Actress Vidya is classic Indian beauty: Milan

New Delhi: Director Milan Luthria says Vidya Balan`s classic Indian look made her the perfect choice to portray the role of southern siren, Silk Smitha in the upcoming biopic `The Dirty Picture`.

Balan`s aesthetic body display in the first trailer of the movie has gone down well with the audience and Luthria says she has given a new soul to the character of Silk.

"We were looking for a strong performer and not someone who could merely look sexy and Vidya is a great actor. Also, she has the body of a classic voluptuous Indian beauty, something not many Bollywood actresses can boast of. Silk was never pencil thin," Luthria told PTI.

The director says that there was much thought and debate before Vidya`s name was zeroed down for the part.

"To have someone like her play a character of this sort is enough to create curiosity. There is a certain grace, class and credibility that Vidya brings and she is a South Indian herself," says Luthria.

The director of films like `Kachche Dhaage`, `Taxi Number 9211` and `Once Upon a Time in Mumbai`, Luthria says a lot has gone into transforming Vidya into Silk Smitha.

"A lot of work has gone into her transformation. It requires a great deal of effort to present a lady in a manner that looks sensuous but not vulgar. I am sure that people are standing up and noticing her and the film for that very reason," added Milan.

"The fact that she can hold that innocent expression despite being a part of a bold scene is a facet of only great actors. The kind of character that she is playing, someone who has a harsh exterior but a soft inner, isn`t easy, but Vidya does it effortlessly," says Luthria.

The director, however, admits that Vidya had certain inhibitions when she first started shooting the film.

"It wasn`t easy for Vidya on the first day. She was an absolute professional in front of the camera but behind the scenes there was much mental conditioning she had to engage in, before stepping out on the sets in those shocking costumes.

"She went through hundreds of costume trials before we zeroed down on what was finally required for the screen. There was a lot of talking that happened with Vidya before she reached a comfort level. Fortunately, she was quite open about sharing her inhibitions at the very outset," he says.

Now, that the film is in its last leg of shooting, Luthria is glad that Vidya has been accepted unanimously in her new avatar.

`The Dirty Picture`, which also stars Emraan Hashmi, Naseeruddin Shah, alongside Vidya will hit the theatres on December 2.

The biopic depicts the life and death of Silk Smitha, real name Vijayalakshmi, who made a mark in the southern film industry with her dance numbers, semi-nude scenes and bold performances in films like `Moondru Mugam` and `Amaran`, earning the label of a soft porn actress.

She was found dead in her Chennai apartment in 1996 at the age of 35.

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