- by Prabuddha
(SPOILER ALERT---If you haven't watched it read no further)
Yes, I finally watched Delhi-6. I would not go to an extent of reviewing the whole film but certainly the parts which need mention and thus need to be debated. Truly speaking, Delhi-6 did not live up to the expectations, may be after RDB and the much promising promos I went to the theatre expecting a roller-costar ride that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's (ROM) portrayal of Old Delhi will take me on. But sadly this didn't happen. The journey I was taken on had a flood of flesh and blood SUPPORTING characters, brilliant cinematography, first-rate music, not often seen in Bollywood detailing, metaphors thrown in good measure and.... absence of a story. Yes, absence of a story. In an effort to bring out the final message of a Kala Bandar inside us and unmatched detailing, ROM somehow forgot to move the ‘motion picture’. It kind of stays in that small area which otherwise could have been just fine given the title- Delhi-6, had he carved out a story therein. There are several stories or rather episodes running simultaneously but not cohesively joined together. For e.g. Bittu (the beautiful, effortless Sonam) wants to be the next Indian Idol…that’s it…her character remains underdeveloped…her wings have been tied just like Masakkali, devoid of a lofty flight. And what the hell was Amitabh doing there leave alone the scenes in heaven (or was it hell given that Amitabh died with a Kala Bandar still inside…detailing certainly lostJ). The Babri masjid issue has been shown in a trivialized manner. Roshan (Abhishek) goes into his monologues way too often. And also much of forced preaching in the end. I have no problems in preaching in climax or otherwise provided they are done convincingly loaded with super-powerful dialogues. Take the case of the recent A Wednesday, Mumbai Meri Jaan or even RDB. All of them had long preaching scenes but they never sounded out of the way. All said and done, credit should always be given where it is due. ROM succeeds in getting his supporting cast right. Some scenes have been deftly handled and bear the seal of a master filmmaker. After Mamdu’s (ever dependable, Deepak Dobriyal) shop is ransacked in the riots, the scuffle b/w him and Roshan and his crying in helplessness. All of Divya Datta’s scenes. She as Jalebi is amazing. The confrontation b/w her and Chaudhary (Vijay Raaz) at the time of yajna is mind blowing. Hers is the character I take home. When Dadi tells her extended family members- ab to yahan marne ka mann bhi nahi karta—Waheeda Rahman is an acting school in herself. The scene just before Arziyaan starts at Jama Masjid, notice the one take shot…what camerawork (Binod Pradhan)…phew!The bylanes of Dilli Chhe are worth visiting for the performances by supporting cast including that of Masakkali, the fab music, cinematography and un-Bollywoodish detailing.
(Prabuddha is a tv journalist by profession and a cinema lover by default)