Release Date: 17th January, 2014
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh, Anil George, Zeena Bhatia, Menaka Lalwani
Writer/Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
Plot: Set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry, MISS LOVELY follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid-1980s. The film gets under the skin of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with wild cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, rollicking background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Niharika Singh, Anil George, Zeena Bhatia, Menaka Lalwani
Director: Ashim Ahluwalia
What’s Good: The lead men Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Anil George and a compelling concept which shocks you beyond wits.
What’s Bad: I was expecting the film’s story to be more taut but over its run time the steam dissipates making it fall short of being a masterpiece.
Loo break: None
Watch or Not?: Miss Lovely is superbly acted, exquisitely shot and brilliant directed. Donning a sinister look, the film traverses you through the Ramsay-ish era of 80s’ Bollywood which is conspicuous of its mystically grey ambiance, sleaze and the horror it entailed. Ahluwalia has made one challenging film which shatter the typecast of commercial movies that this industry comes up with. With its dangerously done climax, the film is extremely bemusing and yet every bit fantastic. A sure shot must watch.
Miss Lovely captures the story of two brother Vicky (Anil George) and Sonu (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who produce semi-porn films in the 80s. With the elder one Vicky being the conceptual brain behind these ventures, Sonu serves as an assistant to his brother. With a constant escapist tug harboring in his heart; his life begins to show traces of color when he meets and falls in love with a young starlet Pinky (Niharika Singh). It is Sonu’s dream to make a film titled Miss Lovely for her but whether he can fight all odds and make the film is what forms the gritty climax of this one.
Miss Lovely Review: Script Analysis
At the outset, it isn’t hard to say that the film is extremely well-researched and extreme care has been taken to ensure that it is fascinatingly well detailed. It manages to get well almost everything right in terms of concept. It is one brilliant premise, left unraveled which the filmmaker accomplishes in harnessing wonderfully. The sex horror film industry was quite a fanciful thing in the 80s with most porn lovers seeking refuge in the sinful world of such films. In the first half, the focus is too hard on setting the right pitch for the story to bloom and in the second half the film’s pace settles to evolve a dense, intense, damaged and spirited story.
However, with the concept and ambiance so gorgeous, half way through the film my expectations were skyrocketingly escalated and that is when the flaws of the film became more visible. The writers don’t further the film’s plot. The most prominently missing was Sonu’s backstory which would have made the character’s grounding more relevant. The second half is way more extensive than the first but the story’s end is shockingly abrupt.
Somewhere the story factor got diluted amidst arranging the slow-mo shots which undeniably were beautiful but the zest of the story went limp. When a fantastic film like this comes your way, you expect to be shocked beyond your wits and baffled to the core. While Miss Lovely does all that and much story, the narrative lacks crisp writing which leads to this falling a few notches below the expectations it evokes from you from the film’s setting.
The flaws are relatively negligible though not forgettable. The rustic setting of Mumbai has been painted with delicate care. The milieu is what gives the story a stronger footing but the film stands as a classic example of how important a fast paced, nail biting story is in a story of this caliber.
Miss Lovely Review: Star Performances
Nawzuddin Siddiqui is hands down one of the most animated actors of this generation. Over time, Nawaz’s brilliance has become a norm and he quite stays true to his potential.
But this time Anil George manages to surpass Nawaz by being the enthusiastic, dramatic and essentially natural acting. It is one hell of a compliment to say he stole Nawaz’s thunder and I sincerely hope we see of this actor in the days to come.
Niharika Singh is marvelous and mysterious is equal measure and definitely rules in her role.
Miss Lovely Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Ahluwalia paints a somberly dark world with excellence. Though his screenplay pays too much heed to the technical aspect giving his stupendous premise a miss, there is no doubt that he has made a film which is such a rarity in cinema these days. Nazia Hassan and Illyaraja present a perfect jugalbandi in the story and the background score is pitch perfect. The films editing isn’t memorable and could have been done better, but manages to deliver a great product overall.
Miss Lovely Review: The Last Word
Films like Miss Lovely are a diminishing species. Brimming with an extravagant concept, the film is made with poise as it captures the dark world of sleaze and horror. I for one found myself with a racing heart and heart in my throat by the end of the film and it takes me quite a cinematic momentum to push to that extent. Ornately shot, fabulously performed and intelligently thought, I am assigning a 3.5/5 for this one. It is near perfect and just as fabulous as it was hailed to be.
Miss Lovely Trailer
Miss Lovely releases on 17th January, 2014.
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