It was a nostalgic evening for me as I relived my association with Delhi6. Those who know about the old world charm of Chandni chawk will absolutely fall in the love with the movie by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. It is a phenomenal movie and I guess the first award worthy film of the year. My Oscar goes to Delhi 6.
After Slumdog Millionaire, it was such a treat. The narrow lanes and by lanes of the old city, the havelies, the culture that all Delhi wallas are so proud of, the eateries and the warmth of the people all comes alive in front of you. It is like living it on screen. With a smile on my lips and moist eyes, I remembered the good old days. Sometimes the scenes are so captivating that you feel a part of the entire scenario. Briskly paced, it is a kaleidoscope of old Delhi and draws you in its flow completely.
Delhi 6 has stunning performances by the best-known actors in Hindi cinema – Raghubir Yadav, Pavan Malhotra, Supriya Pathak Shah, Deepak Dobriyal, Divya Dutta, Vijay Raaz, Tanvi Azmi and Atul Kulkarni among others play prominent roles in it. It also has the elegant Waheeda Rehman and evergreen Rishi Kapoor. I think Divya Dutta was exceptional as jalebi the jamadarni. There is hardly a character in the film who is not anchored to the film.
Obsession for religion, false beliefs, strong conviction for things not seen and the easygoing life of the people, it is all there. With the incident of Monkey Man as the backdrop, Delhi 6 scripts a story of the society and the people, who are blind followers of their deep-rooted ideas. It portrays beautifully the philosophy that the system needs strength, honesty and needs to look with in.
Unlike the other mainstream movies, this one does not have a definite story line but that is the beauty of it, it seems that you are part of someone’s personal diary and that really is brilliant to me. The director has woven nine stories against the panoramic background of Delhi-6.
Sometimes there is confusion and turmoil, with the stories overlapping and going out of hand, but the theme manages to hold the film together. Prejudices, superstitions, communal, caste clashes, media’s dumb acts– everything has been beautifully imbibed as the story grows out of the mazy lanes and addresses several social issues.
There have been mixed reviews about the film but I think the movie’s biggest asset is that it is exactly like what Delhi 6 is all about. An intoxicating mixture of everything.
I do not think we should compare it to Rang de Basanti, another masterpiece by Rakeysh. This movie is consistently inventive, funny, entertaining and life-affirming cautionary tale of a slice of a city. It captures a raft of conflicts involving families, politicians and two religious communities, Hindus and Muslims. The film creates a wonderful world of a vast neighborhood in old Delhi, which makes it so special.
The film, firmly centered in old Delhi, is filled with local color but its concerns are universal. Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is a visual pleasure, natural and interesting. Like his other films, Mehra’s Delhi6 also shows moments of unparalleled originality. The movie is technically flawless.
The songs are wonderful and have a contemporary appeal. The credit goes to the lyricists Prasoon Joshi, Vivinenne Pocha and Claire. Rahman’s music is much better here than in Slumdog.
The entire movie is a story of love and self-discovery set in by Delhi, which is a microcosm of India with all its chaos and contradictions.
The changing perception of the characters is portrayed very well.
The otherwise lopsided Ahishek Bachchan (I do not like him one bit) blends well with the theme. His expressions are very interesting when he gets the first glimpse of the city. Armed with a camera phone he captures everything that happens around him, traffic jams, Ram Leela, sweetmeat shops, by lanes, lack of water – all of it to him is ‘kewl’. It was in a way good that he had few lines to speak. Thank God for small mercies.
What mesmerizes Roshan (AB) the most however are the human relationships in Old Delhi. “You don’t know who family is and who isn’t,” he says to himself in one of the scenes where all the neighbors are present with his grandmother in the hospital.
It blends all the ingredients of a close-knit society. A sweetmeat shop owner, two warring brothers, an evil moneylender, his much-younger wife, a lecherous photographer, a local buffoon, a goat, a pregnant cow who is worshipped in the middle of the road for choosing that place to give birth. An ancestral radio and a shani baba who does everything right ok. That episode was funny in many ways.
Sonam Kapoor is awesome in the movie and we get to see her unfold as an actor here.
Rishi kapoor sums it very nicely:
Hamne maana dakkan mein hain , bahut se kadr-e-sukhan,
par kaun jaye ae zauk, ye dilli ki galiyan chhorh kar
I found the home like environment of the movie very interesting and captivating. I smiled in pleasure when I saw Ram Lila being enacted for I was reminded of my childhood when we did everything to watch RamLila during the nights. The pickle-making scene is so typical of old Delhi households, it reminded of the time my mother used to make pickles sitting on the rooftop of the old house.
I would like to see Delhi 6 again and think it is a perfect tribute to the city. One awesome movie after a long time.