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The Dirty Picture  : Dirty delight!
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Friday, December 2, 2011
Milan Luthria
Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor
The Dirty Picture Movie Stills

It’s ‘Silk’ all the way – love her or hate her, you can’t take your eyes off her!

Ostensibly a biopic of Silk Smitha, the siren who sizzled in the South before being overwhelmed by the pressures of infame, The Dirty Picture is hard-edged yet entertaining.

The plot: Agar bhagwan ne zindagi ek di hai, toh do baar sochna kyoon? The line summarizes the personality of raunchy Reshma, now Silk (Vidya Balan), who lives in a shanty but knows instinctively that she has what men want. She operates proudly out of her basic instincts. Calculations and assessments don’t enter her frame of reference.

She enters the industry to be a star and struggles against the so-called shareef people who call her dirty names but still want her behind closed doors. Eventually she becomes the personality attributed to her, the wet-dream men whistle and hoot at when they see her gyrating on screen. Stardom is a dream come true but it is heady too and Silk succumbs. The slide into living a nightmare comes quick and fast.

After some retaliatory, failed attempts to get up and hit back again, Silk finally gives up.

The good: The writing par excellence by Rajat Arora, is the strongest point of the film. What could have been a drab biopic is transformed by Rajat’s pen into a sparkling series of witty, spunky lines which keep the film’s tempo going. There’s not a dull moment in the movie, especially in the first half.

Certain remarks are sexist and sound demeaning. Sample: when Naseeruddin Shah says, “Ruki hui bus pe chadhne ke liye kyoon bhaag rahe ho,” a crude way of saying Vidya’s character is an easily available target. But then that’s his character and it’s splendidly etched.

The casting is spot-on, the performances, superb. Vidya is outstanding and comes up trumps. Without a jot of vulgarity or cheapness she does complete justice to the role of Silk Smitha. The viewer is left feeling no one could have done it better, that’s the mark of a fine artiste. Naseeruddin Shah delivers another fabulous performance as arrogant superstar Surya.

Emraan Hashmi is slick and convincing as Abraham (a director who’s her biggest foe).

The direction by Milan Luthria leaves a bigger impact than his earlier, much-appreciated OUATIM. TDP is a strong, thought-provoking, yet super- entertaining, female-oriented film in a hero-dominated industry.

The bad: There are a few flaws – certain characters just wander in and out of the story. Like for instance, the guardian (Arundhati Nag) who takes care of Reshma in the city but suddenly disappears from her life and is spotted for a sec towards the end.

Some of the songs, like ‘Honeymoon ki raat’ and ‘Ishq sufiyana’ don’t really take the story forward and could have been cut short.

Another minus: The second half gets melodramatic, a tad repetitive, especially in Silk’s drunken scenes.

Overall: A line from the film says that a good film should have just three key ingredients: “Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment.” This one has all three.

– Pooja Thakkar

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