Vidya Balan will take a sizeable chunk of time off to explore Silk Smitha's life before getting into the part for Milan Luthria's Silk Smitha biopic, The Dirty Picture. Smitha was the controversial queen of sleaze from Tamil cinema who died under mysterious circumstances in 1996.
Currently focussed on completing Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani in Kolkata, Balan intends to visit Eluru, Smitha's birthplace in Andhra Pradesh, as well as Chennai, the late actress' workbase. She will also meet people who were close to Smitha.
Says a source, "This is Vidya's second biographical character in a year. Just as UTV made sure that her part as Sabrina Lal in No One Killed Jessica was approved by her family, Vidya wants Silk Smitha's family to give their go-ahead."
Balan is aware that the team behind this film, producer Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms and director Milan Luthria, got into trouble with their last film Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai.
Says a source, "They had to eventually deny that Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai was Haji Mastan's biopic because of pressure from his family. Kangna Ranaut's character was modelled on Madhubala. By the end of the film, they were all denying any resemblance to her."
Says Balan, "I was surprised to hear that I had reservations about doing certain scenes in The Dirty Picture. We haven't reached that stage of discussion. We're still discussing the contract."
Apparently Balan will mention in the contract that the film is indeed and irrevocably a legitimate Silk Smitha biography. Says the actress, "One has to be very careful about portraying real lives on screen, especially controversial ones. Of course, the role comes with a sleazy connotation. But I never go by the character only. I go by the entire script."
Reportedly, director Raj Kumar Santoshi is also keen on signing her in an author-backed true-life role.
Balan sighs with happiness, "I'm glad filmmakers show so much faith in my ability to portray real people. I'd love to do a comedy with Raj Kumar Santoshi. To do a role like Sridevi's in Mr India, I'd give my right arm."