Actress Vidya Balan, who essays the role of southern sex siren Silk Smitha in her forthcoming film 'The Dirty Picture', says, as Silk was bold and fearless, she was exploited in a wrong way.

The Milan Luthria directed movie chronicles the life of controversial South Indian actress Vijayalaxmi, popularly known as Silk Smitha.

"In real life, Silk was ahead of her time. She took pride in what she did and was never ashamed in what she was doing. Silk was bindaas, fearless, open and wanted to live to the fullest. She believed in taking every opportunity and living every moment and was not bothered about what people talk or think. There was some childishness in her but she was fearless," Vidya told in an interview.

"People think Silk was bold only because she used to dress up or pose in certain way...but this was one part of her fearlessness. Some even felt she was shameless but I don't think she was. Today, girls are in complete command of their life and sexuality... they are unapologetic and take pride in whatever they do. Silk was like that back then. And which is why she was misunderstood and people exploited that in a wrong way," she said.

Vijayalaxmi reached the iconic status of a sex symbol in Tamil cinema during her time. Appearing in over 200 films, the young seductress was neck deep in controversies and eventually died at the age of 33. It is suspected that she commited suicide. The movie goes back into the era of 1980s, especially in Tamil films and shows the highs and lows of a dancing star.

Vidya says the film is not based on Silk Smitha's life but is inspired by her.
"The film is not based on Silk Smitha but is inspired by her life. It is about a dancing star...dancing stars were popular back then in 1980s..there used to be item songs in that period. And Silk was number one in that period. There were other colleagues of Silk like Disco Shanti, Nylon Nandini, Polyester Padmini and others but Silk was first of her kind. Hence, the name of the film character is Silk," Vidya said. Produced by Ekta Kapoor, the film also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Tusshar Kapoor and Emraan Hashmi.

Ask Vidya if she did any research to get into the skin of the character and she says, "I did not watch Silk Smitha's film. I watched 'Sadma' (Silk was part of this 1983 Hindi film) again.. there was a song 'Oh Bahua', performed by Silk ...I had seen that song several times but saw it again. It is not only about Silk I had also seen others like Nylon Nandini to get to see what it was like in that era."