Sex, sleaze, and The Dirty Picture

The Dirty Picture proves that sex does sell - there isn't a dull moment in the entire movie.

Sami Saayer December 08, 2011

Some people watch a movie for its elegance, good acting, and high production value. Others watch it for the sleaziness, skin display, and controversy. How often do you get both sides and leave the theatre satisfied, thinking "Wow, I got great value for my money"?

In the words of Silk Smitha, a film works for three reasons; entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. This is exactly what Milan Luthria's The Dirty Picture is - entertainment. Having said as much, I must admit that it is a movie for an adult audience who is mature enough to handle the kind of humour and exposure this movie has to offer.


The Dirty Picture is the story of a South Indian actress, Reshma, popularly known as Silk. Rajat Arora’s script keeps flirting with the glamour of showbiz and the bitter realities faced by a girl who runs away from home to become an actress. The film aims at showing that sex sells despite the massive criticism on the amount of exposure in Bollywood theatre. Even though the storyline is a rather predictable tale of the rise and fall of a female actor and what happens in between, the performances make this movie a thoroughly enjoyable watch.

There are two more things that make The Dirty Picture stand out amongst other recent films. First is the outstanding background score; from the evergreen 'Naka Mukka' to the entertaining ‘Ooh Lala’ and SFX - the background music is simply superb. Secondly, the fiery dialogue is probably the best thing in the entire film. The viewer is exposed to one jewel after another, so much so that you cannot even keep count of them. Here are some of my favourites:

Phal agar bara hai tou zaroori nahin hai ke meetha bhi ho (Just because a fruit is big doesn't mean it will be also be sweet.)

Jawani taste karnay ke liye hoti hai, waste karnay ke liye nahin (Youth is to be tasted, not wasted.)

Jab devi saamne ho tou mandir ke darshan kaun karay? (When the goddess is in front of me, why would I worship the temple?)

Dialogue aside, Bobby Singh’s cinematography is first rate. Even though he was an unexpected choice, The Dirty Picture is his best work to date. When you have to show skin, it’s a tough job to still stay classy, and Singh has nailed it. This is especially true in the remarkable way an overweight Vidya Balan has been portrayed.

In addition to this, the movie is inundated with powerful performances. It’s not very easy to find Emran Hashmi in a bearable role. I don’t know why a talented actor like him wastes himself in his "serial kisser" movies. It was once again Milan Luthria who brought the best out of Hashmi after Once Upon A Time in Mumbai. Believe it or not, Tushaar Kapoor, too is bearable. Every single supporting character has done a fabulous job.

And then comes Naseer Uddin Shah. Who else could have given a better performance than him as the ageing, malicious actor? He gets into the skin of the character of Surya and does a splendid job of it, despicable and convincing.

Last but not least is Filmfare worthy Vidya Balan; what a powerhouse of an actress! She started the year with No One Killed Jessica and has ended it with The Dirty Picture - two totally contrasting roles in which she has delivered beyond expectations. In one she was a nerdy home-grown nonentity and in the other she is the sex symbol of the industry, calling herself 'entertainment', and boy, has she excelled in both the roles. Watch out for her award ceremony speech, her early scenes with Naseer, and the climax which is easily the best female lead performance in 2011.

The real hero of The Dirty Picture, however, is Milan Luthria. How far has he come from the Kachhe Dhaage days? Lets just say that if he was very good in Once Upon A Time in Mumbai, he is even better in The Dirty Picture. He has a complete grip on the screenplay, taking out the best from the actors no matter how small their roles are, creating an 80s atmosphere while still looking totally different from Om Shanti Om and Action Replay - Luthria has exceeded expectations. For me, all this makes the sequel of Once Upon A Time in Mumbai the most anticipated movie of 2012.

The Dirty Picture hardly has one dull moment. It does get a bit slow when it goes to the soft side of Vidya and Emran, but that too remains an integral part of the storyline. Do keep in mind the 18+ rating of the film before going to the theatres and keep the expectations on those lines. You're in for a real treat.

This post originally appeared here.

Sami Saayer A Dubai based Pakistani looking for excuses to write.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.