Movie Review – Delhi 6

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This is where the young Turks take it away from the pretenders. Bole to.. Subash Ghai, Yash Chopra and the likes of them. Let the young ones soar now. And, Ladies & Gentlemen, I am so glad to report that my fantasies are finally coming true. The new order IS taking over. Original ideas are being shaped with skill and imagination. After more than half a lifetime of being fed escapist rubbish by the so called dream merchants and showmen I am finally enjoying good cinema unleashed by a string of young movie makers. Delhi 6 is a worthy successor to Rang De Basanti and Rakeysh Om Parkash Mehra emphatically proves that he is not a one trick pony.

Abhishek Bachchan is the American born desi who volunteers to accompany his grandmother, Waheeda Rehman (I love her so) back to her roots all the way from New York to the by lanes of Chandni Chowk which is Delhi 6 for the uninformed and those lost in the cyber world who have forgotten the postal addresses used in the romantic days of letter writing. This in itself was enough to make me go all nostalgic about the days when I would wait and wait for my Chammak Challo’s letters. On his first trip to India the grandson discovers the world of myriad hues that constitutes the Indian society. There are so many characters in the movie and each one of them so distinctive. Yet the amalgamation of their role in the story is so effortless which is a tribute not only to their acting skills but also to the screenplay and of course the directorial genius.

Abhishek’s intended journey as a chaperone quickly changes into a discovery of that mystic fabric which binds people of different religions and social standards, a realization of the weaknesses and prejudices which breaks the façade of harmony only to rewind into normalcy again. It’s this mad medley of love, hate, rigidity and tolerance which makes Indians what they are and Mehra has eminently succeeded in condensing that macro picture into one neighborhood of Chandni Chowk. There are way too many good characterizations to find individual appreciation here but I have to single out Deepak Dobriyal for his brilliant portrayal of the Muslim Jalebiwallah who becomes the target of the ire of religious bigots and of course Vijay Raaz as the classical Delhi cop. His Haryanvi accented dialogue delivery is a delight to watch. Cyrus Sahukar as the photographer who is cuckolding Prem Chopra, the rich money lender, plays a charming cameo.

Abhishek, as the bewildered westerner, has suitably underplayed his character. Sonam Kapoor is naturally vivacious and can only get better. Rishi Kapoor is looking more and more like his great father. Atul Kulkarni has put on some weight but still comes good as the slow witted butt of all jokes.

There are numerous scenes which have been beautifully composed but the surprising one was the Ram Leela. It took me back forty years when as a young lad I had seen the old Delhi Ram Leela for the first and only time. The images are still fresh in my mind and lo behold I was reliving the experience all over again. Raghbir Yadav has lent his voice to the musical rendition of the timeless epic. All the classical touches of theatre artistry are there to see especially the scene of the flying Vanars and of Ravan encountering the Lakshman Rekha. Mehra also cocks a snook at self serving politicians with their mandir-masjid politics and the plethora of news channels which find merit in repeating ad nauseam the most ridiculous of news. The photography reveals the love for the old city. Panoramic shots of the Jama Masjid, Red Fort and the skyline of old Delhi is simply breathtaking.

A R Rehman’s compositions are great. The beautifully sung “Masakali” by Mohit Chauhan brings alive the spontaneity of Sonam’s character. Kailash Kher & Javed Ali have put their heart into the soul stirring “Arzian”. A spiritual song is in every movie is almost becoming a norm with Rehman which is not a bad thing at all. But my favourite is the title song by Blaaze,Benny Dayal,Vivinenne, Tanvi & Claire. After all “Yeh Dilli hai mere yaar”. Go, watch & feel alive.

write by Radley

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