Reshma (Vidya Balan) fled her native village the day before her wedding to go to Madras to realize her dream of becoming an actress. Hosted by an aunt who holds a small stall, she foams the castings in hopes of getting a small role. Competition is tough as many young women have the same dream as her. However, Reshma has some assets in hand and she is determined to use it. Pulpy, voluptuous and above all raw, she presents herself on the shooting of a film song sequence and invites herself in the field and steals the show to other dancers thanks to her sex appeal.
Unfortunately, the director Abraham (Emraan Hashmi), looking only at the artistic pretensions that he intends to give to his film, cuts the sequence of Reshma. It is still not lost because it reaches the producer, Selva Ganesh (Rajesh Sharma), who sees immediately the commercial potential that conceals this sex bomb. He then leaves in search of the young woman and proposes to launch her cinematographic career under the artistic name of Silk.
For her first role, Reshma, now Silk, has to do a sexy dance number with superstar Suryakanth (Naseeruddin Shah). Now, dancing with the one who is her idol of cinema is very impressive. Instead of being sensual and seductive, the young woman is left and timid, which irritates the star. To get a second chance, Reshma, in the backstage, coins her charms. If Suryakanth wants to return to the sequence and help her career, she becomes his mistress.
The film is a success because the male crowd masses in the dark rooms admire Silk, whose career proves very promising, but especially fantasize about her charms and sensuality. If from a professional point of view, Reshma/Silk is filled, this is not the case from the sentimental point of view. Men see in her only promise of lasciviousness and not its true personality. Moreover, with its frankness and eroticism, Silk has made some enemies, especially among women, whether they are spectators or editors of magazines. Silk will fall as fast as she rises, dragging Reshma into a sordid descent into hell.
With The Dirty Picture, directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Ekta Kapoor, released in cinemas on December 2, 2011, Hindi cinema ends the year so beautifully that it would seem that the period of lean cows of standardized films and/or insipid relegated to a distant past. For The Dirty Picture has the qualities that have been sought in vain in many movies lately with a solid story, good actors, good music and a real Indian flavor with its intrigue taking place in the cinema. And it is known that Indian cinema, from north to south or from east to west, is never as good as when it looks between nostalgia and self-deprecation.
Indeed, the story of The Dirty Picture is inspired by the life of Silk Smitha, the Tamil actress, who although originally from Andhra Pradesh, specialized in vamp roles and whose career took place in the 1980s. The vamp in Indian cinema before the 1990s assumed, on the screen, the negative aspects of the woman that could not be carried by the heroine, destined to end up married, therefore potential mother and, therefore, before be morally irreproachable.
The vamp smoked, danced, exhibited her charms, her sex appeal, attracted the hero of the dark side, as the character of Maya in Shree 420, in short, she was the one that made fantasize men like the femme fatale. In the old westerns. A vamp number, in a film, was the guarantee of his commercial success, because the producer knew that it would irremediably attract the male crowds wishing to fantasize.
You will have understood that to assume this role of vamp, the actress had to be well in flesh and exude sensuality by all the pieces of its exposed skin. She also had to be giddy and not afraid to expose herself to scandal and stigma, Which were linked to his role onscreen, but that people continued to project on it outside the film. You will also understand that those now called the girls, with their XS size, and scandalized only by their bad way of waddling, are only a pale recollection of these voluptuous vamps.
By paying tribute to this missing actress and, through her, to all the vamps of Indian cinema, The Dirty Picture is much more than a biopic. It offers a moving and original story, distinguished from current productions, where the female character takes the lead role and is no longer just a stroke of the hero and his debauchery of testosterone. Here, facing Reshma/Silk, determined, sincere and courageous, the male characters appear like cowards, hypocrites and selfish.
Vidya Balan, accepting to wear vamp clothes, wears the film on her shoulders and relegates her male partners to the background, including veteran Naseeruddin Shah, Emraam Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor. To resemble these actresses in the flesh, far from the current beauty canons, she did not hesitate to take more than ten kilos and to leave modesty and restraint in the locker room. When she received a reward for her performance through filmfare and the national award, she deserved it.
The film also has other assets than the charms of her character or its main actress. The atmosphere of the cinematographic milieu of the 70s and 80s is admirably well recreated, especially in the sequence Ooh la la Ooh la la, which pays homage to self-mockery in the cinema of that time and also mocks couples misplaced by the too great age difference. Music, especially the throbbing refrain of Ooh la la Ooh la la, tu hai meri fantasy, or the first steps of a dappa that accompany the determination of Reshma - diversion of the classic dappa of presentation of the male hero in the films of the South and the scenery served with much accuracy the purpose of the film.
The Dirty Picture finally has the merit of twisting a lot of prejudices, especially those peddled by Western criticism. The Dirty Picture, dubbed in Telugu and Tamil, was a hit at the box office, garnering more than 117 crore of rupees in profits.