But the first screening of The Dirty Picture changed everyone's impression. The film critics, who planned to condemn Vidya for accepting this offer, appreciated her bold performance and praised her sublime idea behind portraying sex siren Silk Smitha on big screen to sky high. They even said that she will walk away with all the awards reserved for heroine's role. Here are the opinions of some of the film critics.
On The Hindu, Sudhish Kamath writes, "Vidya Balan performs with an attitude that Scarlett may never be capable of. This is the single-most boldest performance by a woman in the history of Indian cinema not because of the reels of cleavage, in almost every frame in fact, but because of the large frame she flaunts and carries off on screen in an age where heroines are called fat if they cannot maintain a size zero figure."
On Rediff, Raja Sen writes, "The Dirty Picture is Vidya Balan's show all the way." He adds, "Balan exultantly runs with it, making the character her own with remarkable commitment to the role. There is no vulgarity -- even when she writhes awkwardly and desperately around a whip -- simply because Balan visibly chooses to have a helluva time. She might not match the legend whose name she's borrowed in terms of sheer screen raunch, but outdoes her with an assault of unashamed oomph."
On Times of India, Gaurav Malani writes, "It goes without saying that the film belongs to Vidya Balan and she does absolute justice in playing her part to perfection. Not only is she bold in terms of her body language, she comes up with an audacious act and brings out the inner turmoil and pathos of her character effortlessly."
On India Today, Kaveree Bamzai writes, "She (Vidya) may not be earthy enough for critics who have lusted after the real Silk in their youth. But she is all woman, and she is all sensuousness in a performance that is brave, bold and completely natural." Kaveree adds, "Balan is indeed a woman of our times, where public samaan dekhti hai, dukaan nahin. Silk is a character worthy of her."
On Glamsham, Martin D'Souza writes, "Vidya Balan disappears; it's Silk that emerges on screen." He adds, "Vidya lives, breathes and executes the character to the 'T'."
On Koimoi, Komal Nahta opines, "Vidya Balan deserves the highest praise for accepting the role of an actress who wears sex on her sleeve and for delivering a flawless and absolutely uninhibited performance. She seems to have submitted herself completely to her director and to the demands of the script and has acted so naturally that it is difficult to imagine anyone else doing what she has done in the film. She would easily bag every best actress award this year for her remarkable show of talent."
On DNA India, Aniruddha Guha feels, "Vidya Balan pulls off Silk in a manner no current female actor can." He adds, "Vidya brings all that -- the flamboyance, the sensuality, the heartbreak -- to her role (and without coming across even a tad vulgar)."