The world loves a sordid sex scandal that can topple a country’s government or bring down world leaders, but Mallika Sherawat’s latest film Dirty Politics with its shoddy handling doesn’t exploit that popular sentiment. It wouldn’t get my vote if this film contested on the best story front.
The tale of an ambitious, self-serving dancer Anokhi Devi (Mallika Sherawat) who gets involved with a lecherous-but-powerful politician Dainath (Om Puri) to obtain an easy ticket in the elections is painfully long.
While the 60-something Dainath is ruled by his hormones, Devi exploits his weakness for her relentlessly to pursue her political ambitions. But things sour between them when her paramour doesn’t keep his promise of giving her a political berth.
She turns into this aggressive beast and makes the most predictable move: She brandishes a CD documenting their salacious affair and threatens to release it to the world. So like any selfish and egomaniacal leader, he orders her murder. The drama then becomes a murder mystery that a bunch of ethical investigators, activists and cops (Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah and Sushant Singh) are determined to solve.
In five minutes the viewer may be able to guess what happened to Devi, but it takes this group of experts a couple of hours to piece together the puzzle. The eternal mystery here would be how, and why did talented actors such as Kher and Shah accept roles that had nothing new to offer?
Watching Kher, as the upright Central Bureau of Investigation chief, reminds you of his role in films such as A Wednesday. He does what’s expected of him. Nothing more, nothing less. Surprisingly, Sherawat — who is the main draw of this KC Bokadia-directed film — doesn’t have the meatiest role. Her character, which is hardly noble, isn’t fleshed out.
Forget empathy, she fails to evoke any kind of emotion — be it hate or love — in the viewer. She dances, flirts, fumes — but there’s no heat in any of her actions. She looks at power and money as the biggest aphrodisiacs in her life, but you are unmoved by it all.
Rape as a tool of revenge against women is needlessly thrown around in the climax. It doesn’t serve any purpose or accelerate the climax.
Dirty Politics stinks of lazy writing and stock characters. Despite a clutch of talented veteran actors, the political drama isn’t elevated to a film that reveals the dark side of human nature or the steaminess in Indian politics. If Dirty Politics were to contest in any award ceremony, it would lose unceremoniously.
Film review: Dirty Politics (18+)
Cast: Mallika Sherawat, Om Puri, Ashutosh Rana, Naseeruddin Shah and Jackie Shroff
Stars: 1 out of 5