Shakeela, with Richa Chadha in lead, is a biopic of south indian adult star Shakeela, her rise to stardom and her downfall. Directed by Indrajit Lankesh, Shakeela on paper resembles a lot with Vidya Balan’s The Dirty Picture released in 2011, but is nowhere near the film when it comes to other aspects.
Film starts with Shakeela (Richa Chadha) agreeing to undergo a Narco test to testify her story to a journalist, who will take the story and her personal side to people.
Flashback then takes us to villages in South where young Shakeela (Kajol Chugh) is a happy go lucky girl, who works with her father, enjoys the plays and dramas in school. But as fate plays, family is distraught when her father passes away.
Her mother, who was a junior actor in some movies, takes her to a director where he casts her in a vulgar film, and thus starts her career which took her to the heights for being one of the most successful and controversial stars in Malayalam cinema.
Shakeela, who is shown as a big fan of superstar Saleem (Pankaj Tripathi), is on cloud nine when she gets a chance to work with him, but she did not give in to his advances which irks the actor.
As Shakeela keeps on riding high on her success, after a point Saleem gets insecure of her and plots her downfall, resulting in getting her films banned and asking producers not to work with her.
What happens to Shakeela’s career when she is at loggerheads with one of the bigwigs of the industry, with her films getting banned and no one supporting her through this time is what the film deals with.
Only positive of the movie is that it reminds us of The Dirty Picture, which was studded with Vidya Balan’s uninhibited portrayal of Silk Smitha and whistle worthy dialogues by Rajat Arora
Almost everything. Though a biopic, the film seems very superficial one and focuses on just a couple of aspects. It just mentions that Shakeela got into movies to fulfill her family needs, and the only problems she had were because of Saleem.
Even Pankaj Tripathi’s character was very unidimensional who was always pissed off with Shakeela and wanted to see her lose. He seems uninterested in a role which he might be regretting doing for sure.
Biopics like Shakeela rely heavily on the connect which the lead character develops with the viewers (be it in TDP or Bhaag Milkha Bhaag), but here writing is so bad that no one ever roots for Shakeela.
Other than Pankaj Tripathi and Richa Chadha, none of the supporting cast has a developed character and the movie just keeps on moving at sluggish pace. Dialogues are not at all good or impactful and music is forgettable.
Shakeela has Richa Chadha playing the lead and she does a decent job, but lacks the impact which the screenplay and dialogues failed to create.
Pankaj Tripathi is good as Superstar Saleem, but the role did no justice to the talent he possesses or even to the kind of work he has been doing.
Rest all characters Rajeev Pillai, Ester Noronha, Sheeva Rana are ok in the limited opportunities they got.
Shakeela, as The Dirty Picture had a lot of potential as far as ideas are concerned. But on screen it shows how much difference a good actor, good dialogues or good directors can bring to the movie.
The Dirty Picture won national awards whereas Shakeela is a disappointment and might not do anything noteworthy for any of the actors or other people involved.