StorylineFive girls - Mayuri, Nazneen, Sharon, Nandita and Paroma - from different regions of India have been selected to pose on the cover of India's most prestigious annual calendar, which is a collaboration between a business tycoon Rishabh Kukreja and his photographer friend, Timmy Sen. The movie is a voyeuristic peek into what happens behind-the-scenes and what happens after success and fame are attained.
The movie begins with five very different woman from Rohtak, Kolkata, Hyderabad, London and Goa, all selected as models for a calendar, setting off for Mauritius for their photo shoot. The calendar here is based on the real life Kingfisher Calendar, with Suhel Seth doing a pretty good job playing industrialist Vijay Mallya. After the titles, we follow the lives of the five girls as they try to make their careers after. Though it's not half as good as Page 3 or Fashion, Calendar Girls has its moments. Director Madhur Bhandarkar is at his best when he does an insider's take on what it takes to succeed in the big bad world of Bollywood. Those parts are genuinely amusing and I found myself laughing out loud at times. However, there are parts he gets serious and maudlin and that doesn't work at all. Like the most regressive Hindi film, he would have the Calendar Girl-turned-Escort Girl act all unhappy and remorseful, though her clients are mostly shown to be silly old men who seem to treat her well. With five stories running parallel (and briefly intersecting when one of the girls get married) it's hard to get bored while watching this film. The cast consists almost entirely of unknowns, except for veteran Kiran Kumar, who is excellent in his role as the tycoon, sternly explaining to his daughter in law that unfaithful husbands are part of the grand tradition of corporate India ("parampara"). But in the end, one gets the feeling that Bhandarkar himself didn't take the making of this film too seriously. He plays himself in the film, always a bad sign. The role is substantial, more than just a cameo. Calender Girls borrows heavily from real life (match fixing, right wing protests against Pakistani artists) which works well and gives the whole thing some authenticity.