India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

The Dirty Picture: Vidya Balan, the hero


In one scene in Milan Luthria’s “The Dirty Picture”, the protagonist, determined to make life miserable for one particularly pesky journalist, stages an impromptu dance performance in front of the journalist’s house — gyrating atop her car and biting her lip suggestively. Soon, a crowd gathers, there are wolf whistles and catcalls, and the police are called in to control the chaos that ensues.

Wearing nothing but a skimpy, midriff-baring blouse, pants and over-the-top sunglasses, Silk, as she’s called in the film is all smiles, and it’s obvious she’s loving every moment. You could say the same about Vidya Balan in the film. She’s having a blast playing Silk and it shows in every frame of the film.

Like its subject, the tone of Luthria’s movie is slightly over-the top and tends to caricaturize certain characters, but the lead performance is so all-encompassing that you don’t mind these flaws.

Vidya Balan plays Reshma, a small-town girl who comes to Chennai (Madras in those days) to fulfil her desire to act in films. Confident of her sexuality and not averse to using it to get what she wants, she bares her bosom and much more, and revels in her success as audiences go nuts over her.