Delhi 6 movie review
Delhi 6 makes old Delhi come alive. The narrow bylanes, the havelis (old style houses) and the way people talk and act feels very authentic, although apparently the director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra shot most of the movie in Sambar, (near Jaipur, Rajasthan) which is similar to Old Delhi.
What I liked about the movie is that its visually pleasing which speaks very well for the cinematography (Binod Pradhan). It isn’t breathtaking, but it is interesting and original. The dialogues and acting also seem very natural. The first half of the movie is basically nothing but people meeting and talking, no action at all, and to make this interesting and visually attractive is difficult, but Mehra does it. Anyone who likes action and/or a coherent story will be disappointed though. I didn’t mind it too much as I was in that kind of mood when I saw the movie. I enjoyed seeing the colourful people, the song and dance, and was able to take the overdose of culture and religion too.
The problem with the movie is that one doesn’t know where it’s heading. Song and dance and culture is fine, but by the time the interval arrives one is not sure what the director intends, and what the theme is. Sure, there is this “villain,” the so-called “kala bandar” (black monkey) but one wonders how exactly he will fit into the scheme of things. Mehra does a fine job with the setting, but he forgets about the story, if there is one.
At times one feels one is watching some kind of fairy tale, with the frequent sequences of Ram Leela thrown in. Sure, it is all supposed to be related to the theme of the movie, but…err, what exactly is that?
As the movie nears the end one discovers that there is a plot. I have a strong feeling that Mehra wanted to end this movie as a tragedy (remember his previous film Rang de Basanti?) but he just about avoided it this time. As for the black monkey, Mehra uses this device to talk of the moral of the story…of the evil lurking within us which makes us hit out at others. As a concept it seems fine, but not only is it overdone, it comes out very preachy. One ridiculous thing in the story is the way Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) acts at the end…it’s stupid and bizarre! Not only are his actions completely out of character, even a ten year old child would have known better than to act the way he does. This suggests that the director wanted a certain thing to happen and manipulated his character to drive home a moral “lesson.” I can only call it artificial.
There is a romantic overtone to the relationship between Roshan and Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) but I wasn’t quite sure why he is romancing his cousin. At first I thought maybe I’m mistaken, that Bittu isn’t his cousin, but then in later sequences Bittu’s father clearly tells Roshan, “Tumhari behen ki shaadi ho rahi hai” (Your sister is getting married). And then we see Roshan romancing Bittu and I couldn’t help but say Eeeww!
The actors and characters
Abhishek Bachchan is fine as Roshan, the slightly easy-going foreign returned son of a Hindu father and Muslim mother, and Sonam is good too. In fact all the actors do a good job and that is probably the reason why the dialogues seem so natural. Om Puri’s performance as Madan Gopal (Bittu’s father) and Vijay Raaz’s as Inspector Ranvijay stand out.
Is the movie worth seeing?
Dilli 6 didn’t leave me with a good feeling. Except for the music (AR Rehman) which was devastatingly brilliant. As for the movie, for me at least, it was the preachy tone that was off-putting as also the lack of a cohesive story. After seeing and enjoying Billu last week-end (couldn’t do the review as I didn’t have my internet connection on then) this movie is very disappointing. Billu had a theme, it had a story, the acting performances were good. Most important, the movie brought out a tear or two, made you feel for the character of Billu. Also the story of Billu seemed fresh and original, unlike that of Dilli 6 which talks of the same old Hindu Muslim tensions and the bigotry and religious superstitions in our society. One thing though… Delhi 6 brings out the social milieu very well.