Monday, December 12, 2011

The Not-So-Perfect Picture

'The Dirty Picture' (TDP) displays the usual disclaimer in the beginning about it being a work of fiction and any similarity between a character and a person living or dead being coincidental. But everybody knows that it is not just inspired by, but based largely on the life of Silk Smitha who dominated the South Indian film industry with her overt sensuality and uninhibited performances in the eighties and part of nineties. Vidya Balan brings alive the magic of the voluptuous Silk on the screen with a lot of substance--literally and metaphorically--she even put on some weight for this role.

Reshma, who is a poor village girl renamed as Silk in the industry, is bent on making it big in films, her plain looks and lack of polish notwithstanding. Similarly, Vidya the actress has left no stone unturned in her portrayal of the somewhat complex Silk, who likes to shock people with her outrageous costumes and unconventional behaviour; but is uncouth (crude language, frequent winking) and childlike when it comes to her longing for being accepted by her estranged mother. We first see her as an unattractive young woman in a half-saree and ill-fitting blouses, sporting hair that has been oiled, combed and tied tightly. Then she metamorphoses into a glamorous film star. Vidya carries all this with elan, looking comfortable in the gaudy costumes and cheap jewellery, dancing with abandon on the garish sets surrounded by unusual props.

If there is anything that does not go well with all this, it is her dancing co-star Suryakant, played by a mousy Naseeruddin Shah. Though ageing, Suryakant is supposed to be a flamboyant superstar...and Naseer hardly looks like one. An actor of his calibre has been wasted in this role. He is not only a misfit, but has been reduced to a mere caricature, throwing tantrums around the sets and having his way by terrorising everybody. In contrast, a subdued Emraan Hashmi is quite convincing in his role of a serious director who does not want to give in to popular tricks to make his film a hit. Tusshar Kapoor is tolerable, to say the least. But who impressed me the most among the men is Rajesh Sharma who plays the street smart producer Selva Ganesh. His rule book is fairly flexible and he is there to make money. And he has no qualms about it. His character has nice shades of grey that he conveys very well.

A film like this that has such a sensitive substance at its core has an additional responsibility of rising above it lest it be accused of using the subject matter to its advantage...exposure in this case. And I am not sure if the film gets a clean chit on that. Also, as a film that tells the story of a star who was famous for her item numbers, it ought to have had great music. Vishal-Shekhar's compositions do not make a mark. They are simply forgettable. Nyla, played by Anju Mahendroo as the sole representative of media is irritating. A more mature handling of her character could have helped. Silk's diatribe against the hypocrisy and double standards of society at an awards function is jarring. Even if what she had to say was true, the manner in which it was said, did not quite strike a chord. Over all, a lot more work was needed in painting the characters of most of the major players.

The bottom line is that TDP will be remembered as a Vidya Balan film because she has breathed life in the character of Silk with her exuberant performance. The rest, sadly is not-so-perfect.

No comments:

Post a Comment