Saturday, February 21, 2009

Delhi - 6

The rapturous sound track of Delhi-6 and the promos had me waiting with bated breath for the release of the movie for atleast 2 weeks now. A just ok review in the Times (3 stars) threatened to indicate disappointment (especially considering the fact that Raaz 2 also got 3 stars), forcing me to scale down expectations. Finally managed to see the movie on Saturday courtesy extra tickets that a friend had.

The movie is a good one time watch, especially for its marvellous cinematography and brilliant sound track. The story if you dare ask is hmmmmn... hmmm........ well its about a guy (Roshan - Abhishek Bachan), who accompanies his grandmother to India as she wishes to spend her "last days" in Delhi. There are a lot of characters -
  • neighbours, specifically two brothers who spend most of their time fighting with each other,
  • their sister who is unmarried and disappointed with her life,
  • a daughter (Bittu - Sonam Kapoor) who aspires to become an Indian Idol - anything that would get her away from her middle class life,
  • her mom and aunt who maintain their family link despite the walls created by their husbands' egos
  • a local money lender with an adulterous wife,
  • the adulterous wife's paramour - a small time lecherous photographer
  • religious leaders who are quick to take the cudgels to defend their religions without thinking of logic or reason
  • a simpleton who is actually much wiser than he seems
  • an untouchable who is also equally wise
  • pigeons including one Masakali whose wings have been clipped so she can't fly
  • two cute kids who give Abhishek & the pigeons a lot of competition in looking cute and end up coming second after the pigeons
  • a "Kalabandar" (black monkey) whom everyone in Delhi is mortally scared of for the "crimes" that "he commits"
  • a Local politician who somehow vaguely seems to resemble a watered down version of a prominent MP based MLA belonging to a leading Hindu National political party
  • Amitabh Bacchan in a brief guest appearance
The movie is set along the time that the Ram Leela festival is happening in Delhi. The movie depicts various socio-political issues like untouchability, influence of politics on religion, poor governance and the acceptance of the same (power/water), lack of freedom for a lot of women in shaping their life, lawlessness, and the chaos that's a part of our lives. All these almost convince Abhishek to leave the city with his grandmother. However he stays back on account of his love for Sonam and the city. (Choke)

The movie about how the "Kalabandar" is being used by everyone an excuse to unleash their inner evil or to cover up their mistakes. The main message is that both God and Satan ("Kalabandar") are present in each of us, and that we should recognize the God in others. Further it cautions us against letting the Satan within dominate our thoughts & actions. While all the songs move along with the story and hold it together, the picturisation of Arziyan song is commendable as the camera smoothly pans the prayers in the huge mosque in varied sequenced angles. The movie will do best with the young adults.

It comes across a rehashed version of Swades especially if you consider the similarities of NRI returning to India, NRI attached to an old lady, NRI falling in love with a young girl who is/wishes to be independent, NRI staying back, issues of untouchability, poor electricity and NRI dealing with the chaos that our life is ! Even Ram leela scenes reminded me of Swades. In fact while the song of Swades has a line "Ram tujme hai, Ram mujme hai, Ram ham sab me he", Delhi-6 has Abhishek say that God is in all of us. The difference -Delhi-6 is more on the emotional/social/psychological nature than Swades which was more about doing something physically tangible to make a difference to society at large. Delhi-6 is also more about changes at a personal level, love for the idiosyncrasies of life, observations on how we complicate things, and how everyone is actually good at heart. The events covered in the movie are not really Delhi centric - in fact they do happen in every city/town of India. Overall an interesting movie that has something to say in a refreshing way.

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