Review: The Dirty Picture

Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture.

The dirty things women do

Rating: **

While most Hollywood-inspired Bollywood films revolve around a wafer-thin plot and break box office records through star power and a chartbuster song, some take realism as a way of life and weave an intrinsic tale around it. Milan Luthria’s The Dirty Picture does neither. It is neither a realistic film focussing on the life of Silk Smitha nor an inspired film. It hogs around taking glimpses from the lives of celebrities including Marilyn Monroe and ends as if the film had nothing else to say. Of course, it didn’t have anything else to say. The film was all about the rise and fall of an exotic actress and that alone fits in the screen.

Can Vidya Balan act? She sure has the looks that was first noticed in Parineeta and then in Guru. Apart from Paa and the hysteric Ishqiya, was there any other film that saw her act? When you play an item dancer, sex appeal alone doesn’t help. You’ve got to be revolting and impulsive. Balan gets the impulsive part right as her dialogues are force-fed with expletives. Luthria has Balan cavorting around lush greens and a field of oranges exposing every part of her body. The guy seated next to me joked “this is a film that should be seen in 3D, not Ra.One!”

We also have Naseeruddin Shah who despite the dyed hair and makeup is easy to be spotted as an old man. We’ve had enough training spotting good old Rajnikanth, that aging cannot escape our eyes. For Shah, this is redemption of his youth. Did he desire to do a film with Smitha back in the eighties?

Tusshar Kapoor arrives as the actor who is least expected to act. All we want him to do is sit in a corner and admire Balan’s beauty. He does the same and often tends to his 80s-like moustache. Emraan Hashmi seems to be improving as an actor. His portrayal of artistic filmmaker Abraham is his best performance ever.

The naivety Balan brings onscreen hangs on to your mind like chewing gum stuck on a shoe. With actors taking the glam route thinking that’ll win them critical praise, I wonder how things are going to be with Bollywood’s glam dolls. Will they have to deglamourize to take the critical praise, or are they like everyone else giving a run for our money.

The Dirty Picture locks horns when it comes to feminine discrimination in cinema. This film believes that women like Silk Smitha chose to discriminate themselves for money, power and undaunted fame. The debate continues…


6 thoughts on “Review: The Dirty Picture

  1. ak47 December 8, 2011 / 06:31

    Well written piece Sharan!
    Vidya Balan is really not cut out for this kind of a role. She is really beautiful and charming, and yes with a lot of sex appeal, but certainly minus the oomph! With her girl-next-door looks, i really don’t think she was the right choice. About the other cast … the less said the better .. especially Tushar Kapoor – he neither has the looks nor any acting capability.

  2. DPKA December 8, 2011 / 07:17

    Sharan, the only reason I’ve been reading your stuff is coz I believe there’s a serious disconnect between you and Indian cinema. You really think the local Indian audience will watch SRK or Hrithik in movies like Up in The Air or Jane Eyre for example. They want Box Office gross and not critical praise. I feel that you need to readjust rating Indian films. On your blog, Indian films are booed while Hollywood is like held high. What is the point in saying stuff like “this film had a concept but failed to materialize.” in the review of Muran. If the film had been the same, no one would have watched it. Indian audience needs constant entertainment. You need to understand that. I’m a filmgoer for the past 15 years. I know that Indian cinema has tried to become Hollywood and has failed big time.

    On Dirty Picture, ak47 is bang on about Vidya not being a suitable candidate for the role. Ishqiya was different. Her femme fatale-like role was good. This one, not so. But, who else do you think can play the role?

  3. Sharan December 8, 2011 / 07:23

    DPKA: “serious disconnect?” The serious disconnect is Indian Cinema and today’s audience. The Next Gen. prefers 90-100 minute films that make it easy for them to enjoy a film. A film enjoyed in parts isn’t a good film overall. I don’t know who would fit the role of Reshma in the film. If you ask me, I’d say Sush Sen cos she’s got that appeal. And yes, it gets frustrating when a movie begins really well and then hangs up on that and becomes a bland commercial entertainer.

  4. Dark Knight December 9, 2011 / 06:27

    Good review Sharan. I notice that you’ve left your sarcasm for Kollywood alone.

  5. Sharan December 9, 2011 / 06:31

    Dark Knight: I’m sarcastic towards a bad movie because I wasted time and money on it. Kollywood? I refer to it as Tamil film Industry.

  6. Mohammed Noushad (@nidsutd) December 16, 2011 / 21:03

    Can Vidya Balan act?….Was that meant to be sarcastic?… If it is,It didn’t come across as such…Anyways i get your point of Vidya not being right for the role as she lacks sex appeal . But the character she is portraying (Silk) was known for her thunder thighs and that made her famous and importantly that is what the audience , The “then generation” got high on . Maybe Vidya portraying thunder thighs doesn’t arouse us because we (Our generation) have moved on to size Zero . My point is Vidya’s Portrayal of the character was spot on even though that very portrayal doesn’t titillate us as intended ,Given her portrayal is a sex siren of the 80’s. Besides , apart from Vidya no one in Hindi film industry could have pulled it off . Definitely not Sushmita Sen , She couldn’t act to save her life in her hey days itself. IMHO Priyamani could have pulled it off with as much aplomb as Vidya and maybe Meera Jasmine to an extent .
    I thought Emraan Hashmi was brilliant in his role , And Tushaar sucked big time , And it was great fun watching Naseeruddin Shah as Surya Kant . The movie was a big let down . Credit to Ekta kapoor for a making a movie like this though .

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