Dilli 6— the Review

80 Comments

Yeh bandar bana hum sabke pyar main

—Dilli 6

Dilwalon ke seher Dilli. Where if the blue line buses don’t kill you,  the babalog in BMWs will.  And where love turns people into simians.

Following his harrowing look at true evil in “Aks” (Manoj Vajpai’s performance being truly a crime against God) and the capturing of the spirit of Youngistan and its revolutionary “Be the Change” message in “Rang De Basanti” (subsequently shamelessly copied by Burback O Bama), Raykesh Om Prakash Mehra is back with a heartfelt love sonnet to Dilli, jahan se, as a great poet once said, log billi ke dudh peeke aate hain.

 Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) arrives in Delhi along with a fake American accent and a darling Dadima (for once not Zora Sehgal) who wants to spend her last days  “at home” among the denizens of Old Delhi.  Prone to terrifying drops of blood glucose, Dadi’s sugar levels are revived by the cloying sweetness of the neighbors, a collection of eclectic characters straight out of an old DD serial, the kind who exist to make the NRI audience (the ones that pay 10 bucks for a movie)  feel “nostalgic” for their homeland. At the same time, Roshan starts bonding with the jalebis,  Masakali the innocent kabootar who even when he does a “char gya upar re” on the heroine’s head has no bad intentions unlike the pigeon from “Dalal”, the warmness of the Dilliwalahs and Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) whose “lachak lachak” walk hints that she is not just a homely girl waiting for wedding but a potential reality show contestant ready to do a “main tujko bhaga laya hoon tere ghar se, tere baap ke dar se” when the inevitable parental opposition happens.

Raykesh Mehra’s Delhi 6 is not the sun-and-smiles world of the Chopras however. There is darkness. There is animosity towards Muslims, right-wing saffron politicians and sadhus trying to foment trouble,  subhuman treatment meted out to lower castes by caste Hindus, a “why did you slap” serial slapping thullah, a mad man who keeps on holding a mirror to the faces of the protagonists, if only to remind us that this is an “arty” movie, even though some may have the urge to shout out at the most cliched of symbolisms— “We get it. We get it. He wants us to see the person. The man in the mirror. Like that Michael Jackson song.”

And surpassing them all, in what must be the most original plot contrivance in recent years, is the legendary monkey man. Hovering in the background, the “monkey man” (kala bandar) drives the movie forward as it brings out the latent hatred/ignorance in people and  ultimately becomes the unifying motif through each of the scenes,  bringing “Dilli 6” to an “Usual Suspects”-like “I never saw that coming” climax. Verily the conclusion turns all cinematic convention on its head, combining the surreality of a Dali with the nuance of a Loha as it conveys (again, again and again), with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, that there is a monkey man inside all of us.

Yes there is a monkey inside you. Inside me.  Inside Anil Kapoor. Outside Anil Kapoor. Same for  his twin brother. (Picture above taken from here).Inside everyone. [Only exception: Andrew Symonds. There is absolutely no monkey in him]. That explains why we also pee on ourselves to get laid.  Why we fling our poo. Why we love bananas. Why we use bandar chaap daant manjan. And why movies like Dilli 6 are made.

Profound. Amazingly profound.

[Picture courtesy Ananova]

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80 thoughts on “Dilli 6— the Review

  1. Mehra messed up. Somewhere in that script was a very good movie.

    And surpassing them all, in what must be the most original plot contrivance in recent years, is the legendary monkey man.

    I agree. It’s just that it would have been a lot better, as you’ve pointed out, if we wouldn’t have been reminded of it every five minutes.

    To sum up, Ms Kapoor is one fine looking lady.

    The Times of Bullshit

  2. Awesome review, Arnab bhai. That’s one movie I won’t see.

    Dilli-wallas deserve this crappy movie. Such a vibrant city has now been reduced to bling-bling, bhangra and beer-bellies.

  3. Damn.. I liked the movie.. I liked it better than Slumdog Millionaire.. which I thought was an ok movie… making Dilli-6 a good one.

  4. U seem to have only extreme reactions all the time when it comes to movies.I felt this was a plot less movie but a pretty good and interesting one at that, with a bad ending.

    “a collection of eclectic characters straight out of an old DD serial” – Do u do this because you feel ppl are waiting to read something of the sort? To me, all performances in the movie, except that of a grumpy Abhishek were awesome.the comment seems artificial and induced.

  5. you dont like rang de basanti, slumdog, delhi6 but believe me if it was kolkata6 you would have gone to any extent to like it………just think for a second

  6. Nice and funny as usual Arnabda.

    BTW, check out this new Bengali-Hindi-English movie called “Kalo Deen”. The movie is set in the backdrop of the “Direct Action Day” in Calcutta by the Muslim League. It tracks the story of a simple small trader who tries to come back to Calcutta to find his wife and kids the day the riots break out. It is a short movie ( 80 mins or so) panning one day.
    The visuals are awesome …they really re-created Burrabazaar ……

  7. I saw shades of Swades in Delhi-6. But Mehra just blew it up with the boring cliches, the unrealism and excessive histrionics.
    Delhi deserves better.

  8. i am yet to overcome the depression i fell into since wasting 180 bucks on the movie?
    y in heaven’s name did ROM have to fit in song sequences whr dere was absolutely no need (eg: genda phool)?

  9. @Wall: By your own admission it had no plot and a bad ending. What’s left? And why would anyone like what’s left if it is being masqueraded as a “movie”? Maybe “talkie” or “documentary” wouldve been more appropriate?

  10. On an unrelated note, here is an intresting news item:

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/26/stories/2009022659400400.htm

    Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha president has reiterated that he would continue his unique protest of “urinating” in front of residences of dignitaries to draw the attention of State Government to build sufficient number of public toilets, from March 7.

    “The Governor, the Chief Minister, the Chief Justice and the Chief Secretary should leave their air-conditioned offices and join me in a walk to Lalbagh to find public toilets,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday. “On March 7, with all my supporters and citizens, I am going to pee in front of the residence of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. I will also do it in front of the houses of all MPs, MLAs, MLCs and the elected members of zilla panchayats, taluk panchayats and other local governments,” Mr. Nagaraj said.

    [GB adds: Do not try to impersonate a public personality. Hence name removed and replaced by anonymous]

  11. lissen

    i really loved the movie

    i mean it

    your mind is truly demented

    can we have a politically incorrect post from you

    that’ll be :some: read

  12. Hey GB,

    Just nominated your blog for Indibloggies 2008 awards in ‘Most Humorous Indiblog’ category. Keep up the good work !!

  13. “with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, that there is a monkey man inside all of us.”

    ‘Oye Lucky’ got royally snubbed at the box-office coz it was too subtle for the janta..n D6 gets panned for its lack of subtlety. Woe is the lot of an Indian film-maker! Like ‘Welcome to Sajjanpur’, Delhi 6 is a satire on Indian society and the monkeyman was a fantastic tool used by Mehra to convey its message (though possibly plagiarized from an satirical blog by Waqar Shah – delhi6 dot org)

    But more importantly does it matter whether a filmmaker wants to use a sledgehammer or be subtle while telling his tale? A movie is a sum of its parts and Delhi 6 more than succeeds because of its characters and graphic delineation of their lives. Here’s a review that doesn’t ignore the brilliance of its parts..

    http://passionforcinema.com/a-collection-of-thoughts-on-delhi-6/

  14. I don’t want to be mean, but frankly this comment by Anoushka from the PFC review accurately sums up this review and some of the comments I’ve read here..

    “Most of the reviewers are just in competition with each other to see who can come up with a better punch-line; or ridicule a movie to get the most chuckles out of their readers. A complicated, superbly written film like Delhi 6 can’t be reviewed in a couple of paragraphs, so they do the easy and lazy job of tearing it apart in a few sentences.”

    For me, just the hypnotic picturization of ‘Dil Gira Dafatan’ was enough ‘paisa vasool’ to compensate for its minor flaws.

  15. I first thought that you took Abhishek’s photo and put some hair on it to create that monkey-man. Learning that he is a chinese was a disappointment.
    Haven’t heard too many good things about the movie from freinds either.

  16. Hey GB , the true successor to Anil Kapoor is none other than Akshay Khanna. He showed his not-so-bare body in Race, would be boon for his g.friend when she needs a spare blanket!

  17. Dada, Have you noticed mr Sonam Kapooris true successor of his ‘slumdog Billionare’ father Anil kappor. Before the release of Silli-6 she gave quots like Abhishek and my on screen chemistry will be best in the history of indian cinema, I choose quality (Sawariya, dilli-6, another with akshay) and deepika padukone choose quantity, my father is the best quis show host (about slumdog). yes..yes i got it. Anil and sonam Kapoor are the most modest person on earth.

  18. bought tickets for 2 of us friends , 170 each on a nice breezy friday evng .. popcorns 60 bucks , sandwich 50 bucks , mineral water 50 bucks .. at the end of it all friend refuses to pay up and blames me squarely for putting him through the ordeal 😦 .. well i forgive him for i still owed him money for the magnum opus called Boom ( but that must hv hurt him more given we were still in college 🙂 ) .. but i don’t forgive Raykesh O M (will somebody tell me what that y is hangin there for ??) for swindling us unsuspecting souls .. so i now owe him the 500 bucks detailed above the expenses for the following “pepsi vodka ke saath” session which we had to undertake in an abortive attempt to get over the trauma we had just been subjected to , something which i wish to recover by downloading pirated versions of his music off the internet and shunning theaters playing his movies for the next 5 1/2 years ..

  19. this is the first time i am posting and one of the reason i was prompted to so is that you seem to reply to the posts. Though this review so far contradicts the statement and also i dont know how many times one needs to post to deserve the honour. Anyways i was really surprised that you liked nothing in the movie. Atleast the music was nice, though the first half sounded like a rahman concert playing in background. And the second half…. well , such torture is better left undiscussed.
    and yes i have a grouse against rahman- mohit chauhan had to come in our college fest. But that kabootar song became a hit and ……i dont know about the kabootar, but mohit chauhan started flying for sure.
    and hats off for Mr. Mehra for once telling the young people what they should do and next tell us what our grandfathers should not have done. Well, most of us dont care what religion or cast or superstition our friend follows and would certainly not like to squander 200 bucks listening mehraism telling us not to lead a life we already dont….or atleast we already know we ought not to.

  20. It’s funny that neither GB nor any of the commenters mentioned that the Kala Bandar plotline is based on reality. I had just moved to Noida in 2000 when I was told that people were not sleeping outside in the summer because of the “monkey man”. Frequent power cuts in the night would add to this panic, just like the movie.

    Here’s a link from “the old days”:
    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20010517/main6.htm

  21. GB, the problem with your reviews is that I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious? Is Dilli 6 really a good movie with a twist or is that a sarcastic way of saying you saw the ending coming all along?

  22. GB, yesterday the filmfare awards were announced and i just can’t wait to see your take on them. When are the credits rolling?
    Another news- azahruddin(the child actor from slumdog ) was slapped by his father for being tired and refusing to give interview to media. Ms. Renuka Chowdhary wants the commission for protection for child rights to take up the case.

    P.S- Yesterday my uncle scolded me for not attending a family function as I had to attend a cricket match instead. And now I am going to register a mental assault case against him .Just that I dont know where to find Ms. Chowdhary.

  23. I can’t believe how much everyone (including GB) detest body hair. You guys have been brainwashed by the media to prefer baywatch-lifeguard-like hairless-baby male bodies and get all queasy over some extra body hair.

    .. if this were the 70s then Anil Kapoor wud be THE MAN !! ( plagiarised from Russell peters)

    Grow some hair AND some balls you sissies!!

    and i liked Delhi-6 ..although RDB was much better.

    funny @kokatta6

  24. Somehow I quite liked Delhi-6 (except for the last half an hour)…thought it had superbly written characters, excellent music, grt cinematography, some grt acting by the entire cast…that scene where Old Delhi and Times Square come together in Abhishek’s mind was surreal and brilliant…

    I hate to say this coz I hav always thought of u as someone who is vry objective (or strives to be so, at least) – u found the characters “a collection of eclectic characters straight out of an old DD serial, the kind who exist to …..”, may be bcoz u don’t associate with Delhi – u might hav had a grt thing to say had it been based on a ‘para’ in Kolkata…sorry if tht was rude…my liking for the movie was based on my liking of those characters…seeing ur over-critical reaction provoked a strong reaction I guess…

    Anyways, each to his own…there are ppl who hated ‘Dev.D’ also (How!How!I wonder), which I thought is the best movie in the last 6 months (‘Oye lucky’ being a close second)…

  25. had the movie been set in the backdrop of a mumbai muhalla or a kolkata para it wudnt hv come off any better .. ‘cos it pitifully lacks the basic ingredient , a plot .. as for the characters i cud see the shades of a few chacha-chachi s of our neighborhood in them , but that essentially doesnt make for a good movie does it ? the story(if there was any) just seemed to revolve around them aimlessly for hours before the director decides to throw in a sequence of predictable and cliched events in a rushed effort to etch out a definitive ending , in the process making the entire experience more painful for the viewers .. i cant regather in recent memory if i hv seen a multiplex full of ppl booing and whistling and clapping at the end of the show like they did for this movie, thus summing up the experience called dilli-6 .. however the music was nice and the art-work was a visual feast to say the least .. the way they recreated old delhi complete with its smell and sound was a sight to behold .. but that was about it , nothing more for sure ..

  26. I loved the movie…the characters were as real as they can be (except a couple including Abhishek) and director’s unique way of linking the movie’s narrative with Ram Leela was brilliant. Ofcourse, goes without saying that last 30 minutes could have been handled much better. I do agree that this is not a movie for a wide audience and most people who have not been part of so called “north indian” culture with colorful people, the melas and ram leelas will not relate to it. But, for me it was so refreshing to see characters of my child hood days come alive on screen that i could not take off my eyes from screen through out the first half. The movie definitely worked for me.

  27. One trivial correction…the name is Manoj Bajpai not Manoj Vajpai i.e. if he has not changed his name for numerological reasons.
    The review was good and apt. I remember you being one of those rare people who dared to criticized RDB which i agreed with.

  28. Nothing against the review. Your personal opinions need not be anything more than merely personal opinions, which on almost all occasions make for excellent reading. However, this one seems to lack a bit in the effort department. Most performances in the film are definitely worth praise, as is the fact that none of them got a minute of screentime more than what the character required.

  29. I have been a regular reader of ur posts..Have enjoyed most of them and agreed with almost all of the views posted..However, the first time I post on ur blog is because of the reason that I strongly disagree with you this time..I felt Delhi-6 was a courageous movie..It takes guts to make a movie with so much of symbolism interweaved in it..This movie was not aimed at being a tourist’s peek into Delhi and it’s mannerisms..It went far beyond that..And I loved every bit of it..

  30. Just heads up..

    Pinkchaddi folks are planning to send some pink chaddis to you.. 🙂

    How dare you insult such a secular movie ?

  31. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.

  32. I think it was a good movie.
    The second half could have been better.In the second half the director tried a serious overtone rather than the subtle sarcasm employed in the first half. The movie tended to take itself seriously in the second half.

  33. for once i didnt enjoy your review.
    It seems that you are hell bent on threading any good movie into pieces.
    Come on!! Delhi 6 isn’t that bad movie to have recieved your wrath!!
    you can reserve it for a Chandni Chowk to China or a Slumdog

  34. Can’t say anything before I have watched it myself- something I can’t risk before my mid terms are over. I am planning to watch Dr. Zhivago this Wednesday though. Where’s your review for Billu Barber? Lemme see…

  35. P.S. Though some of us still retain our simian traits very conspicuously, thankfully, we are a lot more evolved now. I would hate it if my guy peed on himself everytime he craved for attention. Yucks !

  36. A sigh of relief escapes me as I see that you have the exact same feelings about the delhi-6 as me. And a groan of desperation follows it when I find so many (apparently normal?) people who liked the movie. It scares me pale to read that some people found “the characters were not a bit unrealistic” and that even without a plot and an ending, movies can be good. Is there anybody out there- with a little depth?

  37. I think Delhi-6 was a great movie. The way Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has taken a real life incident (the monkey man was all over the news in May 2001) and used it as a plot to move the story ahead, is superb.

    Only weak link was a dead Abhishek going to heaven to meet his grandpa (Amitabh) and coming back from heaven to lead a mortal life. That was silly. But if you consider the movie on a whole, it was outstanding.

  38. “Only weak link was a dead Abhishek going to heaven to meet his grandpa (Amitabh) and coming back from heaven to lead a mortal life. That was silly.”

    If that was silly, that sort of silliness has happened innumerable times. It has been extensively researched by scientists, doctors, psychologists etc and is popularly called ‘Near Death Experience'(NDE). Hundreds of books documenting NDE’s have been written. Some of the stories told by the those who have experienced near-death situation are so far-fetched and complex that this 2-minute grandpa meeting scene looks like a routine near death occurrence.

    http://www.near-death.com/

  39. @Deepak Iyer “Any reason you left out the review of Billu ?
    You might want to consider reviewing it before the Billu’s get offended and the movie is left with no name”
    LMAO

    GB – One review for your favorite Shahrukh’s Billu also pleeeej

  40. “Raykesh Om Prakash Mehra is back with a heartfelt love sonnet to Dilli, jahan se, as a great poet once said, log billi ke dudh peeke aate hain.”

    I understand sarcasm is your best ploy to gain readership and it works many times. But by making fun of a city and someone’s sentiments about it, you have proved you are a squinted myopic out for some monkey tactics on the blogosphere.

    How about I make fun of your Baangalaa ShamaSongeeet, they sound like you have come to someone’s mayyat (funeral) or Your overdose of RosssoGooola?

    Last warning bengali babu…next time you are going out of my Google Reader.

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