'Silk'y biography

Newsmaker

Sizzling: Vidya Balan as Silk Smitha in ‘The Dirty Picture’.

The few glimpses we have had of the movie portray Vidya as Silk, a role for which she has become the current talk of tinsel town. It appears to be a successful transformation, not just from being a character artiste to a coveted heroine, but also from Radhika Mathur to Silk.

The Dirty Picture, directed by Milan Luthria of Once Upon a Time in Mumbai fame, is apparently based on the life of famous southern vamp, Silk Smitha. Although most connected with the film deny it being a biopic, Vidya is quite candid about this fact. “My character, Silk, is very brave, colourful and comfortable with whatever she does. People in society associate her with being shameless and without any character, but in reality that is not true. Neither did Silk think of herself that way,” says Vidya.

The role has gathered attention because of its bold nature, very much in line with the character. The generous display of cleavage that Vidya offers to her fans in this film has never been seen in her career until now.

“The character is that of a fearless actress who is not bothered about what people think about her display of skin. But, I must admit that I was really surprised when Milan Lutharia came to me with the offer of playing Silk.”

Aside from her revealing clothes, Vidya also has a few intimate scenes in the film. Didn’t she feel uncomfortable? “When you work with an actor like Naseeruddin Shah, he makes you feel comfortable in front of the camera, right from day one. Also, since the scenes were very intimate, there were limited people on set,” explains Vidya.

The film, scheduled for a December release, appears to be a reflection of the ‘80s. Vidya is all smiles while sharing her experience of the shooting. “When we were picturising the songs, the atmosphere was electrifying. It was as if we had gone back to the ‘80s, with Sri Devi, Jaya Prada and Jeetendra dancing to the beats. Polka dots, bell bottoms, big
glasses — you name it, the film has it. I must say, Niharika Khan, the costume designer, has done a fantastic job.”

This is Vidya’s second film with Naseeruddin Shah and the first with Emraan Hashmi and Tusshar Kapoor. “It is always a pleasurable experience to work with legends. And if it is Naseerji, you are sure to have loads of fun. He also enjoyed shooting for the song Oo lala.

In fact, he said that this was the only other time he had enjoyed shooting for a song, the first being Oye Oye  from Tridev,” she says.

In order to make the character as close to the real Silk Smitha herself, Vidya decided to put on 10 kgs. This was not an easy decision, as the actress had been criticised earlier for her weight. “I am a foodie, so this turned out to the easiest challenge in the making of the film. The difficulty was in handling more than 130 costumes a day. We would try out every costume before a shot or a song,” remembers Vidya.

Is the sexy image of The Dirty

Picture going to be Vidya’s new look, or will she revert to her traditional, girl-next-door image? “The new look and sexy image is just incidental to the film, and unintentional. I never wanted to create my own image, whether it was Paa or No One Killed Jessica. I always tried to portray different types of people on screen. That is the challenge of an actor. I love doing that.”

The pretty actress cites the example of Sujoy Ghosh’s next film. “I will be seen in a completely different avatar. In his new film, Kahani, I portray a woman who has been pregnant for six months, in search of her husband. The entire role is very different.”

“I depend a lot on my sister and brother-in-law for their feedback. They are my best critics. When they saw me as Silk, they liked it a lot. In fact, they gave me the confidence I needed to convince myself that I was not looking awkward,” Vidya adds.

Forget awkward, she has been looking ravishing in her new outfits. Hopefully, her film will dazzle just as much.

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