Sunday, December 04, 2011
#250: The Dirty Picture
The Dirty Picture from the house of Ekta Kapoor is a departure from the average Bollywood flick in many ways. For one, its central character is a lady. And then it's a biopic- another rarity and then there's a thorough lack of starpower- the big guns that is. And yet the theater I saw the film in seemed to be bowled over by the film. Perhaps, that's why they always say if there's a good story to tell, there's always an audience.
The film stars Vidya Balan as its lead who pays a character named Silk - an ambitious small-town girl who runs off to Chennai to become an actress. Silk takes time to warm up to the ways and methods of tinsel town but a five minute sensual appearance opens the doors of fame for her. And once she's there she doesn't hesitate to give physical favors to the number 1 star Suryakanth played brilliantly by Naseeruddin Shah to extract more roles. Surya is maried but is known to have extra-married liaisons and for sometime one can't make out who between the two is taking the other for the ride. These are the portions of the film that are most interesting for their risque but effortlessly witty dialogues. The screenplay by Rajat Arora scores point after point till the interval. Milan Luthria brings the period of the 80s alive through some masterful direction and etches out the characters of both Silk and Surya with tremendous conviction.
Enter the second act of the movie and making a mark is Emraan Hashmi who plays Abraham, an arty director who doesn't have any friends in the industry who support his kind of filmmaking. Abraham doesn't approve and openly declares his dislike for Silk. Abraham is a character that comes alive in the second half and also allows Luthria to add an interesting sub-plot of conflict between Silk and Abraham. Tushar Kapoor the third male lead, with his weak acting skills once again raises the dirty question if he would've got acting offers if not for his sister. Rajesh Sharma on the other hand delivers a key supporting part with susbtance. So far so good but where The Dirty Picture loses its plot is a melodramatic last fifteen minutes. The slow motions and the heightened depression do nothing emotionally for the audience.
That said, The Dirty Picture is one of the better Hindi films of the year. It is flamboyant filmmaking with substance. At its core lies Vidya Balan who glitters in a challenging role and almost steals the show from Naseer. The film in itself doesn't have too many moments of slack and is largely entertaining. Take a bow - Rajat Arora and Milan Luthria, you dared to be different and have clearly made a film that people won't forget in a hurry.