Shakeela Teaser: We’re Glad Richa Chadha Starrer Isn’t Shying Away From Showing The Dirty Picture
In India, the name Shakeela doesn’t just invoke memories, it arouses them. In the 1990s, Shakeela was a prominent adult film star who worked in South Indian movies, and gave some of the biggest mainstream stars a run for their money. The Box Office numbers yet fell at her feet and she raked in crowds like nothing else could. In fact, this is exactly who the teaser of her eponymous biopic movie, directed by Indrajit Lankesh, introduces the craze of Shakeela, played by the brilliant Richa Chadha. The film which, after much delay, is finally releasing in screens, also stars Pankaj Tripathi and Rajeev Pillai.
While Shakeela was the girl of many a men’s (wet) dreams, and her onscreen stardom explosive beyond imagination, in real life, she often faced harassment. Shots of both, her star power and the difficult real life situation are interspersed in the teaser, with some major closeups of Richa as Shakeela. And can I say, she seems to look and perform the part quite well.
The film is expected to highlight not just Shakeela’s stardom but also the harassment that made her life difficult. The film’s poster, in fact, does a fab job of portraying the irony of her fame, where on one side, she is proclaimed the BO Queen and has everyone lusting after her, the other side is wall with graffiti that shames her and calls her names, possibly by the very people who secretly are her loyal audiences.
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It’s not a stretch to drawn comparisons between Vidya Balan as Silk Smitha in The Dirty Picture and Richa Chadha in and as Shakeela. The premise is somewhat similar; both started their careers young, and became sex symbols known for their softcore films, albeit their eras were different. And both of them faced major issues because of their stardom in their real life. While The Dirty Picture brought in veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah to play a South superstar, Shakeela brings in everyone’s beloved (and mine too) Pankaj Tripathi in a pivotal role.
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Even though this is just a teaser, Shakeela the film doesn’t seem to be shying away from showcasing the dirty picture, in that Richa’s portrayal appears bold and erotic, but not sleazy. Of course, the trailer would give us a better idea about that. Right now that montage was super fast and I barely caught glimpses of Richa as Shakeela surrounded by fans, shooting a lovemaking scene, her poster being slimed and her effigy burnt, and Pankaj Tripathi’s character in pensive thought.
Watch the teaser here:
Also Read: Richa Chadha Shuts Down Troll Who Thinks Emmy Winner Delhi Crime ‘Celebrates’ Rape Culture
Shakeela belonged to a conservative Muslim family. She entered the South Indian movie industry at the age of 16 as a secondary actress in a film called Playgirls in 1994. After some of her bold scenes in movies started a hitherto unseen craze amongst fans for her, the South Siren went on to star in over 250 films in South Indian cinema, across languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Odia and Telugu. Most of these movies were softcore (soft porn). While in 2002, she announced that she would no longer be doing B grade movies, she continues to work in films. She has also written an autobiography about her years in the industry.
Richa Chadha, in her statement, said that she hopes the film brings some laughter and entertainment in an otherwise drab and dull year. “I am happy that the film is releasing. Hopefully, it will bring some laughter and entertainment into the lives of people and this depressing year will end on a happier note. Shakeela’s story is unlike any other and yet it’s universal. She is very well known down south and it will be interesting to see how it will be received here. She did rule the roost for many years, providing steady business to cinema halls in times of crisis. It was also great to reunite with Pankaj ji.”
The film’s director Indrajit Lankesh has called Shakeela his passion project, having personally interviewed the actress extensively and worked with her in 2003. He hopes the movie is able to put out the message that the showbiz life isn’t all glitz and glamour. He said, “Shakeela is my passion project. I have known her since 2003 when I worked with her. Her rags-to-riches story caught my attention. I did some extensive personal interviews with her and came to know so much about the person that she is behind that image of a star. And I knew that it is only Richa who can nail the part. This film will help youngsters who aspire to be part of the film industry understand that there is more to the overlying glitz and glamour.”
Shakeela is slated for a Christmas release.