Delhi-6 : Good, but could have been Better

21 02 2009

I went into the movie hall with big expectations. And why wouldn’t I? After seeing a masterpiece like Rang De Basanti coming from Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s hat, one would expect something close to that if not better. But then I had read rave reviews about the movie as well. But then I have a tendency to not go by the reviewer’s words as the choice of a movie varies largely from person to person.

Delhi 6

Delhi 6

Delhi 6 had a very promising start. The way Chandni Chowk (Delhi – 110006) was introduced was mind blowing. I had been there just once and I could still feel the heartbeat of the place. I could imagine how the guys from Delhi would be feeling! And the action has been very well captured – especially the Friday namaz of Jama Masjid, the bustling narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk and the attitude of its residents.

Delhi-6 is a story of a simple guy – Roshan Mehra (Abhishek Bachchan) from the US of A who brings his grandmother (Waheeda Rahman) back to her own motherland. She is ailing with some heart disease which cannot be cured. And she wants to die in India. They get a warm welcome from the residents of Delhi-6. Roshan, who is not very familiar with such kind of hospitality finds it awkward, but later he starts enjoying it. He captures all these moments in his Motorola (I think it was Moto ROKR E8). There he meets one of his neighbor – Bittu Sharma (Sonam Kapoor), a wannabe Indian Idol. But her father wants her to get married at any cost. The first half of the movie goes in introducing these entertaining and interesting characters. Some characters like Ali uncle (Rishi Kapoor), Gobar (Atul Kulkarni), Madangopal (Om Puri), Jaigopal (Pavan Malhotra) and Jalebi (Divya Dutta) were very interesting and lively. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of all these people. Apart from them, the cameos by Vijay Raaz – Kawwa Biryani fame of Run – as Inspector Ranvijay, characters like Mamdu, Rama Bua etc were nice and memorable. Cyrus Sahukar and Prem Chopra were grossly underutilized. But the director can’t be blamed for that in a movie that has so many characters.

The heart of the movie revolves the “Kala Bandar” (Black Monkey). No, it’s not about some gorilla or chimpanzee, but it’s a hysterical character that everyone tries to make use of for their own good. A series of murders and robbery happens and whatever happens in and around Delhi, the kala bandar is accredited for that. The life of the people in Chandni Chowk changes, when one of their own “brother” Mamdu’s shop is allegedly attacked by the kala bandar. Then a series of allegations results in a Hindu-Muslim riot situation. So far so good, but how each of the characters were used in this scenario would make you love or hate the movie.

The performance of Abhishek and Sonam, both were good, if not exceptional. Some scenes were done very nicely. Waheeda Rahman was at her best. So were Rishi Kapoor and Atul Kulkarni. And I must mention that Sonam Kapoor looked gorgeous! She has now climbed up my list of favorite heroines she is just one below Priyanka Chopra, who is still at the top 🙂

According to me, the plot was very good. But the climax could have been handled in a much more interesting way. I understood what the director wanted to convey. But then the message is not in pure black and white. It has so many gray shades that it leaves the viewer confused at times as to what exactly the director wanted to say. I wouldn’t say that Delhi-6 is a worthy follow-up for Rang De Basanti, but on an individual note, it’s a good movie. I can say that this is the best movie in 2009 (considering that it’s just February!). But I feel this one would not get the word-of-mouth publicity that RDB got. And although my head says that the movie won’t be a blockbuster, my heart wants it to be one!!!

Rating: *** (3/5)