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Shakeela Trailer Review: Do We Really Need A Bio-pic On Her?

 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.

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