Movie Moment: Dirty Picture

When you see a title with the word “dirty” in it, interest is piqued immediately because the word holds so many connotations.

Does it mean “dirty” as in “base,” “raw” or “evil?” Perhaps, “gritty,” “nasty,” and unclean?” Or maybe still, “bad,” “naughty” or “risqué?” Well regardless of what you thought it was, I’m going to tell you, this title refers to the latter.

Dirty Picture was originally touted as a Hindi biopic film on the life of Southern born actress Silk Smitha. However now, with the huge amounts of controversy and hurdles the film has had to endure, the project is now considered “just an examination of the era.” This, of course, is half-true, being that was the central goal of the project but Smitha was the vehicle, using her life and struggles to explore the seedy side of the industry in the 1980’s. The Times of India describes it thus;  “The Dirty Picture will not focus on the sleaze but the tragedy behind the mask of the sex symbol who provided titillation to thousands of viewers but died a lonely and tragic death.” The film is produced by Ekta and Shobha Kapoor and directed by Milan Luthria. (If you’d like to know more about Silk Smitha or more details about the inspiration of the film, feel free to read these recent articles — 1, 2).

Synopsis: Depicts the rise and fall of a South Indian actress— a young South Indian girl begins as a lowly makeup artist and becomes the most sought after actress of her time. (Though the film is said to take a step back from Smitha’s life, the premise will most likely remain.)

Trailer: The Dirty Picture

Release: The film is slated for release on December 2, Silk Smitha’s birthday.

Cast: Vidya Balan (Eklavya, Ishqiya) will be playing the main role of the sex pot Tamil actress, while international actor, Nasserudin Shah (Umrao Jaan, Monsoon Wedding) dons the role of an aging South Indian superstar. Other co-stars are Emraan Hashmi (Gangster, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai) Tusshar Kapoor (Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai,  the Golmaal franchise) as Balan’s scriptwriter love interest.

The cast as a whole is pretty solid and I can’t wait to see Vidya in this role. Every photo showcases a purposeful over-the-top pose or expression, which I just love. I believe that this will be yet another solid, career making venture for her. At this point, she is probably my favorite and most admired actress in her generation, for I believe her passion for acting is deep and genuine. Shah is never a disappointment. He seems to be portraying a womanizing old man, on his last leg in the industry. From the stills, it also seems that times haven’t changed much, for he will be paired in films with the young Balan character, whom I’m certain is half his age. I honestly relish seeing him trying to romance her onscreen and off. Tusshar and Vidya look well together visually and though I have never been “blown away” by his performance,he comes across as a love-sick puppy, ripe for the manipulation of an ambitious woman. Hashmi’s character is the least spoken of in the press but he appears to have a very heady, sultry chemistry with Balan, that definitely piques my interest as to where his character stands in her relation to her.

Thoughts: The purpose and the person of this film interest me because the underbelly of cinema is rarely “exposed.” I won’t say that I believe that there will be a large amount of that undertaken in this film, but I do believe it will reveal certain aspects of the genre and those involved, that hasn’t been discussed before or ever. Females in the film industry, and especially an industry surrounded around male pleasure, have compelling and remarkable stories to tell.

Silk Smitha was infamous for her looks and her career but was snuffed out rather quickly. Though her specialty was more in the way of tantalizing films, she reminds me of Marilyn Monroe. She was a woman that had a greater story and more insightful personality than bouncy hair and breasts or red pouty lips. And though her name was synonymous with sexual proclivities, I’m positive her (personal) life  was not.

Ultimately, this film is going to be a glimpse into the ’80’s and all we loved and laughed about (for those of us that we around to experience it). The costuming is flamboyant and bright, the hair is curly and wild, the bell-bottoms, not quite out of style. The film seems to be a humorous, tongue-in-cheek entertainer, with a backdrop of the poignant. I’m not positive that the film will live up to all it hopes to be but I think it will make a few strides in the right direction.

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