The Dirty Picture - Review

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

It's dirty and you'll love it. For its wit even if might seem a little over-written. For its nerve even if the after-taste is that of an under-cooked story. For Vidya Balan because she is entertainment!

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Wogma Review

sattaakkk A slap on the audience's face - The Dirty Picture. The lewd men that watch a film just so they can experience Silk's (Vidya Balan) performance are the one's sitting in the audience right now - you and me. Of course, not me as in literally me, because I'm neither a man nor a lesbian. And sure, not all men enjoy a bold woman. But there are enough of us in the audience for whom Silk Smitha starred in 400+ films! And that's just one sex symbol from the 80s. There were others like Nylon Nandini and Polyster Padmini whose lives collectively forms The Dirty Picture's Silk. Even their names make us smirk, and a second later, we snicker at what their personalities stand for. Yet a sizable number from amongst us watch their films.

The Dirty Picture is about a woman who not only flaunts what she has, but knows its value and encashes it unapologetically. She has accepted herself. How many women do you know who are absolutely comfortable with who they are? And I haven't even asked about them being comfortable with their sexuality. In fact, so relaxed is Silk with herself that she makes us uncomfortable.

The Dirty Picture is an uncomfortable watch. How can someone be so positive about doing something that is so dark-gray in society, that it's almost black? And she is making the same society, us, dance. Add to this discomfort, the torture of having to watch flab and the female lead's stomach tiers, in the 21st century. Hell, we are even uncomfortable with our bodies.

But, Silk is uninhibited and so is the director, Milan Luthria. It's a huge risk to make your female lead look ugly and fat. And to say, "You want gratuitous skin-show? Here, take it. And here's some more." You are literally force-fed cleavage to the point that the guy (yes, guy!) sitting behind me said "It's getting boring now" when there is a half-naked woman on the screen.

Yeah, the second half slips. The first half is breezy and completely entertaining. The second half gets too caught up in showing the pathos that comes with stardom. It does leave you with a "She came. She got you excited. She left." But the lull in the second half might be intentional. Because the said pathos however mundane and predictable, needed to be shown. Maybe the line just before the interval is a warning. It's a clever line.

And so is almost every line in the film. The dialogue in "The Dirty Picture" feels like a twitter timeline composed of extremely witty people. Over-written, maybe, but I thoroughly enjoyed the humor, I laughed out loud, and there were instances when the theater laughed after a pause that it took for the line to register. The wit alone is entertainment enough.

I'm not a huge fan of self-referential jokes in our films because they get repetitive. But, The Dirty Picture has one in which it felt like the director has left an extra second or two, like a stand-up comedian, for the audience to "get" it. And it works. It's a huge compliment to both Milan Luthria's confidence and the actor's performance, because it meant that he made us forget who he is.

Similarly, all your awe for the actor that Naseeruddin Shah is vanishes and you want to slap him for his arrogance and sleaze. Tusshar Kapoor plays a forgettable character, and I mean that as a compliment. Because, his character is meant to be unimportant and he plays it well.

Vidya Balan...almost the whole review is a rave about her. She made me feel for a character who I otherwise would have dismissed as characterless.You could see why men would fall for Silk, and not just for her physical boldness. Like films that glamorize underworld dons, she has glamorized our "sex icons" from yesteryears and you don't feel squirmy. Instead, you empathize and even convince yourself that they have been victims. Even though every decision they make towards that dark-gray zone of society is a conscious one.

Sure, the writing must have its merits for the actors to achieve what they did. But, throughout the film, you feel that you are getting snippets of someone's life, like newspaper cuttings. The flow is missing and you just see glimpses of the layers that make Silk an intriguing person. It also felt like this was done knowingly, to add to the enigma that she is. But, it left me wanting to peel off the mask and see the person behind. A feeling of being told an incomplete story. On the other hand, I'm glad they didn't serve me a sappy backstory.

Usually, something lacking in the story would make me recommend a film a little less. But there are other bits in the writing that make up for it in The Dirty Picture. Especially, the climax, not in the way it's played out, but the reason behind why things end the way they do. It's subtle and it flows by swiftly. But it's beautiful and is one of the few things that work in the second half.

Again, those shortcomings still do not take away from the bravado it takes to show a plump woman for 150 minutes; the pluck it takes to make cleavage undesirable (okay, maybe I'm taking it too far, but it makes cleavage look like breasts - a regular part of anatomy); the nerve it takes to tell the story of a woman who people look down upon. Surely, the Silk Smithas of the world are smiling in their graves.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

Looks like you haven't read the review. sigh

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Lots of sexual innuendoes, they go with the story. But are innuendoes nevertheless.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots of sensuous scenes. And Vidya Balan's cleavage is staring you in the face through almost every frame in the scene.
  • Concept: The price of achieving stardom.
  • General Look and Feel: Bright and engaging.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 3.5
  • Lead Actors: 5
  • Character Artists: 2
  • Dialogues: 5
  • Screenplay: 3.5
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 3.5

The Dirty Picture - Movie Details

The Dirty Picture - Trailer

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Comments (5)

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Guddu:

Meetu : story was just the same old concept skin selling for stardom. Vidya is the only factor.

meetu:

@Rohit Thank you! I guess I should try newspapers, huh? :P

@Guddu I liked the dialogue too. The two put together were enough for me. This time. :D

meetu:

@Anand I'm glad at least some of us appreciate what she has done to herself and what she'll have to do now to get the flab off...for our entertainment. :D

@Suman lead actors 3.5?

Anonymous:

nice i think.vidya now roxx for me

Gaurav Gulati:

Vidhya's acting is superb

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