If you are allergic to common sense, attracted to jerks, and usually manage to leave people gobsmacked by the fact that you were born a human and not a sparrow, there is a dearth of role models for you. The rest of the world may stereotype you as an idiot, but not Mr Madhur Bhandarkar. So for films on end, he has offered you life hacks on how to have the intelligence of a door knob and still be a reporter, a corporate honcho, a supermodel and an actress among others.
Through watershed tragedies -- like sleeping with a married man, sleeping with a man who may also sleep with gay men, sleeping with a black man, sleeping with an old man -- the said life students end up as strong human beings, i.e humans with no make-up make-up. In very extreme cases, they may end up dead or in a salwar kameez.
Just when Bhandarkar thought that he has covered almost all the bases, Vijay Mallya went bankrupt. Oh my god, what will happen to all these women who want to be on calendars? Who will see them through the cruel world of gossipy drivers, Suchitra Pillai and the effeminate gay designer? And thus Calendar Girls was born.
If by some strange conspiracy of good taste, sheer luck and better weekend planning, you haven't managed to catch Calendar Girls in the theatre, we have culled the important lessons from the film. Pay attention if you want to be a super calendar girl.
- Who knew a Madhur Bhandarkar film could be a covert statement against casteism? If you have great pride in your surname or if your surname is of any utility to you, you can't be a great calendar girl. Because, chances are, the words 'Calendar Girl' will be your surname, resume, identity and superpower. Yes, superpower. After all, if you are as irritating as the girls in the Bhandarkar film, you need some kind of superpower to prevent average humans around you from locking you up in a bathroom.
This is how introductions in Calendar Girls go: "Hi I'm Paroma, Calendar Girl." "Hi, I'm Sharon, Calendar Girl." "Hi, I'm Nazneen, Calendar Girl."
Brownie points, if you have a friend, father, boyfriend, colleague, who introduces you thus. For example, "Meet my sister XYZ, calendar girl." The downside is, you may start to make the words 'calendar girl' sound as distressful as the words 'traffic jam' or 'contact customer service' to the people around you.
- This may not have occurred to you, but you should be able to perform choreographed dances and lip sync on beaches while shooting for the calendar. Yes, it doesn't suffice that you hug a rock like it's Fawad Khan's shoulders or bathe an elephant like he is David Beckham, you also have to dance and sing.
The dancing bit mostly involves writhing and occasionally looking at the camera like you want to have the lens for lunch, but that's still a lot of work girl.
Whatever America's Next Top Model told you about not fidgeting in front of the camera is a big, fat lie. The more 8s you draw in the air with your body, the better you get as a model.
- Never choose a non-weird person to socialise with. A great example of the kind of person a 'calendar girl' should mingle with is Suchitra Pillai in every Madhur Bhandarkar film. In this one, she introduces two people as thus.
"Meet Nandita, calendar girl."
"Meet XYZ, millionaire and impulsive."
And cautions about adulterous husbands with a totally convincing assertion: "Trust me, I'm a wife."
That way, you don't have to be under pressure to say anything relevant or useful in ever your life. Who knows then, like in the film, you may land a husband with a stud farm and a private jet.
- If you are a Pakistani Muslim woman who has fled the country, trust me, just give up your calendar girl dreams. When fellow calendar girls are not frying your brain by asking probing questions like 'Pakistan mein bhi ladkiyan yeh sab karti hai (Do girls in Pakistan do these things?)', a jilted ex boyfriend will be accusing you of being a prostitute.
Your life anyway is quite unbearable given that you are stuck between someone who lives under a rock and a hard place where girls haven't discovered the internet. To add insult to injury, you will, indeed turn into a prostitute since you won't get work. And before you can say, "WTF" you will also be knocked down by a car. You may be a supermodel who can sleepwalk in stilettos, but according to Bhandarkar, there will be a fearful day when you will be a deer caught in stilettos in the headlights. And you know what happens to deer in our country, right? (Google Salman Khan, duh!)
- However, there's light at the end of the runway. If you don't want to get duped by a cricketer boyfriend or have your your career sabotaged by a lusty agent, there's a solution. Forget what the science books taught you, start considering Madhur Bhandrakar, and not the theory of gravity, the greatest and most useful discovery the world has made.
The only Calendar Girl of the five who gets anywhere in life in the film without her world falling apart says she is a virgin. And a Madhur Bhandarkar fan. Oh, come that's just a coincidence.
At one point, I feared she would say that the country's national anthem should be changed to 'Fashion Ka Jalwa'. That's the kind of commitment to Bhadarkar you should be aiming for. Then, life will be one easy catwalk!