Riding on the success of his last film Once Upon a time in Mumbai, director Milan Luthria’s Dirty Picture released today. Produced under the banner of ALT Entertainment and Balaji Motion Pictures, the film stars some of the biggest Bollywood names. The trailer and the title indicate that this is an extremely bold film, a genre that is not the forte of the director or the lead actor Vidya Balan. It has already been receiving a lot of publicity especially due to various controversies regarding the story. A film based on the life of the well know sex icon of the South, ‘Dirty Picture’ releases amidst a lot of expectations. Will the film and the actors live up to it?
I would say to an extent yes. The film is the story of a poor village girl Reshma (Vidya Balan) who runs away from home to live her dream of films and stardom. Her hunger for movies overrides her need for food. A plain Jane, she has neither the looks nor the glamour to enter the film industry. Until she discovers her key to success- her sexuality. Being in the right time and the right place gives her a chance to dance on screen. Her moves and expressions earn her the disgust of budding director Abraham (Emraan Hashmi) and the love of well known producer Selvaraj and the audiences. Under the patronage of Selvaraj, ‘Silk’ is born. Her on-screen and off screen performances make her and her films an instant hit with the audiences. With time she realizes that people only love her body. She is considered dirty and cheap. The story goes on to reveal the tragedy of a woman who struggles for recognition, love, acceptance and finally dignity.
The film stands on the feet of Vidya Balan. Ironically, this is one of her best performances after Parineeta. Her boldness on screen is unprecedented and does make the audience squirm a bit, but she is every bit the ‘Silk’ that she plays. Her expressions and moves make her sizzle on screen. Her dialogue delivery, especially at the time of the Awards ceremony is excellent. She is extremely convincing as the vamp.
Naseeruddin Shah plays his part as superstar Suryakant well though his usual charm is missing. Tushar Kapoor as Ramakant delivers better than his last few films. Though he has a small role, he does it well. Emran Hashmi lacked the grit of an angry young man. His hatred for Silk is dull.
Milan Luthria has taken a bold move with this film which in itself earns him some brownie points. The story told through the eyes of Abraham adds weight to the narration. He holds the attention of the audience well throughout the first half. The scene right before the intermission raises the levels of expectation. But they are not met with in the second half. The film starts dragging. Loopholes start appearing. Overall, the story starts losing the attention of the audience. The last song in the film could have been avoided.
Technically, the sets and the costumes do justice to the era in which the film is set. Vidya Balan’s dresses are quite revealing and as Emraan Hashmi mentions in the film “Even children wear more clothes than she does”. Cinematography by Bobby Singh and the choreography are further successful in establishing the 80s look. Vishal Shekar definitely score with Oh la la, but the other tracks are ordinary. The dialogues are infused with innuendoes and those that are not are quite powerful, especially Vidya’s.
Overall, the film is bold and dirty, but there is a heart to this story. It does fall short of the expectations in terms of direction and screenplay in the second half. But Vidya Balan surely exceeds them all. So do watch it for Vidya’s performance.