Miss Lovely is a 2012 Indian drama film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia and set in the criminal depths of Mumbai’s C-grade (horror and porn film) industry. Ahluwalia’s debut feature follows the story of the Duggal brothers who produce sleazy sex-horror films in the mid-1980s. The plot explores the intense and mutually destructive relationship between younger sibling Sonu Duggal, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and his elder brother, Vicky (Anil George). Sonu finds himself drawn to a mysterious young woman named Pinky (Niharika Singh) eventually leading to his downfall. Miss Lovely had its cinematic release on 17 January 2014. The film has received the National Film Award – Special Jury Award (Feature film) and Best Production Design at the 61st National Film Awards.
The stylized form, densely layered narrative, period costumes and production design simultaneously conveys a pulp style and contemporaneous modernity. Jonathan Romney of Sight & Sound described the film as “A shock to the system – an Indian film like I’d never seen.” The film constantly switches between genre pieces and is part hard-boiled film noir, part love story, part melodrama and part documentary. It has been compared to Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, and Wong Kar Wai’s Chungking Express.
Shot on a combination of Kodak Super 16 and 35mm film in widescreen, central themes of Miss Lovely include repressed sexuality, censorship, the deconstruction of genre, the material nature of celluloid and the extinction of cinema itself. The film soundtrack also links back to a history of past cinema, particularly the use of rare work of Italian composers Egisto Macchi and Piero Umiliani, who had both scored exploitation films. The soundtrack also employs film scores by Indian composer Ilaiyaraaja and disco producer Biddu.
Miss Lovely competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The film has since screened at numerous film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam. Miss Lovely had release of around 300 screens in India on 17 January 2014.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Sonu Duggal
Niharika Singh as Sonika/Pinky
Anil George as Vicky Duggal
Zeena Bhatia as Poonam
Menaka Lalwani as Nadia Khan
Ragesh Asthanaa as PK
Manoj Bakshi as Heera Seherwala