Dir. Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhvi (Konkona Sen Sharma) is a young reporter working the socialite beat. She attends every see-and-be-seen party in Bombay, and describes them in 500-word morsels of vapid fluff turned in each day to her gruff editor Deepak (Boman Irani). Madhvi enjoys the company of her two flatmates: Gayatri (Tara Sharma), an ingenue and aspiring actress, and Pearl (Sandhya Mridul), a cynical flight attendant who aspires only to snag herself a wealthy husband from among the men who frequent the parties that Madhvi covers. Madhvi, for her part, is an idealist, longing to write articles of substance, articles with more meaning than just who was wearing what where. When she prevails upon Deepak to transfer her to a different beat, she is paired with the reluctant Vinayak Mane (Atul Kulkarni), a hard-boiled crime-beat reporter who scoffs at her journalistic ambitions. Life is considerably tougher off the society pages, though, and after a couple of very harrowing encounters, Madhvi uncovers a scandal so big that it threatens both her career and her idealism.
Page 3 begins lightly, as a gruffly wry slice-of-life piece, mingling among the denizens of the rich, famous, and superficial stratum of Bombay's social scene. The film takes a dark turn about two-thirds of the way through, delivering a series of sucker punches - some more telegraphed than others - and ends on an ambiguous note that is part hopeful, part cynical. The ride is interesting enough, driven largely by the strength of Konkona Sen Sharma's performance - she, more than any other young actress I've seen, conveys emotion purely and strongly, inviting the viewer to share her character's raw experience. Some of the other actors turn in good work as well, especially Boman Irani, an understated and very gifted performer of astonishing range. His Deepak, Madhvi's editor, is skeptical yet indulgent of Madhvi, but he is also bound by a system that he doesn't wish to challenge; in the culmination of his interactions with Madhvi, the defeat on his face is heartbreaking. Sandhya Mridul also gives a good performance; she makes the flight attendant Pearl sassy, brassy, and real.
The film does require an investment of patience; it takes a while for the story to get off the ground, and its first half is spent flitting from party to party like one of its socialites, eavesdropping on every superficial conversation. For that reason Page 3 suffers from an inherent weakness of its subject matter - it is a film about shallow, tiresome, tedious people, and the interactions of such people quickly become tiresome and tedious to watch. It is at its strongest when Madhvi is actually experiencing and participating in events around her, rather than merely observing them.