Yeh bandar bana hum sabke pyar main
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]