It's a rare feat for a movie to get approval from nearly all the critics. Milan Luthria's The Dirty Picture, starring Vidya Balan has all the ingredients for a perfect watch. In short - it's entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Here's what critics are saying about the movie.
Sify (Rating: 3.5):
"Milan Luthria is brave and intelligent. Brave, because Milan steps out of the comfort zone to narrate the tragic story of an actress. Intelligent, because THE DIRTY PICTURE does not develop into a dry and depressing fare at any juncture. This one stresses on -- as Vidya puts it -- entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Well narrated and wonderfully executed, THE DIRTY PICTURE is sure to strike a chord with the avid moviegoer. I'd like to give brownie points to Rajat Aroraa's dynamic script and razor-sharp dialogue," says Taran Adarsh (Rating: 4), Bollywood Hungama.
"Director Milan Luthria’s The Dirty Picture, is remarkable for creating a woman of spunk who’s had it with assorted skunks. Danger ahead: will she get away with her poison darts in an industry which believes it as sweet as strawberry tarts? Obviously, 'inspired' by the real life story of Silk Smitha, the Chennai-domiciled sex symbol - who is said to have committed suicide at the age of 35 in 1996 - here’s an audacious, auto-critical take on the unchecked exploitation of women in Cinemapuram. Presumably Chennai is the backdrop, but the tongue-lashing sex siren could belong to Bolly, Tolly or Hollywood. The story could be true of Marilyn Monroe or Jean Harlow, adored by the world, and yet compelled to go over the brink. Just think," writes Khalid Mohamed (Rating: 3.5) for Deccan Chronicle.
"The riveting screenplay and power-packed dialogue will remain etched in our memory for a long, long time, eliciting a similar response like ONCE UPON A TIME IN MUMBAAI. The writing holds the spectators' interest and doesn't let you digress from the screen, except for a few minutes in the post-interval portions. The portions between Emraan and Vidya slows the narrative, though, I'd like to add, it picks up dramatically when Vidya gets conned by a maker of porn movies. The sequences thereafter, right till the finale, take the film to the crescendo again," says Taran Adarsh.
Writing in blog koimoi.com, Komar Nahta concurs: "All in all, Rajat Aroraa’s script deserves distinction marks and although it may hurt the sensibilities of a thin section of the audience, it would be simply loved by the majority, especially by the younger generation. No doubt, the drama dips at places in the second half but that will not tell on the box-office fate of the film for the simple reason that the audience would have made up its mind by interval point that the film is excellent – and that decision would not really change despite the few loose points in the script."
But Aniruddha Guha (Rating: 4), DNA has a different viewpoint. "Luthria seems to have been stuck between making a wholly commercial product and staying true to the story. While he does balance it well for most part, and quite efficiently too, he could have done without resorting to convenient twists in the film towards the end. His isn’t really a biopic, surely not an authentic one, as he picks up the threads from different sources (Suryakant seems to be influenced by two-three superstars, for example) and uses it to his advantage (he never claimed to make an authentic telltale, so it’s okay). Sadly, though, he fails to make Silk’s downward spiral as engaging as her rise to fame."
Khalid Mohamed: Of the cast, Naseeruddin Shah is bankably first-rate, often chivalrously standing back for the leading lady , the sign of a secure actor. Emraan Hashmi is correctly restrained. Above all, the enterprise belong to Vidya Balan. She’s extraordinary: gutsy, consistently in character and unafraid of exposing her darker side. Here’s the kind of complex performance which you haven’t evidenced in years and years. This award-winning act bookended by her contrasting portrayal in No One Killed Jessica, reaffirms her as the finest artiste on the scene today. No contest!
Taran Adarsh: Vidya's sizzling show and dare-bare act is sure to seize the viewers by complete astonishment. It's a novel casting because it is nothing like what Vidya has done before and is completely diverse to her image. But let's give Vidya the due: She delivers an astounding performance, pushing the envelope yet again. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that Vidya will walk away with the awards for the sterling act in this film. Besides, she carries off the hot attire without making her character look vulgar or tasteless.
Naseeruddin Shah, who has been cast as an ageing South Indian superstar, sports wigs, dark glasses and painted moustache, reminding people of the stars of that era. He plays to the gallery, provoking claps, laughs and whistles, thus pulling off the role with élan.
One has to credit Emraan Hashmi for willing to take on bold, aggressive characters. I actually wondered what prompted the actor to share screen space with Vidya, who has a meatier role and enacts the central character, but he walks his own path throughout the film. He plays the headstrong, hot-blooded, rebellious director to the hilt.
Tusshar is wonderfully restrained in a significant role. His sequences with Naseer and Vidya, both are truly fantastic.
Nikhat Kazmi, The Times of India: The Dirty Picture is essentially Vidya Balan's film, all the way. She gives a towering performance as the protagonist who remains unapologetic about her life till the very end. The high point of her act is the fact that despite portraying a sex bomb, her sexuality never ever gets vulgar and crude. Instead, there is an endearing quality to her attempts to shock and awe a staid society that thrives on the fake. Her tour de force act however doesn't throw the male leads into the shadows. They manage to hold their own in full measure, despite the relative meagerness of their roles. Also, it is the naughty dialogues (Rajat Arora) of the film which add immense flavour to the proceedings. It's a no-holds-barred screenplay which rightly refuses to treat sex as a four letter word. Kudos to Milan Luthria for handling such a controversial theme with such sensitivity and boldness.
"On the whole, THE DIRTY PICTURE banks heavily on shock-value, sex-value and most importantly, script-value. It's an exceptional portrayal of an ordinary person's rise from scratch to extraordinary heights and her subsequent fall. Without doubt, it is one of the most comprehensive scripts to come out of the Hindi film industry in 2011. A film with a universal theme and terrific mass connect, it has remarkable potential to set the cash registers ringing for one more valid reason -- entertainment, entertainment and entertainment," concludes Adarsh.
Spicezee (Rating: 4): Milan Luthria’s ‘The Dirty Picture’ is a glittering piece of cinema which recounts the life of Silk Smitha, the reigning sex siren of the 80s South Indian film industry.
Rediff (Rating: 3): There's remarkable relish and abandon in the manner Vidya Balan essays Silk, inspired by Southern siren Silk Smitha and her part-flamboyant, part-distressing journey from struggler to star to shadow.
Director Milan Luthria masterfully depicts Silk's struggle in a male-dominated industry, while weaving in her personal space.