I’ve a problem with some of the subjects that are chosen to be filmed as bio-pics in our cinema. I don’t understand their relevance. I may be missing something here. But what is Shakila’s contribution to Indian cinema , or narrowing it down to her place of activity, to Tamil,Telugu,Malayalam and Kannada cinema where she gyrated and provided much food for thought for sex-starved morning-show frequenters in rickety single theatres in backwater towns that had seen better days?
Shakila, if I am not mistaken, is not even relevant in the way the other tantalizer Silk Smitha was. The trailer of Shakila has Richa Chadha doing much of what Vidya Balan did in The Dirty Picture where she played Silk Smitha: pouting, getting wet under fast-flowing waterfalls , biting her lips, stretching, gyrating, darting what seems to be come-hither looks at the audience. All this may have been extremely enticing in the pre-porn days. In today’s days of Sunny Leone and liberal internet access Shakila can only work as satire.
But the makers of Shakila’s bio-pic are dead earnest. A voiceover in the trailer tells us that in the 1990s whenever theatres emptied Shakila would fill them up again. Now, says the bristling voiceover, she will again fill seats when they are empty.Covid’s antitode?That’s not only incredibly ambitious but also untrue.
Theatres showing Shakila’s films were populated by a staggering viewership comprising middle-aged males who just couldn’t get any action or had lost interest in their wives. That was Shakila’s audience. I don’t see a revival of interest in her life and career. Nor do I see why anyone would be interested in her story.
Recently we had a fairly interesting bio-pic from the South on the mathematical genius Shakuntala Devi. That made sense. But why would we want to see a bio-pic on this lady who I am sure is a wonderful human being ,though she did look very bored distracted and annoyed in the interview where she’s heard saying good things about the film without seeing it.
“Richa Chadha has done justice to my character,” Shakilaji is heard saying.
I hope she is right.