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Nawazuddin Siddiqui (left) plays a photographer in Miss Lovely.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui (left) plays a photographer in Miss Lovely.

The really dirty picture

The film-maker on 'Miss Lovely', an archive of a vanished film-making scene and a fading city

Q&A| Ashim Ahluwalia

It’s the tale of two brothers who work in the pornographic film industry and fall out over a woman. That’s the one-liner for Miss Lovely. The whole caboodle is something else together—a universe of retro pleasures and pain, atmospheric interiors and decaying exteriors, marginal characters and forbidden dreams.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s debut feature, which will be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival later this month, follows from his acclaimed 2005 documentary John & Jane. A direct line runs backwards from the business process outsourcing hubs that came up in suburban Mumbai in the 2000s to the business and leisure playgrounds inhabited by the so-called C-grade industry in the late 1980s. Ahluwalia’s interest in creating what he calls “an encyclopaedia of interiors" leads to an aesthetic which references the city’s industrial past. This is pre-globalized Mumbai at its most evocative and perilous. If you feel uneasy while watching the film, you’re meant to.

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Potrait of Ashim Ahluwalia
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