Sunday, February 22, 2009

Delhi 6 - A case of twisted ankle at the touch line

Guys, this is my first attempt at movie reviews. Actually had written this for Thus you may find an uncharacteristic civility in the tone. But as the PFC guys did not print it, you all are to become my victims.

Imagine having a whale of a time with your family in a one of those fascinating fairs with lots of rides, bhel puris and 'Maut ka Kuwa'-motorcycle shows.
You are up on the merry-go-round and just as it is about to make that jaw shattering drop, the machine stops. Everything comes to a standstill and Arundhati Roy climbs all the way up a ladder to where you are sitting and gives you a tight slap. Before you comprehend whats happening, she slaps you again and starts an half an hour monologue on the problems faced by farmers due to the Narmada Dam and berates you for your audacity to have fun when people out there are suffering. Well thats pretty much how I felt while watching Delhi 6, so ridiculous was the sudden and completely unnecessary smattering of morality upon the poor unsuspecting viewers who were all having a gala time.

The story had begun awesomely well. The earnestness of the camera while shooting the lanes of Chandi Chowk along with all her nuances gives you a genuine feeling of warmth and belongingness. The characters are full of life and truth and the ensemble cast deliver crackling performances. Rishi Kapoor in yet another superbly measured performance as an old friend of Roshan's father, Deepak Dobriyal as the lovable Jalebi-wala Mamdu, Pavan Malhotra and Om Puri as two warring brothers and the exceedingly beautiful Bua, Aditi Rao Hyadri all turn in superlative performances to significantly raise the bar of the movie. I thought the pick of the wonderful cast was Vijay Raaz as the despicable local policeman who made me cringe with the profanity he brought into his character.

Sonam Kapoor has such a vivacious and infectious smile that you would just wonder at what the devil had possesed Sanjay Leela Bhansali to cast her in a movie as Sawariya. But of course this was probably one of his lesser offences compared to the grave cinematic injuries that the movie had inflicted upon us in the name of entertainment. Rarely had any 'entertainment' before Sawariya left the audience beaten so Black and Blue.
However in Delhi 6 Sonam just yaps and yaps her way into your hearts and surely we want to see more of this Jhakkas girl.
Abhishek Bachchan is certainly not one of my favourite actors but he too turns in quite a pleasant performance. The American accent was quite ridiculous but was compensated for with some genuinely authentic expressions through his journey of self realisation in the midst the bustle of Old Delhi.

The love story is beautifully underplayed and most of the scenes are quite clever. The lovely picturisation of the 'Dil Gira Daftaan' song where Abhishek amalgamates his Indianness with his western upbringing is truly a viewer's delight. Special mention of the remote control scene which was soaked with original humor.

So what in the story doesn't work ?
First and foremost, the repeated usage of the 'Kala Bandar' concept which I think the director used to metaphorise the black devil residing within each of us.I believe an art of filmmaking is to convey the meaning through subtleties. However if the director assumes you to be an idiot and gives individual attention to opening up your skull and hammerring in his ideas, the comprehension is often spoilt with the brazenness of the narration.

What was working in Delhi 6's favour was actually the seeming lack of direction in its story. The moment the makers of the film thought of giving it a direction, and much worse a commercially motivated direction, the whole foundation of the movie came crashing down. The idea was to pass a message somehow to the audience but it seems no one had a clue what that message should be and by the time the movie reached its grotesque climax, it was just plain desperation in display. Someone needed to tell Rakesh Omprakash Mehra that Basanti was just not the Rang required here.
Already enough has been said and written about the climax, so I will avoid going into the details but if an award is ever announced to honour scenes which butchered a complete movie, the heaven sequence will have few competitors.I guess the Jalebi in that scene too was a metaphor signifying our knotted brains being chewed by Abhishek and his Dad.

Indian audience is open to intelligent cinema now. The success of directors such as Vishal Bharadwaj, Rajat Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap is testimony to the fact that the audience is maturing.
Delhi 6, while promising much, ends up disappointing the audience and what is really sad is that only if the director had not had the preaching attack, this one would have been quite enjoyable.


Anonymous said...

Man you are too good at reviewing movies also, climax evokes the same reactions me .... "I guess the Jalebi in that scene too was a metaphor signifying our knotted brains being chewed by Abhishek and his Dad. " .... hilarious !

The great Escape said...

mazza nhi aya !!!!! na movie mein aur na hi iss review mein

Wanderlust said...

@Anonymous -Thanks bro...oh wait you are anonymous can I be so sure you are a bro ???

@the great-Sorry about that..its actually tough to beat the high standard you have set in your blog. Awesome writing mate.

Anonymous said...

Only a bro can appreciate your taste for movies like "free entry" !

Wanderlust said...

Ah! Indeed could I ignore that. Hope to see more of you here, my friend.

Princess Banter said...

Hey -- not bad at all... are you sure that's your first time reviewing a film???

silverine said...

Good one! The promos of the movies held so much promise...but the reviews were so disparate that I wondered if I should see the movie. After this review I want to see it!