SMASHING is the first word I had on my lips upon seeing the first rushes of The Dirty Picture's promos with a delicious Vidya Balan... and yes, I am a girl talking about a girl here, but let me make a bet that the seductiveness this chick exudes in the film does somewhere fit with every guy's fantasy.
At the centre of The Dirty Picture's plot is Silk Smitha (played by Vidya Balan), an actress who was an ultimate sex symbol in 1980s south Indian cinema. The lascivious star was a sizzling element of more than 400 Malayalam and later Hindi Bollywood films, one of which was the famed Sadma, starring opposite Kamal Hassan and Sridevi. Smitha's success was short lived despite the wide array of films she left as her heritage, given that she passed away in 1996 at the young age of 35.
The Dirty Picture portrays her rise to fame and her subsequent fall. When innocent Reshma/Silk leaves Madras to become a star, her oozing sensuality gets her where she needs to be in films and sets the box office ablaze. From men who love her (Tusshar Kapoor as Ramakant), to those who lust after her (Naseeruddin Shah playing Ramakant's brother, Suryakant, the superstar), to those who despise what she represents (a cold but compassionate Abraham, played by Emraan Hashmi)... she leaves no man in the industry indifferent!
Milan Luthria has directed a sensible but fictional biopic of a sex-symbol scripted by Rajat Arora, also providing a snapshot of what Hindi cinema was like in the 1980s, with all its kitsch and distinguishable coarseness. One of The Dirty Picture's most successful departments is indeed the work deployed in recreating the 1980s period and the actress' look, with a Vidya Balan who gained weight in order to look bombastic in curve-flattering costumes designed by Niharika Khan. The soundtrack by Vishal-Shekhar captures the 80s sound as smoothly as both musicians had already succeded to do in retro flick, Om Shanti Om, by penning a catchy and epurated adaptation of 80s hit 'Ui Amma' by Bappi Lahiri, called 'Ooh La la', which has become a hit ever since the soundtrack hit the radio circuit.
Sexy, sexier, sexiest. Vidya Balan makes the camera fall in love with her sensuality in every frame, throwing the cinema audience tons of come-hither looks, licking her lips and showing off her oomph factor. There are many actresses and aspiring actresses in Bollywood doing item songs but how many would have embraced such a straightforward and full-fledged sensual role? Vidya struts her stuff with class and succeeds in coming across as the innocent villager, the adulated sensual diva and the spurned and lonely star, all within the same film. I know of no other actress at the moment who I would believe able to carry this off. "All my hats off" to Balan!
Accompanying her are the three actors who play the gentlemen who leave a mark in Silk Smitha's biopic. All the performances are commendable but Naseeruddin Shah absolutely steals the show, not only because of the chemistry he enjoys with the lead actress but for the way in which he perfectly portrays a decadent and lustful star. His performance, dialogue delivery and body language set the perfect tone for each of his scenes and I could not help but hang on to every second of him on screen after having read that this is one of his last movies before he takes his retirement from filmdom.
Though the second half of the film, which focuses on Silk Smitha's spiraling fall from stardom may lag at bits and sadly has several tepid scenes with Tusshar Kapoor, the film in all remains highly recommended for its performances, soundtrack and the time-machine experience of revisiting the 1980s.
TRIVIA: In order to depict a sense of discomfort between the film's two lead characters, Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi, a "meeting of two completely different worlds", Milan Luthria, the director did not allow them to interact and get comfortable with each other during film workshops ahead of the shoot. He only brought them together right into the shoot, filming an important scene, where they had to insult each other. (Source: Wikipedia)
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Directed by: Milan Luthria
Writing credits: Rajat Arora
Cast: Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah
Produced by: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor
Music and lyrics by: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani, Rajat Arora
Singers: Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Kamal Khan, Bappi Lahiri, Rana Muzumdar
Costume Design: Niharika KhanChoreographer: Pony Verma