Movie Review: Miss Lovely

Miss Lovely is art-house cinema at its best. Dark, deceitful and diabolic. The movie ventures into the commercial world of sex, X-rated movies and the business behind it. Set in the late 1980s, the mood is retro, the sets surreal and performances in a league of their own. It’s very real. You can almost feel the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke that comes from sleazy rooms where ‘movies’ that have a market of their own are being shot.

The ‘auditioning’ for actresses, the demand for the films and the whole cycle of this business is so realistically portrayed that you wonder if this is a VHS from the past belonging to someone who was actually in the business of commercial sex.

The entire process of watching this film is tiresome because it brings out the reality as it is. The first half is so ‘dead’ that everything comes alive as the second session unfolds and the characters and their motives become clearer. A clever plot handled with the maturity of a Roger Vadim. Director Ashim Ahluwalia is spot-on with the story, characters, era and the general mood of the film. Nothing moves beyond a point. And that’s the turning point of Miss Lovely.

Another huge plus is the acting; even the extra dishes out an ‘extra-special’ performance. You cannot really single out any one actor for his or her performance. It’s a seamless process where one character moves into the path and out of another.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui dishes out another delectable performance. He goes into the skin of Sonu Duggal, the character he portrays. Doing the odd job for his brother, Vicky (Anil George), who is into the ‘business’ of directing X-rated movies, Miss Lovely shows his struggle. He wants to get out from his brother’s clutches and move into making movies of his own. Other than scouting for girls for his brother, he also moves reels from one place to another. He meets Pinky (Niharika Singh) and is besotted by her. He promises to cast her as the lead in the film he wants to make, Miss Lovely.

Pinky plays demure and also has this air of vulnerability about her that makes her even more desirable. Sonu will do anything for her.

The first hour is painful because the movie does not move; it gnaws at your senses. It is only later that you realize that this is a deliberate ploy from Ahluwalia before he showcases the finale.

A person who is ill can get well by taking medication, but how do you awaken a conscience that is dead? This is one line in the commentary that sums up the whole film.

Every character has a dead conscience and goes through the motions of life.

If you truly love cinema and want to experience something out of the ordinary, then Miss Lovely is for you.

Rating: 4 / 5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on January 17, 2014


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