Dirty Picture By Anuradha Marwah
Dirty Picture is the story of two sisters whose liaisons create scandal in a small town. Leaving her husband's home in Bombay, Reena returns to Ajmer wearing the ring of a married CEO. She intends to rebuild her life even if it means stepping out of convention. Meanwhile, her teenage sister Bharti has stumbled into local politics. Although imbued with a reformatory zeal, she gets sucked into a veritable quagmire of sexual intrigue because of her naivety and inexperience.
While Bharti's life begins to disintegrate, dragging all around her into a nightmare of exploitation, Reena struggles to keep her castle in the air from imminent collapse. Circumstances become inexorable as the moral brigade closes in on the hapless Bharti and Reena discovers that the CEO is more in love with his image on T.V.
Anuradha Marwah writes feelingly about desire, abuse and small town society. Her searing third novel imaginatively explores the 'sex scandal' that shook Ajmer in the 1990s and raises deeply disturbing questions about love and consent.
she is erudite, has a way with words and compels attention. - Khushwant Singh
Serious, responsible, yet funny and ironic, that is Anuradha's writing.
A criticism - a false criticism that is levelled all the time against women's writing, is that it tends to be internal and domestic. I think in that sense Anuradha is not a woman - the larger world is her domain. So that she unites in her writing two kinds of sensibility - one that is intimate and personal, and the other that deals for example with politicised religion and socially disruptive forces.
It is not easy to write about such things, and in a way that will induce people to be concerned about them, but I think she succeeds brilliantly. In Dirty Picture, particularly she has managed to bring all her interests together in a narrative that is both disturbing and persuasive.
This is a story that needs to be told, but because of its complexity, it is not an easy story to tell. But Anuradha persisted, and we all owe her a debt of gratitude that she did. This particular incident at least will not be covered by the dust of ages. Manju Kapur, the author of Difficult Daughters