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Review Hindi

Miss Lovely review: Indulgent film that intricately creates the atmosphere of the C-grade movie circuit

Release Date: 16 Nov 2012 / 45min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Ashim Ahluwalia's 2012 film was made available online as part of a selection of films by The Viewing Room of the Dharamshala International Film Festival.

Far away from the glare of the arc lights and the shimmery brilliance of Tinseltown, Miss Lovely (2012) takes us into a subterranean world, where the lights are dimmed, the bedsheets crumpled and probably used, and you can smell the fug.

Director Ashim Ahluwalia’s much-written-about film, located in the grimy world of C-grade movies in the Bombay of the 1980s, tells of brothers Vicky (Anil George) and Sonu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who operate in the sleazy world of porn films, keeping company with all kinds of shady characters. The older brother Vicky is a hustler, too smart for his own good. He plays to the gallery and curries favour with the higher-ups in a bid to get a bigger share of the pie.

Sonu, meanwhile, has different plans. Sick of doing odd jobs for his brother, he hopes to produce a romantic mainstream film, titled Miss Lovely. When he meets Pinky (Niharika Singh), he is smitten, and with eyes filled with dreams, hopes to make his film with her. But dreams seldom come true, less so in this dog-eat-dog, and as it turns out, brother-eat-brother world that values survival above all else.

Vicky’s ambition and Sonu’s naïve simplicity are part of a world that is strewn with the aspirations of struggling artistes, especially women, who are exploited at every turn. The anxieties and choices of a starlet, an ageing porn star, a reigning porn star, are all woven in a tale that explores the murky underbelly of the city where, on the one hand, lies the packed audience in the theatres, delighted with the “joys of the bedroom right there in the cinema hall”, and on the other are the likes of the seedy policeman who mouths the predictable ‘desh ki sanskriti [our cultural values]’ dialogues.

Ahluwalia painstakingly and lovingly creates each frame of the film as he brings the era and the particular milieu hypnotically alive, but then gets carried away with it. It is a fascinating world that draws one in but only up to a point. After that, it is all primped to be more, which it sadly isn’t.

Miss Lovely has been screened at several film festivals across the world. It was widely publicized as it competed in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2012. It also received the Special Jury (Feature film) and Best Production Design awards at the 61st National Film Awards.

The film was made available online as part of a special selection by The Viewing Room, Dharamshala International Film Festival.

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