10 Years of The Dirty Picture: How Vidya Balan started the conversation around sexuality


10 Years of Vidya Balan’s The Dirty Picture


  • The Dirty Picture clocks 10 glorious years. The film release in 2011.
  • ‘An era where men ruled, she was the storm that feared no one,’ says Vidya Balan
  • Balan won the National Film Award in the Best Actress category for her performance

“Sex karte sab hai dekhte sab hai aur mein dirty???? – silk!” Vidya Balan completely changed the narrative of women-centric films when she starred in the 2011 film The Dirty Picture. Also starring Emraan Hashmi, Naseeruddin Shah, and Tusshar Kapoor, the most-talked-about biopic clocked ten years in Indian cinema on Thursday. The path-breaking film was an account of the life of the South Indian actress – Silk Smitha, who mainly was noted for her portrayal in erotic roles. The film was not just critically acclaimed but Vidya Balan received the highest accolades for her performance as Reshma who later through her multifaceted journey came to be to be known as ‘Silk’.

In Vidya Balan’s own words, the film was a celebration of Silk’s legacy and to honour her ‘daredevil’ personality. “An era where men ruled, she was the storm that feared no one. Inspiring and unapologetic,” claimed Balan as she celebrated a decade of the film. The actress, who even won the National Film Award in the Best Actress category for her performance, changed the narrative of the women-centric film with The Dirty Picture.

Vidya Balan was bold, beautiful and every inch of glamorous in the role. She put on weight for the film and managed to blow away the viewers’ minds when size Zero was a fad that Bollywood couldn’t get over with. Even though Blaan’s career was not at its peak, she came like a storm and bombarded the box office with a role no one thought she could pull off. Fans vene started calling her ‘Bombaat Balan.’

The Dirty Picture also started a conversation around sexuality, lust, and the male gaze. When she asked, “Sex karte sab hai dekhte sab hai aur mein dirty?” Fans were not only hooting for her but thinking about the changing manners of society. The film showed the mirror to society and forced it to look at the masculine gaze and misogyny in both past and present culture.

Vidya Balan with The Dirty Picture also enforced how owning one’s sexuality gives empowerment. It was probably the first time in Hindi cinema when sultriness was shown without sacrificing dignity. That is the reason this film wooed the audience as well as the critics.

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