Watched Delhi-6 on the weekend. It’s the most muddled up movie I have seen, but with the most amazing characters and subplots.
It’s a story about a young NRI, Roshan (Abhishek) who lands in Delhi with his granny played by the ever-beautiful Waheeda Rahman for his first trip to India. The audience gets to see the sights of Delhi and Chandni Chowk through his eyes and the pictures he clicks away on his mobile. The sights of the city and its people captured by Rakesh Mehra are as real and candid as they can get. A single vintage car stuck in a traffic jam amongst bicycles and tongas, thousands of people offering Namaz at the Mosque and on the streets around Chandni Chowk, politicians interrupting ‘Sita Apaharan’ at the Ram Leela to make an important speech and donation, “A mother cow giving baby cow’ in the middle of the street, rushing to the hospital in a tonga.. to repeat the age-old cliché, “It Happens Only In India”. The movie has an amazing ensemble of characters. Brothers (Om Puri & Pawan Malhotra) who breathe fire at each other oblivious to their wives (Supriya Pathak & Sheeba Chaddha) who continue living like one family, sharing pakoras, gossip, love and much more through one broken brick in the wall. There’s Gobar, a character that will find a strong hold in your heart as soon as he is introduced - a silent and dim temple worker played brilliantly by Atul Kulkarni. The very sportive Gobar never minds being the butt of all jokes, but gets away with the cheekiest line in the movie at the end. The streetside jalebiwala (Deepak Dobriyal) who worships Allah and Hanuman as one, the local bully cop (Vijay Raaz), the street sweeper (Divya Dutta), the fakhir who walks around showing everyone a mirror, Prem Chopra as Lalaji, his twenty-something wife ‘Beauty’ and Cyrus O as the faker Suresh excel in their roles. A new actress as the sister of the warring brothers impresses as the gentle Rama Bua. Sonam Kapoor as Bittu is fiery, fresh, beautiful and very impressive. She sails through her character with ease. Abhishek is okay and is getting very good at emoting with his eyes. Waheeda Rahman’s poise and brilliance comes through in all her scenes. I remember seeing her once in Forum, she was walking up to the PVR ticket counter. In a simple lilac chikankari salwar kameez, she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I just stopped in my tracks and didn’t know if should stop staring at her. Well, I couldn’t do much but just stare and when I looked around later, I realized I had company in the hordes of others who were doing the same thing as me.
Rakesh Mehra adds the subplot of a monkey-man attacking people in the city and in turn becomes the cause of Hindu-Muslim riots because people are led to believe that the monkey was a Muslim. This is where the movie loses its charm and starts lagging. The climax is extremely annoying and preachy. Its quite devoid of logic too. I wish Mehra thought of a better storyline to end the movie.
Two things that I loved the most in the movie. Rahman’s music is splendid, brilliant, spellbinding, amazing and fantabulous. In years to come, Delhi-6 will always be mentioned as some of his best work. The music liberally flows through the movie and keeps the spirit going. If you haven’t heard all the songs of the movie yet, please pick up the cd. Its worth every penny. Its hard to pick favorites from this album but I recommend ‘Genda Phool’ and ‘Rehna Tu’.
My most favorite part of the movie was Rishi Kapoor as Ali Baig. Well, I’ve always had a massive crush on him, but he looks extremely handsome in the movie and elevates a simple supporting character to another level altogether. If you like him, watch Luck By Chance as well. He rocks!!