WBRi Movie Review: Dirty Picture (2011) Bollywood Hindi Film Oozing Oomph in Every Bit

Indian Actress Vidya Balan in Dirty Picture

Poster of Indian Actress Vidya Balan in Dirty Picture

Calcutta, December 3, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio/ Penning Creations): It’s a story of survival, ambition, love and deceit...sounds pretty plain! But not quite so. When it celebrates women who are “bad” but rule the (wet) dreams of men, it’s sure to turn heads! Milan Luthria’s Indian Hindi movie Dirty Picture (2011) is not just about the 80’s sex siren Silk Smitha but it is also about those who followed her suit, the lesser known Rayon Revathis and the Cotton Kaveris!

Trailer - The Dirty Picture (2011)

As a semi-biopic, The Dirty Picture sure comes across as quite a believable recreation of a bygone era.  The retro feel, splashes of kitsch, vintage cameras, the Maruti 800s and Premiere Padminis set a perfect backdrop for the movie that traces the journey of a Southern sex goddess through her rise and fall. It’s a filmi start where Reshma, a not-so-attractive village belle flees to Madras to become a star, comes to realize that sex is an all-time bestseller, meets a film producer dying to make it big and ends up being an actress in soft-porn movies. This is the birth of Silk, the sensuous, sassy, dare-bare pin-up girl who gets into a fling with a waning superstar. She enjoys her moments of stardom and success but a few steps gone wrong and she’s down to the ditches.

Though it is a well-known graph for most actresses in the 80’s, Rajat Arora’s script lends to it a kind of freshness that leaves us with no rooms for complain…well, almost.  The innuendos and double entendres spice up the movie as much as the steamy and titillating Vidya Balan does. Even the scene-flow, drama and dialogue are true-blue filmi. Yet the carefully crafted script fails to satisfy someone who is looking for a detailed character development.

From someone who was once a favorite dartboard for the media to carp on her sartoric sensibilities, Vidya Balan has turned into one of media’s favorite child since her Ishqiya days. With movies like No One Kiled Jessica, Paa and now, The Dirty Picture in her kitty, she can easily give her male counterparts a run for their money.  In Dirty Picture, the ballsy Vidya shows no qualms about wearing her sensuality on her sleeves. With plunging necklines, come-hither looks and those extra flabs showing through her tight-fitted costumes, Vidya keeps it strikingly easy on eyes. It’s a role that walks on the fine line of sensuous and vulgar and could have been easily messed up with. But, Vidya plays her part flamboyantly and with such grace that the skin-show doesn’t seem sleazy.

Naseeruddin Shah plays the lecherous superstar Suryakant and plays it confidently well.  Tusshar Kapoor as Suryakant’s brother Ramakant who is hopelessly in love with Silk just about manages to keep her producer sister Ekta Kapoor’s faith in him. But if looking for more offers to come his way, sorry Tusshar, you should’ve put in more effort!  Emraan Hashmi does not disappoint us, though! He is appropriate as a dedicated and puritan filmmaker who does not believe in skin-fests. But then again, how can we ever imagine Emraan without his lips doing the talking? So, he does kiss and also lands up in a surprisingly misplaced song sequence (Ishq Sufiyana) with the seductress he hates. Other casts like Rajesh Sharma playing the South producer and Anju Mahendroo, the venom-spewing journalist are good.

One thing that The Dirty Picture can easily boast of is the art direction that perfectly recreates the 80’s. Costumes are designed by Niharika Khan who makes sure that cleavages and midriffs make peek-a-boo in every single frame that captures Vidya. Naseeruddin Shah gets to don some of the most ridiculous costumes that breathe oh-so-Jeetendra!  Vishal-Shekhar’s music has already taken the Ooh la la number to anthemic heights while the Tamil Nakka Mukka, Honeymoon Ki Raat and the naughty Twinkle Twinkle keeps it true to the spirit of the movie. But how we wish the blaring background score wouldn’t threaten our hearing abilities!

Nevertheless, a total entertainer, as promised, The Dirty Picture is sure watchable and with pleasure that is. The feisty Balan makes sure that you have the cake and eat it too!

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