The Dirty Picture is a successful endeavour

MUMBAI: Director Milan Luthria takes you back into the Tamil film scene of 1980 and once he does that, you don‘t bother if he or his writer is situationally or factually correct because they tell a story, a thing that has not happened in Hindi films very often in recent years. 

Producer: Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor.

Director: Milan Luthria.

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor, Anju Mahendroo, Rajesh Sharma.

The film, The Dirty Picture, has been totally promoted around Vidya Balan, the protagonist of this story despite the film having three heroes, Naseeruddin Shah, an acknowledged performer; Emraan Hashmi, a star in the making forever and; Tusshar Kapoor, a jack in the pack: a great risk in a country where a heroine dominated film find the going tough. Visually and thematically, it is a Vidya Balan show all the way, but, frankly speaking, the film is the triumph of the story, screenplay, dialogue writer and lyricist Rajat Arora; he is the real hero of The Dirty Picture.

Vidya Balan has only one dream since childhood, to make it to the silver screen. Her idol is the action hero, Surya played by Naseeruddin Shah, a family man so to say but the glossy magazines put his score with girls at 500.

Vidya Balan, having fled from home, grows up to be worldly wise, convinced that she has what every men wants in a woman and she is ready to put this knowledge to use. Vidya Balan, struggling to be in a dance number in a film, happens to be at the right place at right time one such day of her struggle and ends up dancing for a film. The director, Emraan Hashmi, a man with an eye on Hollywood, deletes scene, calling it obscene. Vidya Balan is disappointed and ready to pack her meagre belongings and go back when she learns that if not in cities, she has finally arrived on the film scene through rural audience; as the film flops the producer adds her ‘obscene‘ song to re-release the film at rural centres.

She is now a craze, a mascot must for dances in films and next she finds herself sharing screen space with her idol, Neseeruddin Shah only to be rejected by him after a few takes. Vidya Balan walks into his makeup room with a proposal for him, "You may have tuned up with 500 women but how about tuning up with one woman 500 times?" Sure enough, Naseeruddin Shah is convinced and the shooting resumes and thereby starts the legend of Silk, the screen name given to Vidya Balan.

When shirked by Naseerunddin Shah, she finds an apt replacement in his brother, Tusshar Kapoor, an aspiring writer and her weapon to hit back at the former. Like all such characters the success goes to her head and the downfall begins and there comes a time when she even walks into the abode of a porn film maker. The lonely woman craves for company, someone to talk to and drowns herself in alcohol but the irony plays its part that her biggest detractor, the man who made an obsession of hating Vidya Balan is the only one who is charmed by her eventually and the only man who ends up caring for her.

The Dirty Picture boasts of no star draw, the package itself is its draw, the creative team and the performers; the combination here is near perfect. Being Vidya Balan show all the way, she comes out with flying colours; from fitting into 1980s South films‘ weighty sexy oomph girl to a loser, she plays all these with conviction. Naseeruddin Shah as the caricature south superstar gives one of his seasoned performances and the parts involving him and Vidya Balan, accounts for most of the first half which makes for most interesting viewing.

Tusshar Kapoor is passable as substitute lover. It is Emraan Hashmi‘s tongue in cheek filmmaker character which again makes things interesting; he plays a role different from his usual fare and is impressive. Milan Luthria shows his versatility with The Dirty Picture with deft handling as nowhere does he give into temptations to titillate or expose unnecessarily. Rajat Arora‘s scripting is taut but his dialogue writing is outstanding; not merely one-sided one liners, there is repartees galore, all packing humour and punch. Music is good with two popular numbers, Ooh la la… and Ishq sufiyana…

The Dirty Picture is a reasonably priced film and has opened well at multiplexes to positive reports; while its pattern of appreciation may differ from place to place, in totality it is a successful endeavour.

I Am Singh is a crash course in Sikhism 


Producer:Sardar Peshaura Singh Thind.

Director: Puneet Issar.

Cast: Gulzar Inder Chahal, Tulip Joshi, Puneet Issar, Rizwan Haider, Brooke Johnston, Amy Rasimas.

It seems one can still squeeze a story out of post 9/11 incident though a lot has happened closer home since then. That 9/11 is a thing of the past and that except for watching visuals on TV, few Indians were affected, the story of I Am Singh makes it even more limited, dealing with hate crimes, the attacks on Sikhs in the US whom the ignorant local goons killed thinking they were Afghans or some such terrorist merely because they wear turbans. I am Singh portrays the glorification of Sikh community and is a crash course in Sikhism.

Gulzar Chahal is woken out up one late night at his Chandigarh home with a call from the US where his brothers are settled; his family has been attacked and, while one brother has been killed, father has been seriously wounded and the other brother has gone missing. Chahal arrives in US only to meet with uncooperative policemen and some more attacks. No one would tell him what exactly happened till he finally meets his brothers‘ Pakistani friend, Rizwan Haider, who has been an eyewitness to the gory incident.

This time, Chahal approaches police with this eyewitness but still to no avail. He realises that he is on his own when comes another Sikh on the scene, Puneet Issar, a police officer suspended from LAPD for wearing turban on duty! He tells him to seek redress from court and puts him on to a lady attorney cum human rights activist. The attorney proves efficient and so does the American judiciary as, in one hearing it dispenses three cases, delivering verdict for three separate cases, those of attack and murder of Chahal‘s brother, suspension of Puneet Issar and release of Chahal‘s brother who was actually confined to custody by police for carrying arms.

I Am Singh is a case of indulgence, the protagonist, Gulzar Chahal is no actor nor are the others on the roaster. Music has a sectional appeal. Direction and script are average at best.

I Am Singh has no prospects to last even a day at cinema halls.

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