Madhur Bhandarkar, even in his now predictable soups, manages to inspire strokes of anxiety and most of all - sympathy - for his protagonists who go about a staple life cycle of entering as Ms. Eagerly-Innocent-Lost-Soul, have their stages of extraordinary success, and spiral down speedily to a life of desperation and coke, and then emerge cleaner, wiser, calmer after this life-altering discourse.
Somehow, Silk, even with her consistently unapologetic celebration of sexuality, which is further strengthened by her naturally witty banter, doesn`t manage to make her carnival, a revelry for us, neither do her tragedies shed their melancholia. Vidya Balan - who devours in the character, with her bareness both literal and metaphorical, gives a performance to applaud, but her characteristics do not want us to console her in her times of despair. Theres a safe emotional disconnect which prevents us from sharing any of her frustrations, and angst. It only goes as far as helping in lucidly mirroring the hypocrisy of the society we lived in, and probably still do.
Naseerudin Shah`s ageing superstar act is a stroke right beyond the turnstiles, as he comes across rightfully sinister, arrogant, perverted, and narcissist. He sends across just the hints when he flaunts his unwillingness to shake leg with a debuting Silk, until some intimacy is privately built-up. A natural, seasoned performer, only bettering his craft, Shah is fantastic as Suryakant. It`s half-cooked, largely sidelined Emraan Hashmis Abraham, who seems a contrived intrusion. He is a misfit for the industry within, probably a rebel out to better an already stinking show. His hatred towards Silk unjustified, his abrupt fondness is equally mystifying. Hashmi underplays pretty well, but is helpless with a part undefined.
Of all the inconsistencies, probably the one big triumph of the director is even while catering unashamedly to the gallery; he doesn`t let his film come across a B-grade offensive musical. So Rajat Arora`s lines - which immediately inspire applause, have such a fine balance of lyrical narcissism, and astounding impact that sometimes their eventual insignificance - metaphorical or direct - is blurred in the thunder of slapping hands.
Which probably will make you forgive and deliberately overlook the remarkably flawed Dirty Picture.
It is also the prime reason, apart from the titular, and supporting performances why the film achieves a fairly fantastical amount of entertainment value.
The deepest flaw is the climax which puts an abrupt full stop to a vibrant personality. Sometimes, and again, at crucial ones like these, we want to back pat a performer who rises above the societal diktats, and remains a powerhouse resistance, rather than eventual succumbing to it. That unconventional heroine, who has had not the perfect life for a role-model, could be the weight, shattering class and shaming burgeoning hypocrisy. But Luthria, like he did in his previous picture, jumps to a climax, in a bid to silently shock, which here is flat, annoying, and unproductive.
For what I expected was to be overwhelmed by the scandalizing docu-drama of a Southern siren - who probably never thought in her diminutive existence she`d be fictionally documented. What comes across loudly is a weakly inspired, poorly researched biopic posing as fiction and a background score hilariously drawn from Christopher Nolans Inception.