To start with, Vidya Balan is a superb actor and she puts across a brave and unrelenting portrayal of Silk. (Try YouTubing Silk Smitha and you’ll know why this movie is called The Dirty Picture.)
However, that’s all there is to the movie. It’s almost as if nothing else matters.
Naseeruddin Shah who plays a fictional South Indian actor Suryakant portrays his character with panache; being kitsch and narcissist, as he is expected to be. Nevertheless, I feel that there s actually no male lead at all in the movie that reflects the exact ethos of Silk’s character. Tusshar plays a character which has probably been modelled on how he is in real life – he is submissive, meek and is overawed by the presence of a stronger, elder sibling. Emraan Hashmi plays the anti-hero who hates Silk only to end up loving her in the end. He is also our narrator and has surely matured immensely as an actor. But as I said before, none of that matter.
This isn’t a biopic. Indian filmmakers struggle at the genre, and I am glad that the makers of this one gladly accept its more masala than anything else. The movie goes through the predictable rise and fall of the protagonist and her interactions with all sorts of people – gossip-loving journalists, soft-porn directors and a competitor name Shakeela amongst others. The film doesn’t have horrible stereotypes and they have created the 80s pretty well done with a lot attention given to detail (not as expansive as Once upon a time in Mumbaai though).
Vishal-Shekhar’s music is brilliant and songs such as ‘Ooh la la’ have been shot very well. The music manages to capture the exact flavor of the film and complements its feel perfectly. Using the South Indian hit, ‘Nakka Mukka’ was a great idea and had the audience pumped up whenever it played.
There is a part of me which can’t help but draw comparisons between this movie and Paul Thomas Anderson’s modern-classic Boogie Nights. The soundtrack was a mashup of a lot of soundtracks you have already heard. Still, in terms of production value this movie is brilliant. It does manage to catch the viewer’s attention for most parts but then the weak link that connects everything together makes it a drab watch for a lot of people. Yes, the mass appeal is there but the class appeal loses itself somewhere in the cleavage of the unnecessarily lengthy script. Again, I expected a lot more from this one. However, Vidya Balan has managed to convince me that Indian female actors can go beyond the whole dumb, pseudo-blonde portrayal when it comes to being sexy and that is what I loved the most.