India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

from India Insight:

No ‘Dirty Pictures’ please, we are Indian

Indians woke up on Sunday to front page newspaper ads announcing the TV premiere of “The Dirty Picture”, a National-award winning film that was both critically acclaimed and successful at the box-office.

The film, based on the life of soft porn star Silk Smitha, was one of the most popular Bollywood movies of 2011, and its success catapulted lead actress Vidya Balan into the big league.

It was a glaring example of how Indian audiences, torn between traditional values and rapidly Westernising cities, have come to accept films with bolder themes.

For those who hadn’t watched the film in cinemas, this was a chance to see what the hype was all about. Sony Entertainment, the TV channel, launched a high-octane publicity campaign for Sunday’s telecast.

The Dirty Picture: Vidya Balan, the hero

Photo

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.

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