Pakistan bans The Dirty Picture

The Dirty Picture, Bollywood’s film about the life of a sexy and bold dancer from the 80’s played by Vidya Balan has been banned by Pakistan Censors Board for its content not being suitable for the country’s audiences.

"they can’t stop people from watching it on pirated DVDs"

The Pakistan Censor Board for films being released in the country has banned the Bollywood film The Dirty Picture (TDP) from being screened in the country due to it being too explicit for their audiences.

The film features Bollywood actress Vidya Balan in her boldest and intimate role to date, starring alongside Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor and one of Bollywood’s finest actors, Naseeruddin Shah.

Directed by Milan Luthria, the film is about the rise and fall of a dancing star of 1980s called Silk, played by Vidya Balan. The film is set against the magic of the 1980s South Indian film industry.

It’s questioned if TDP is based on the tragic life of Silk Smitha, a South Indian actress who had a career spanning 17 years, who acted in over 405 Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi films but ended in a mysterious death. However, after objections from Smitha’s family, the producers are saying that the star role by Vidya is only an inspiration in The Dirty Picture.

Vidya said: “I am sure she [Silk] has been an inspiration for the writers. The 80’s was a period where every film had a dancing girl. Silk was one of the first amongst them to get a role next to the main lead. In the 80’s she was amongst the first dancing stars. I have used the name Silk but it is not based on her life.”

Talking about the persona of her role as Silk, Vidya said: “It is about a woman who wore her sexuality on her sleeve.”

Reacting to the ban, the film’s producer, Ekta Kapoor, said:

“I believe people in those countries are still not comfortable with women and women empowerment.”

Talking about her boldness in the film, Vidya said: “I want people to watch the film beyond the body. There were no short-cuts in the role. I had to be completely inhibited.”

Girish Johar from the production company Balaji Motion Pictures is very unhappy about the decision. He said: “The film, to be released Friday, was rejected by them (Pakistan). When asked if the film deserved to be banned he added: ” Of course not, it didn’t deserve to be banned. ‘The Dirty Picture’ fans, Emraan fans, Vidya fans and ‘Ooh la la’ fans in Pakistan, all are disappointed.”

Ekta applauded Vidya Balan’s acting in the film and said: “Vidya’s performance in the film is the bravest and best performance by any Bollywood actress.”

Here is the offical trailer to The Dirty Picture:


The film was due to release in over 50 screens across Pakistan after getting an A-certificate from the censor board. But then the step was taken to completely ban it.

Earlier this year, the Pakistan board also banned other Bollywood movies due to their content,including the huge hit Imran Khan hit Delhi Belly.

An official from a Bollywood marketing company regarding the ban said: “It’s a very hypocritical step. Even if the censors ban it from releasing on the big screen, they can’t stop people from watching it on pirated DVDs. Since Pakistani films aren’t anywhere close to the popularity of Bollywood, they should allow our films to run in theatres for their own good.”

The very reason why a board of censors exists in a country is to ensure films passed by them are suitable for their audiences. But bans like this do question the choice given to the viewer being taken off them. Also with the advent of the Internet and many other illegal methods of obtaining pirate copies of films like The Dirty Picture it is inevitable that the film will still get viewed in countries like Pakistan despite the formal ban.

Nazhat is an ambitious 'Desi' woman with interests in news and lifestyle. As a writer with a determined journalistic flair, she firmly believes in the motto "an investment in knowledge pays the best interest," by Benjamin Franklin.