I Hate You. I Hate Him. I Hate Her. I Hate That Guy. I Hate The Neighbours. I Hate the People across the street. I Hate…
Oops! I let out the Kaala Bandar and look what it did! One lesson from coming back from the screening of Delhi 6 would be to learn to leash the inherent kaala bandar or the monkey of hatred that is said to be deep-rooted within each one of us. But I shouldn’t be starting at that point; let me shackle-in the monkey and I’ll brb with my thoughts about the movie…
Delhi 6 is the third movie from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (who kinda started off on the wrong foot with Aks but redeemed himself and sorta liberated the free-spirited Indian audience with Rang De Basanti) which tells the tale of happenings in the cultural milieu of the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi having the post code 6, hence the title. ABCD Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) comes to Delhi with his ailing grandmother (Waheeda Rehman) who wants to spend the rest of her life in her Delhi home. Her Son and Daughter-in-law are left back in US but the neighbours and locality people are more than just that, they’re ‘family’ too and welcome her back with open arms and warm hearts. Roshan initially struggles to ‘fit’ into this socially and culturally interwoven environment but warms up to the happenings around him in due course of time. Things start to go awry, partly as a result of Roshan’s open-mindedness and partly due to a certain so-called alien ‘creature’ labelled monkey-man. How it ends, I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination (which, in hindsight, Rakeysh also should have done!)
The movie has an ‘ensemble’ cast of characters which is greater in numbers than, say, the cast of Mind Your Language (the sitcom)! These characters certainly bring out the crowded and close-knit Delhi-ish society but they take their own sweet time to develop and some are not even necessary to the narrative. I’ve no complaints at the casting though; to paraphrase a fellow-member at FreeHyd: “When did we last see Rishi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Om Puri, Atul Kulkarni, Deepak Dobriyal, Pavan Malhotra, Vijay Raaz & Divya Dutta sharing space in the same movie?”. The narrative has its fair share of flaws – the sheer verbosity of it, for one. There are oh-so-many tiny and large sub-plots woven into the movie that one feels quite inundated at times. Children enjoying a secret smoke, lecherous affairs of a young girl married to an older guy, brothers at odds with each other, their unwed sister, wannabe Indian Idols, pregnant cows, the tulsi in the courtyard, named pigeons…the movie has got it all! Some of them are subtly clouded and may take some thought to decipher but others are plain waste of film, it seems.
The movie’s music is certainly a high-point but I wonder why the makers haven’t used the entire songs? Except Masakali and Dil gira dafatan, no other song is presented in its entirety. I also feel that the background score was delayed/incomplete and had to be replaced by a repetition of some of the songs. Cinematography and Production Design are two more areas of excellence. Binod Pradhan’s camerawork and Sandeep Chanda’s design deserve applause. Abhishek Bachchan is subtle throughout but overdoes the foreign-accent. Sonam Kapoor is good but could have been more firebrand-ish which would have lent her character more edge. Om Puri, Rishi Kapoor and Pavan Malhotra, all fine actors, are decent enough to pass muster. Of the rest of the cast, Vijay Raaz is commendable. And I don’t know why some reviews have been raving about the performance of Aditi Rao (as the unwed Rama Bua)? I didn’t find her performance path-breaking or anything! The director deserves some brownie points for the first half of the movie but I’m gonna take them all away for the climax! I don’t know whether UTV has to do with the way the movie ended but it wasn’t convincing. Reams of webspace have been devoted to the climax’s fall-on-its-face so I won’t do it again, except mention that I hated it!
Overall, Delhi 6 is a watchable movie with some great songs, equally great picturisation and some commendable performances by everyone involved. It doesn’t come close to make one feel-good about Delhi the way that Dibakar Banerjee’s movies have but its contemporariness does make you think. IMHO, its moral should have been “One can take the Indian out of India but can’t take the India out of an Indian” instead of the “Suppress, better annihilate, the black monkey within yourselves”
P.S: Read a much more detailed and well-written review by R Baradwaj at DesiPundit.