Sunday, December 04, 2011

Review: The Dirty Picture

The writer throws his story "Sir, the hero then cracks the ribs of 20 people with a single punch".
The ageing superstar replies "This wont work at all. There is no sword fight scene in the climax"
"But Sir, the hero is a Police Officer. From where will he get a sword?"
"Hmm, you have a point here. Then he can have the sword as some ancestral heirloom"
"But Sir, how can he have a heirloom? Our hero is an orphan."
"Orphaned heroes are so 60s! The public doesn't want this anymore. They want change. Give him a family. Give him a sister. Give her Izzat and then get her raped.Now that is a story!"
"Fantastic Sir, Superhit! This movie will be a guaranteed superhit!"

More than anything else, The Dirty Picture is a tribute to the 80s. Where the heroes were Gods, heroines were plus ones, movies were peppered with garish sets, over the top costumes, cliched story lines, cheesy dialogues, vulgar dances, suggestive songs and testosterone filled unbelievable fight sequences. The absolute pits of Bollywood history. And its a treat to watch Milan Lutharia's Dirty Picture just to recapture these  bizarre times.

A biopic is based loosely on the life of South Indian sex siren 'Silk' Smita. The rags to riches story of a woman ahead of her times and the inevitable downfall is the central plot. A woman who unabashedly used her body and sexuality to titillate and shake the morality of a shallow society. Reshma, played by Vidya Balan, is a small time extra on movie sets whose gyrations and potential are discovered by a keen eyed producer. She is offered an 'item number' with Surayakant (Nasseruddin Shah), an aging leading man, whose growing paunch and greying hair are no deterrent to romance girls half his age. The ambitious and sharp Reshma, who is now rechristened Silk, capitalizes on the window of opportunity using Suryakant as a launchpad to catapult her life into a tailspin of sex, success and stardom.

Abaraham (an uber cool Emraan Haashmi), is an intelligent director who wants to make meaningful and thought provoking movies. The meteoric rise of 'cheap' Silk overlapping his own 'grey cells' driven career is a reason strong enough for him to hate Silk to his last breath. Suryakant continues to use Silk to quench his thirst for sex and desire for success. Suryakant's brother, Ramakant ( Tushaar Kapoor ) is an aspiring script writer, who is madly in love with the voluptuous dancer. These three men form the triangle of love, sex and deceit around Silk.One cannot decide if she is a victim or an opportunist. Its inevitable truth that an inexorable and quick rise is followed by a dark and quicker downward spiral. Silk continues to get dragged into a life of alcohol, lust, exploitation, heart break, failure, bankruptcy, loneliness and eventually death.  

The movie is a brave effort to be different. Is it a classic? No. It has his baggage of lapses. The second half is a drag with several unnecessary scenes like a catfight with another item girl, out of place dance sequence, extended drama-bazi at an awards function. The screenplay is at times tardy and predictable. In terms of performances, Nasseruddin Shah effortlessly carries the role of the age defying hero and Emraan Hashmi always manages to grab and deliver interesting roles. Tushaar Kapoor is easily replaceable and sticks out as a sore thumb amongst a host of capable actors, managing to eke out a role just because of  big sis! The music is catchy and relevant, especially the chartbuster from Bappi Da!

There are two things that stand out in the movie. Firstly, the dialogues by Rajat Arora. They are sharp, heavy, bucolic and in the face:the 80s in a nut shell. From crackerjackers like  "Agar upar wale ne neeche itna kuch diya, to thoda share karne mein kya jata hai" and "Public samaan dekhne ati hai, dukaan nahi", every other dialogue is a riot. The second and the pivotal part of this movie is Vidya Balan. She has managed to define a new range of characters for herself in Bollywood, be it the dogged mother in Pa, the femme fatale in Ishqia, the plain jane sister in NOKJ or the glamorous Silk in The Dirty Picture. She single handedly carries the movie on her heaving cleavage and thrusting pelvis. She lives and breathes fire into Silk with a passion unseen before and sets a new bar amongst today's heroines. The cookie cutter class of Deepikas and Katrinas look so childish and incapable in front of Vidya. She is no doubt going to bull doze all the award ceremonies next year.

Its great to see that over the last few years, Bollywood is not afraid to try new ideas and brave new frontiers. Add this to its list of movies carving a new niche for Hindi films. Go watch the movie, for Vidya and definitely for the Dialogue baazi!