A week after Ragini MMS’s Friday the 13th black carpet premiere, another much-talked-about Ekta Kapoor production flags off. “I wasn’t even allowed a day’s rest. Twenty-four hours after Ragini MMS entered the theatres at the stroke of midnight, a meeting was set up with the all the HODs (heads of departments) at the Balaji office, as Dirty Picture rolls from May 20,” sighs Ekta.
Director Milan Luthria confirms that they have locked a “sensational script” and are ready to go on the floors next Friday. “I know I’m walking a tightrope with this film, which goes beyond a woman’s body to a journey into her heart. Yes, there’s a lot of skin show and sensuality, but Dirty Picture is also a tender love story. It’s a masala movie like my last film, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, which was both Ekta and my biggest hit, and once again takes you into the other side of midnight,” says Milan.
The film is loosely based on Malayalam star Silk Smitha’s life. Milan’s upbeat about Vishal-Shekhar’s tunes, and 60-year-old Naseeruddin Shah is looking forward to grooving to their beats. After years of intense, underplayed role-playing, Naseer, the veteran actor, is ready to cut loose. “He believes that it’s time for him to have some fun and I’m glad he trusts me enough to let go with me,” says the director, whose decades-old association with Naseer goes back to the four films they worked on together when Milan was as assistant to Mahesh Bhatt.
Will Naseer’s flamboyant south Indian superstar have shades of Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan? “Why only these two? There’ll be bits of other south supremos too from another era. This role requires him to play to the gallery, provoke claps, laughs and ceeties (whistles) and I know he can pull it off because Naseer is the Shah of all actors,” Milan asserts, adding with a twinkle, “Expect a man who unabashedly enjoys the flesh of women.”
And is the woman in Dirty Picture, Vidya Balan, in character too after all her initial misgivings? “The woman is in another zone, but trying hard to catch up,” Milan chuckles. “Vidya knows there’s no point just getting her toes wet. If she wants to be convincing, she has to jump into the deep end of the pool and she has. She knows all the men around her are protective of her and trusts us to make this Dirty Picture aesthetically,” he says.