life, least of all the lives whom it tries to recreate in fictional terms.
Unlike great films about the disillusionments of the film industry like Guru Dutt's KAAGAZ KE PHOOL and Ram Gopal Varma's RANGEELA, DREAMS has neither the vision nor the resources to create a virtual world of pain and longing within the given parameters of cinematic expression.
Ashish Chanana falls way short as both a director and leading man. If his expressions in the latter capacity range from A to B, he fares even worse in his other more all-encompassing capacity.
The actor-writer uses the precious space up there to create images that belong to an afternoon soap rather than a true depiction of the dualities that qualify the film industry.
Like Guru Dutt in KAAGAZ KE PHOOL, the filmmaker in DREAMS discovers his muse in a working-class surrounding.
Recall Waheeda Rehman shivering under the tree in the rain when Guru Dutt spots herÖCut to newcomer Neha Pendse who, to be polite, is no Waheeda Rehman.
As callow as the script, the debutante heroine breaks your heart for all the wrong reasons. From the early beginnings of his relationship with his discovery the director-hero is shown to be consumed by the idea of making a 'different' film with his discovery in the lead.
As he puts together his dream, the film falls apart under the pressure of utterly ludicrous charactersÖ like the cheesy financier who on spotting the director's muse on the video monitor desires to 'have her', or the effeminate studio hand who makes a pass at the alarmed Bengali lyricist who offers our hero his 'gaan' (song)...
The plot is scattered with prototypes derived from the film industry. In the absence of a proper treatment they appear as jaded and cartoonish as characters out of the afternoon soaps on Doordarshan, which are watched more as a droll diversion than serious visual art.
Films about the heartbreaks of showbiz are always welcome. But not when they break your heart with a complete lack of vision and basic sensibleness in the treatment.
It's a wonder this film ever got made. It's an even bigger wonder how it made it into theatres.