Dir: Ashim Ahluwalia
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh, Anil George
A lot of films make you squirm in your seats, Miss Lovely does it too. But there is a hell of a difference.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui (left) is beyond brilliant in a role that seems tailor-made for him
While the others make you uncomfortable because of their bad quality, Miss Lovely creates a web of discomfort as it unabashedly holds a mirror close to a world that the purists in us would prefer to avert our eyes from.
Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, this film is set in the 1980s and gives a stark and buck naked (pun unintended) portrayal of the semi-porn and horror film industry, packing
in its beauty, sleaze, heartbreaks, perversion and desperation. Never before perhaps a film has come this close to throwing light on the C grade film industry — warts and all — with absolute absence of pretension. There is no compromise to appease to the ‘elite’ taste. The cinematography (K U Mohanan), the background music (Egisto Macchi, Masta Justy) and the editing (Paresh Kamdar, Ashim Ahluwalia) work in tandem to create the dizzy, embarrassingly shady reality of this world and the people that inhibit it.
The story is about the Duggal brothers: Vicky (Anil George), who is unapologetic about his business of making semi-porn films and exploiting the actresses involved in it, and in direct contrast, his brother Sonu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who wants to run away from it as far as possible. While Sonu is struggling to get out of this murky situation, he is totally accepting and non-judgemental of his morally bankrupt brother and the life created by him. ‘Main aisa hi hoon’ and ‘Woh hamesha aisa hi tha’, he says in despair and in a matter-of-fact voice. This also reflects the tone and attitude of the film. Sonu’s ambition to create a better reality for himself gets fuelled by his love for Pinky (Niharika Singh), a struggling starlet. Pinky’s entry into their lives changes things drastically.
Who could have played the helpless Sonu better than Nawazuddin Siddiqui? This actor is beyond brilliant in a role that seems tailor-made for him. Even as his body language speaks of having almost given up on the situation that he’s embroiled in, the passion and glint in his eyes speak about a dream of a better future. Here is an actor who takes us along on a rollercoaster ride of emotions that include helplessness, intense desire and a silent rage at being betrayed. His performance deserves a standing ovation; Anil George as Vicky comes up with a commendable performance too.
Ashim should be lauded for daring to stick to the starkness of the subject at hand, without glossing over it, and also for his attention to detailing. The pace of the film could have been faster though; but then again, it’s not a major complaint. Watch this film only if you are brave enough to dive into the ‘dirty’ pool. If you are lucky, you might shed a layer of ‘sophistication’ and feel liberated.