A Flab Performance
For all the 10 years of my school life, I went to an all-boys convent school which was separated from an all-girls convent by a 10 feet wall. As is with all such evil walls, there were man made holes to gape through. A pre-teen back then, happy to gawk through the binocular sized hole, I used to tell my fellow oglers that some of those girls would definitely make it big in a modeling/acting career. Later, I learned that the particular school (at Chembur in Mumbai) had actually educated the likes of Ayesha Takia,Shilpa Shetty, Malaika Arora Khan (plus their unhot younger sisters) among other such amazingly good looking females. That fact kind of backed up my own prophecy about girls from there making it big in the glamour world.
The reason I am giving this one paragraph long flashback is that yesterday, Malaika was knocked down from the top of my list of boldest females educated in that school. She was dethroned by a performance which is possibly the most courageous (possibly the craziest) by a mainstream actress ever in Bollywood. I am obviously talking about the lead actress of The Dirty Picture –Vidya Balan. It takes enormous courage and self-belief to flaunt the kind of belly flab that she does, especially in a size zero obsessed industry. The likes of Mallika Sherawat are not bold, they are plain smart; the stuff from Balan is the real deal. Sadly, such an epic performance has come in a very, very weak film.
TDP begins with Balan (Reshma/Silk) running away from home with starry dreams in her eyes. Her antics and dialogues in the beginning itself establish her no holds barred attitude to life. Like countless others, Reshma too struggles to get an entry in the movie world but when she finally gets her chance, she lets it rip, literally. Giving a super seductive two minute performance in a song, she becomes the reason that movie makes money. The producer recognizes the ‘formula’ for box office success and signs her for his films, rebranding her as ‘Silk’.
And so begins Silk’s roller coaster journey aided majorly by her ‘tuning’ with the ruling mega star, Naseerudin Shah (Suryakant). Her dipping necklines and ever popping cleavageare the talk of town and she becomes the necessary ingredient for a movie to be a hit, the burgeoning waistline notwithstanding. After the development of a manic fan following, her downfall is as brisk as her rise and with alcohol getting involved she goes down in the all too familiar manner. On her way down she romances Surya’s younger writer brother, Tusshar Kapoor (Ramakant) and is on a constant warpath with a righteous director, Emran Hashmi (Abraham).
Despite a superlative performance from Vidya, decently supported by the three male co-stars, including a hilarious Naseerudin Shah, the film falters as it progresses. The scenes give a feeling of Ctrl-C plus Ctrl-V, especially in the first half. This leads to a genuine case of overdose. Also, there is an attempt for every dialogue to be a whistle producer, and though some do succeed, majority just fall flat. The Director, Milan Luthra, should be held responsible for the serious inconsistencies of his characters. If anyone could understand the character played by Anju Mahendru’sas a gossip magazine editor then please to be sharing it in the comments section. Ditto for Emraan Hashmi’s character, who somehow suddenly falls in love with the person he hated for three fourths of the movie.
But this is Vidya Balan’s movie, through and through. This performance should win her all the awards including the National award, dare I say. At the risk of repeating myself, I cannot imagine her courage in agreeing to play such a complex character with those outrageous outfits. The shock treatment does work and you so wish she was supported by a better movie. The belly popping scenes will be etched in my memory for long, albeit not in the most happy sense.
Rating: Staying with my stance of not giving a rating for bad movies, this is just a Wasted Opportunity. By the director, of course, Balan grabbed it, ate it and displayed it as her body fat in the movie.