Movie Review: THE DIRTY PICTURE by FENIL SETA

Ekta Kapoor is creating waves in the world of celluloid. Post-Love Sex Aur Dhokha, her films have become synonymous with entertaining but intellectual cinema. Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, Shor In The City, Ragini MMS and now with The Dirty Picture, the czarina of TV shows has firmly consolidated her position in Bollywood. Her latest release, The Dirty Picture, promised loads of excitement and as Vidya says in the promos, entertainment, entertainment and entertainment! Thankfully, the film fulfills all expectations! However, those expecting solely entertainment might be in for disappointment as the film also throws light on the tragic fall of the reigning queen, portrayed beautifully by Vidya Balan. And this I feel is the beauty of the film. Easily, one of the finest films of 2011!

The story of the movie: Reshma (Vidya Balan) is a small town girl who has come to Madras to try her luck in films. After several rejections later, she lands a miniscule role in a film produced by Selvaganesh (Rajesh Sharma) and directed by Abraham (Emraan Hashmi). Surprisingly, she gets noticed by one and all for her seductive moves and is one of the chief reasons behind the film’s success. Selvaganesh renames her ‘Silk’ and signs her opposite the superstar Surya (Naseeruddin Shah). Already in love with Surya since years, Silk uses her charm to seduce him into bed. On the other hand, her fan base goes on increasing with each film. 2 more men enter Silk’s life – Surya’s brother Ramakant (Tusshar Kapoor) and Abraham, the same director in whose film she got a break and who hates him the most! How Silk fights her way to the top but sadly soon goes on downhill forms the crux of the story.

The Dirty Picture moves at a feverish pace, thereby keeping you hooked from start to finish. The Dirty Picture, like Madhur Bhandarkar’s Fashion and many other such films follow the same pattern – a small town girl wanting to make name and fame in the big bad world of cinema finally does so after a series of failures and rejections but success goes into her head, resulting in her fall. The Dirty Picture too goes the same route except that the protagonist’s character was much more refined and relatable. Silk was unabashed, unapologetic and unpredictable. You never know how she’ll react to situations. Her seductive moves and expressions are to die for! She cares two hoots about the society and what people think about her…that’s what it seems. But deep inside, she yearns to be accepted and yes, she years for true love as well. And that’s what make you fall in love with Silk!

The film is deftly handled and the brilliant script and dialogue was like an icing on the cake. Several scenes make a deep impact. Whether its Reshma’s first break, Abraham and Surya’s entry, Silk’s explosive speech at the awards function (one of the best scenes of the film…or rather Hindi cinema!) or the last 25 minutes and many such scenes are very well treated, some even giving goosebumps! And as the promos suggested, the oomph factor is at an all time high but it doesn’t get vulgar or cheap at any point.

Any blemishes? Unfortunately, yes. 2 songs in the second half – Honeymoon Ki Raat and Ishq Sufiyana could have been done away with. The former’s picturisation was too tacky and I wish the scene could have been shot in a different manner with a different situation altogether. The latter is undoubtedly a beautiful song but acted as an obstacle as it comes at a point when we really are curious to know what happens next. This also reminds me, Vidya-Emraan love track was brilliant but it was too hurried in the beginning. Abraham, who hated Silk like anything, suddenly fell for her…a little hard to digest!

The film belongs to Vidya Balan all the way, even though the male actors put in their best foot forward. This was a very challenging role undoubtedly. The character was required to be fat but voluptuous, make extremely seductive moves and wear a little tacky but revealing costume. Even the hottest of the actresses might have developed cold feet but Vidya took the challenge and excelled wonderfully! As per her character’s requirement, she was as HOT as she can be but she rocked even in the emotional sequences. She has performed diverse roles throughout her 6-year film career, but The Dirty Picture is unlike anything she has done before. And glad to see everyone praising her bold act. I’ve always been a die-hard fan of Vidya since Parineeta and was upset to see her being in the news for her awkward clothes rather than her beautiful performances. But she came out of it and how! Today, she has carved a niche for herself and The Dirty Picture is another feather in her cap! Great work and keep rocking VB!

Naseeruddin Shah looked funny in his get up but was totally in the skin of his character. He’s extremely paranoid about dancing but in The Dirty Picture, he danced effortlessly! And Vidya-Naseer chemistry was sizzling! Emraan Hashmi was as usual terrific and it’s a pleasure to see the actor performing diverse roles in each of his films with ease. Tusshar Kapoor too put his best foot forward. However, his role was too short and wished we could have seen more of him! Anju Mahendru (as journalist Nyla) was terrific! Rajesh Sharma (as Selvaganesh) was natural. The actor has now become a regular in Vidya’s films (Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica and now The Dirty Picture). Arya Banerjee (Shakeela) was strictly okay. Other actors – Shivani Tanskale (Surya’s wife), Mangal Kenkre (Reshma’s foster-mother), Neha Bam (Reshma’s biological mother), Navin Gothi (Silk’s die-hard fan) and Brajkishore Tiwari (porn filmmaker) do a great job as well.

Vishal-Shekhar’s music was high on energy and needless to mention, Ooh La La is the best song of the lot. Not only beautifully song and composed, the track is well filmed as well, especially Naseer-Vidya romancing while oranges roll down the hill. Excellent! Vijay Anthony’s background score was energetic, especially the Tamil flavor-induced Naku Muka theme! Bobby Singh’s cinematography was topnotch. Sets (by Priya Suhas) were flawless and bore the stamp of the 80s.

Rajat Aroraa’s story, screenplay and dialogues were the winner of the film! Story was watertight while screenplay was highly efficient. Dialogues were clapworthy and It’s a pleasure to hear dialogues that border on sexuality but worded in a witty and aesthetic manner! The writer shined in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and does the same good job in The Dirty Picture as well! Great work!

Milan Luthria, after the super successful OUATIM shines once again here. This was no easy film to execute but Milan gets it right in all aspects – be it the pace, style, content or the mood and lifestyle of the 80s. Especially the latter was well treated…the time when there was a huge gap between what the critics said and what moviegoers liked! However, what also impresses about The Dirty Picture is the prejudice that we have against the sexy sirens of cinema. Just 2 days ago, Parmeshwar Godrej, on the occasion of World AIDS Day, rightfully said, “We consider ourselves a ‘conservative’ country, but to me that’s just a euphemism for hypocrisy and double standards.” We love watching sex-based films, sex and lovemaking scenes gets the maximum views on YouTube but when it comes to giving our take on actresses like Mallika Sherawat, we never have a good thing to say about them. The Dirty Picture criticizes this mindset and especially for that, the film deserves kudos!

Some of the best scenes:
1. Reshma and Abraham’s entry
2. Reshma’s first role
3. Reshma shocked to see her role chopped off
4. Silk’s first interaction with Surya
5. Viewers leave after Silk’s song is over
6. Silk hides in Surya’s bathroom
7. Silk receives award
8. Silk visits her mother
9. Ramakant narrating his story to Surya
10. Silk dances in front of Nyla’s house
11. Silk-Abraham get closer
12. Silk conned by porn filmmaker
13. The climax

On the whole, The Dirty Picture is a fine piece of cinema that would surely entertain its audience. Apart from titillating sequences and songs, it has a beautiful story to tell and that’s where it excels the most. Performances are mind-blowing and Vidya rocks like anything! Surely, one of the best films of the year! Go for it! Get DIRTY!

My rating-**** out of 5!

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7 Comments

  1. Yakuza
    Yakuza
    December 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Good Review Fenil. Thanks !!

  2. Manish
    Manish
    December 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    wow 4/5 highest rating from any NG user so far.. ..

  3. Rahul
    Rahul
    December 3, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    @fenil…2nd half was well-paced, really ??

  4. Shalu
    Shalu
    December 3, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Get dirty indeed! :D Have just come back after watching the movie and my rating is 4/5 too. I LOVED it! Just Lurrrrved it :D

    And not because Vidya is my favourite actress, it really is a smashing film. Even my friend who didn’t want to watch it in the first place loved it as much as I did. In fact we both found the 2nd half too very good – okay it was less ‘fun’ than the first half but a film is not only about laughs.

    I agree with your review word for word. Good to see Vidya finally getting her due

  5. tony montana
    tony montana
    December 4, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    i liked it too.. and my respect towards vidya hs tripled after seeing,she mustbe admired for chosing this bold role and giving every thing for it..
    but i felt that the one liners get lil tedious after one point.. the dialogues that start with silk became monotonous after some time .. also felt emraan hashmi – vidya’s track a little forced.. but aside few blemishes this was mostly entertaining…
    ranbir – rockstar
    vidya – DP
    the best leadng actor and actress of this year fo me..

    my rating – 3.25 stars…

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