Saturday, February 21, 2009

Delhi 6


Rating : 7/10
Time : 140 minutes
Director & Co-writer : Rakeysh OmPrakash Mehra; Co-writers : Kamlesh Pandey, Prasoon Joshi; Music : A R Rehman
Starring : Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Om Puri, Vijay Raaz, Rishi Kapoor, Pawan Malhotra, Divya Dutta, Supriya Pathak, Tanvi Azmi, Prem Chopra, Deepak Dobriyal, S K Raina

Delhi 6 is full of well defined characters, intriguing sub-plots, good cinematography and snappy dialogue. It’s a simple story by itself, but it’s the little twists and turns, watching how the different characters interact with each other and how the little plot elements suddenly become big, quite realistically at that, which makes the film engrossing. I didn’t like the end though, I know where he’s coming from but it became a bit too filmy, a bit too moralistic for me

This is a film of an NRI (Abhishek Bachchan), born and brought up in USA, finding his way in India, in the by-lanes of Chandni Chowk, when he bring his grandmother (the ever graceful Waheeda Rahman) back from USA as per her desires. I liked the way the decision to return was taken, in a nice, no-nonsense, unemotional way – none of the drama that you normally expect and most other film makers would’ve dragged this bit out for half an hour while here it took only five minutes.



Chandni Chowk is an eclectic mélange of colours and characters. You have Rishi Kapoor as a shayar who runs an internet café cum pool bar, Deepak Dobriyal as the sweet shop owner who never lets either Abhishek or Waheeda pass without giving them a hot jalebi, a cynical and dominating Om Puri and a gregarious and flashy Pawan Malhotra as the two squabbling brothers, who’ve now built the classic wall to divide their house into two parts, along with their respective wive’s and children (Sonam and two very natural, endearing boys) who refuse to let the wall get in their way. And you have three things running through the film – one is Ramlila, which helps bring some timeless points home (brothers quarreling in real life vs the Ram-Laxman relationship, for example), the other is the amazing ‘kala bandar’, a yeti-like creature who is ostensibly stalking the streets of chandni chowk, and providing fodder to the numerous tv news channels desperate to scare us for extra TRPs. And finally, the excellent music (A R Rahman and Prasoon Joshi), which helps maintain the mood and fizz for most of the film.


Abhishek’s homecoming is full of cliché’s but still makes you smile. The cow holding up traffic, the rickshaw being used as the fastest way to get to hospital, the purification ceremony when he touches someone of lower caste, the tiff with the slap-happy cop played by Vijay Raaz. There are several other moments, the type which can only happen in India, which add to the charm of the film. The Ramlila getting interrupted by vote chasing, saffron clad politicians, the character named Jalebi (well played by Divya Dutta) and the two kids who walk upto her with a ‘hammein mard bana do request’, the many discussions about Kala Bandar (including the brilliant short circuit theory of Pawan), who is a 8 foot human-like creature one minute, an alien the next and a gorilla a bit later, Sonam’s fascination for Indian Idol and her amazing slightly over the top transformation for it. And finally the hilarious sex scene with the remote accidentally changing the channels which describe the various stages of passion.

I liked the way different characters were portrayed – each of them fit their part well and everyone has a purpose. What I liked even more is how skillfully Rakeysh brought things together for the climax, how Sonam and Abhishek’s relationship is shown developing at the same time as his relationship with her father, Om Puri is shown deteriorating. How suddenly the Kala Bandar ‘explodes’ into prominence and acquires religious undertones. Two special mentions in terms of acting for me were Atul Kulkarni (played the character named Gobar and there’s this really funny by-play about 2 coins vs 1 note) and Sonam, who finally breaks through with a very nice, feisty, well-rounded performance. What I didn’t like was the ending itself – too simplistic and too heavy handed for a film which had been so subtle till then. It definitely gave a sense of anti-climax and kind of made you feel you were being lectured to. I liked some of the broader points he wanted to make – religion / gullibility / greedy politicians etc and I even liked the gentle way he made them (on caste, for example), in the first half. But the second half was too melodramatic and just too far fetched.

There were two comments from the audience, which made me sit up. The first was when a semi-exasperated woman, who, just as the mood of the film changed from being fun / light hearted to serious / tense, hissed ‘this is Rakeysh Mehra’. And the other was, while we were exiting, one of the jean clad aunty’s drawling in her kitty party voice to her friend ‘but the end was too preachy, yaar’. And I just couldn’t help agreeing with both…

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a grasp of the pulse of the film!!
You always put into words what I am juggling with in my mind!!

Anonymous said...

An awesome movie!!! Brought back memories of the kind of people and environment i have grown up in.... Although i too agree that the ending was a bit too heavy, but still it was ok!!!
Karan

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt mind knowing the end of the movie as well and more so now after reading your review.

rhythm fadia said...

after jeeturaaj's disastrous review i opted not to watch this movie...but reading ur take on it i think it might be worth a watch....

Anshul Agrawal said...

I always liked ur reviews but I don't agree with the ratings and your review of Delhi-6.

If try to find out then definitely we can find some +ve points but on a whole I was very dissappointed with this movie...

According to me, this movie is not worth watching...

Anonymous said...

I wonder why this movie is evoking such extreme reactions. People who like it - love it and others rate it as the worst movie ever.

Gayatri said...

I completely second your review.