One major change that happened in Indian entertainment industry, after globalisation , was that Bollywood literally started aping Hollywood by all means, from language to dresses and even the conservative 'fortunate' viewers started to change their view point on how our female actresses should dress. Modern Indian heroines, may it be Aishwarya Rai or whoever, appearing in skirts even shorter than mini skirts or bikinis or making ultra vulgour expressions, gestures and body movements during song sequences are all part of regular 'family' cinema and the actresses who do that are BOLD. Only a couple of decades ago, there were some actresses in each Indian language movies, who were supposed to make some sexy dances, then called 'cabaret' which are now rechristened as item numbers, and once in a while vamp roles. These actresses across India were looked down by the whole society. In fact, if these dances appeared on TV, while watching movies at home in VCR, parents would fast forward the dance. The blunt truth is that those dances or cabarets of 80's exposed much much less than today's normal song sequences, forget the item numbers. And those unfortunate actresses should have lead a terrible life.
One of those leading ladies of 80's was Silk Smitha. I would still consider her as having one of the most beautiful and expressive eyes ever witnessed in Indian cinema. I still remember her very well from Moonram Pira and her dance numbers in various other movies. But women hated her then. And there was a void for some time after which she came back strongly with Layanam, a kind of soft porn movie. Even in that movie, she didnt show anything more than what today's super actresses do. But still, poor lady, she was looked at like an out cast and the lonely life was too much for her I guess, she ended her life.
When I knew that Bollywood was making a movie on Silk Smitha, I was sure they just wanted to make some money out of skin show. And that is exactly what Dirty Picture is about. They have just used the name of Smitha, picked up her beginning and end, and decided to do a movie from hear say it seems. I wonder if they did even talk to any body close to Smitha about her character. Such a pity.
From all what I read from the film magazines of 80's and 90's, I always felt sorry for Smitha. There were few actresses and others who spoke nicely about her, about her dancing talents, eyes and all. And there were also some rare write ups about how Smitha was always used by directors and producers but ignored after the use. Smitha was really a lonely woman. But she was not a bitch, not from what appeared in the magazines. Watching Dirty Picture, if anybody feels that Smitha just wanted to ruin family life of super stars, you cant blame them. This is almost like a caricaturised presentation of an actress who did not care for others at all, who looks almost like a vamp even in real life. I really believe this is wrong and unfair.
So are the few male characters in this movie, all looking like caricatures. The contempt Bollywood have for South Indian movies is well known. But I thought the way the super hero is picturised, played by Nasirudeen Shah, they are definitely taking a peak at a South Indian hero, who to my knowledge, didnt had anything to do with Smitha. Whatever, they are just trying to make money.
But even otherways, presenting Shakeela as another sexy heroine who was like a competitor to Smitha is absolutely idiotic. Shakeela rose to fame with the soft porn movie, Kinnaarathumbikal, which released sometime around the beginning of 2000. Smitha died in mid 90's. So this is quite absurd. And there are many such things in this movie which I found in poor light and hence for me this is just a poor average movie, which might only give some more bad name for a dead actress. If only there was a sincere writer and director, Smitha's life is worth a classic movie. Smitha deserved much more than This Dirty Picture, I think.
The plus point to some extent is Divya Balan. Ever since I saw Lage Raho Munnbhai, I like her a lot. Here is an Indian actress, who looks quite Indian and doesnt care at all about looking the western designer way, skinny (I call this skeleton). She has the gorgeous looks, with beautiful curves, which India adored before Bollywood started imitating Hollywood, and she can act too. And she would appear in Sari in public, to which Bollywood media reacted by awarding her the term- the worst dressed actor. Is anything more required to show the hypocrisy of Bollywood. Anyways, Vidya have tried her best to do justice to what was offered to her. But not anything great. Not her fault, because the script does not offer anything great. The script only offers more and more scenes for cleavage show actually. Vidya already had a gorgeous figure and it is told she managed extra pounds to have some similarity with Smitha. All North Indian reviewers are gleaming about her 'bold'ness in revealing her fleshy abdomen. I only felt, as far as the beauty of abdomen is concerned Vidya Balan still have miles to go to reach the beauty of Smitha. Just like her eyes, Smitha had a gorgeous abdomen, except for the very last part of her career. Those days we used to discuss about the beauty of Smitha, her eyes, her curves and her abdomen and navels.
The use of Naaku Mukka song, and the Oolaala Oolaala song in the backgrounds was very entertaining. There are also some good dialogues here and there, plus excellent cinematography. If Bollywood have reached the level of Hollywood in anything, it is in their lighting and related technical factors. It looks like they have taken time and good effort to use soft lighting and the frames have a really good feel. They also seems to have spend good money on DI.
If Smitha had started her career now, I wonder what would have happened to many item number artistes of today. Definitely she would not have been looked down at. What was vulgour then is just the norm for an ordinary Indian heroine now. So definitely, she would not have been lonely now.
And may I repeat, Smitha deserved a much better movie than this.