Shakeela Movie Review: 'Riveting Tale' or 'Wannabe Dirty Picture', Critics Are Divided Over Richa Chadha's New Film

Ananya Swaroop
·3-min read

Shakeela starring Richa Chadha, Pankaj Tripathi was one of the most talked-about films ever since its announcement. The biopic which is based on the life of south star Shakeela impressed everyone with its trailer and people were eagerly waiting to see Richa's bold performance in the film. The actress primarily worked in the South Indian film industries and the film trails her successful journey leading to her suicide. The movie will showcase her journey and despite her being from a conservative Muslim background, how she rose to become a star in the adult film industry. Apart from Richa and Pankaj, the film also stars Malayalam actor Rajeev Pillai. Directed by Indrajith Lankesh, the film released in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil today. Shakeela Teaser: Richa Chadha Sheds All Her Inhibitions as the Popular South Softcore Star.

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Time Of India: Writer-director Indrajit Lankesh chooses a story that has all the trappings of a riveting tale of a powerful protagonist. Desperate times, challenging circumstances, spurts of success and an antagonist, who wields all the clout to defeat any opponent. But the way Lankesh tells Shakeela’s (Richa Chadha) story and derives performances from able stars like Richa Chadha and Pankaj Tripathi is underwhelming, to say the least.

Deccan Herald: Gifted actors like Pankaj Tripathi and Richa Chadda go through the chores with nothing extraordinary to do. A story with many interesting shades had to be more pulpy and gripping. Sadly, the film, made by Indrajit Lankesh -- who predominantly makes Kannada films -- scratches just the surface of this exciting premise. 'Shakeela', starring Richa Chadda and Pankaj Tripathi, is a bore-fest. The film is a wannabe 'Dirty Picture'. Shakeela: From Kinnarathumbikal to Maami, 7 Cult Movies of the South Queen of Softcore Era That Once Ruled Kerala!

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Gulf News: It’s one of those biopics that make you wonder why this project was greenlit in the first place, especially since Vidya Balan’s epic turn in ‘The Dirty Picture’, loosely based on Shakeela’s blazing predecessor Silk Smitha, had already given the farm away. There’s nothing new or revelatory in director Indrajit Lankesh’s ‘Shakeela’, that Balan’s film hadn’t already explored. The backstory of a spunky adult star — who was secretly adored and the object of forbidden desire for many young men — simply didn’t have enough meat to keep us invested.

Well, it looks like the film got mixed reviews from the audience and critics. However, Richa's performance did make an impression on many. Seeing Pankaj play the bad guy is always a treat and the film is a one-time watch if you are interested to know about Shakeela's life.