Pritish Nandy, in his recent article on Dev Anand quoted, “It was Bollywood’s worst kept secret that no one went to watch his movies anymore.” Taking a leaf from the column, I’d like to proclaim, “It’s our nation’s worst kept secret that almost everyone (especially men) must’ve surely watched films from the genre of Kantilal Shah, Tinto Brass & Co., which we euphemistically call, The Dirty Picture.” Milan Luthria’s latest offering, ‘The Dirty Picture’ delves into these forbidden territories albeit maintaining dignity, which isn’t a tough nut to crack (no pun intended).
Vidya Balan essays the role inspired from the real life of Smitha Silk, and showcases her acting prowess through a nuanced gait, mannerism and body language in each frame. She seems a different woman with each leading character, be it Tushar Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, and Emraan Hashmi or even character artists (notice the way she retorts to a guy on his ‘pichkaari’, pecks on the cheek of an adolescent fan, dialogue-baazi with film critic, and interactions with her mentor).
The performance is so strong that it towers over everyone else. The dialogues by Rajat Arora (the writer who left us awe-inspired in ‘Once upon a time in Mumbai), though smartly crafted, desperately try playing to the gallery. The leitmotif, ‘Nakka Mukka’ works, but Ooh La La still hits the highest note. A must-watch film, indeed! The only problem is you might have to lie to your parents after watching it. After all, it’s a dirty picture, isn’t it?