Written by Prasoon Joshi,
Rakesh Omprakash Mehra,
Directed by Rakesh Omprakash Mehra
Running Time: 2:20
Delhi-6 was an entertaining movie that tried a little too hard to force in a message at the end.
Roshan's parents and grandmother emigrated to the U.S. years ago. Now, his grandmother is dying and wants to go back and die in her home. His parents refuse to go back because the memories they have aren't good ones, but Roshan agrees to take his grandmother back. When he arrives he encounters a world he never knew existed, one where everyone gets along and takes care of each other. Meanwhile, a strange creature has been terrorizing the people of India. The Black Monkey is soon spotted in the local neighborhood and that's when people start pointing fingers at each other, blaming religion for the problem. Soon, friends who would look out for each other at the drop of a hat turn into enemies leading to a devastating ending.
Delhi-6 was a lot better than I expected it to be. The first half of the film is extremely entertaining and very funny. There are no big dance sequences per se, but there are musical interludes so if you're into Bollywood films the movie is worth seeing. The thing I noticed first and mentioned during the intermission is that the film had no plot. It was almost just a day-in-the-life story where we see Roshan living life in Delhi. The movie didn't appear to be leading anywhere. It was like a love story to the city and the people who live there. And while normally I don't like those kinds of movies, I kind of dug this one.
The movie stars Abhishek Bachchan, part of the first family of Bollywood. He's definitely got a charm about him that the ladies certainly love. But more importantly he's a very likeable actor. I've seen him play tough guys and sweet guys, and this one was more on the comical, laid back side. As the movie goes on he gets more and more serious, dealing with the bad things that can happen in life, but he's always personable and feels like the guy next door. The supporting cast was also top notch, with some familiar and some new faces. Each actor brought a different aspect of Indian life to the story, whether it was the domineering father or the daughter who wanted to be free. We saw differences in castes as well as two sides of the many religions in the area. The caste angle was played a little more subtly and had a more traditional resolution, but the religious angle was the one that felt contrived.
Throughout the movie the many friends who live in the area got along very well, whether they were Muslim or Hindu. There was a small mention early in the film about how Roshan's parents, who were of each faith, got run out of the city because Roshan's grandfather wouldn't put up with it. But no one else seemed to care. And yet after the intermission, suddenly religious tensions boiled over very quickly. The Black Monkey attacked a shopkeeper who was beloved by everyone and then it became a shouting match over which religion the Monkey belonged to? Where did that come from? And how did that go from a comical argument into trashing the shop, burning buildings and ultimately, attempted murder. For a movie that was going along at a happy-go-lucky pace, it suddenly turned very serious. I'm not quite sure what the intent of the filmmaker was unless the intent was to show that at any time in any neighborhood in India, religion could cause complete chaos. Which, I suppose, is certainly possible. But the quickness of the tension boiling over felt very out of place within the scope of the rest of the film.
Visually the movie was striking. There were shots where you'd see thousands upon thousands of Muslims praying in the early morning, while thousands of Hindus would attend a festival show at night. It truly is amazing to see the huge amounts of people in India and how beautiful the country can be if given a chance. Yes, the power will go out at random times. Yes, the city is filled with pollution and dust. Yes, there are still some very old-fashioned ideals that continue to thrive. But at the same time, the people really care about each other and no matter how big the city or how many people there are, there is a closeness that you don't find in a lot of places. And I think that ultimately was the idea behind the movie.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Delhi-6. I thought the first half was really good, while the second half got too serious. But all in all, it's a movie worth seeing.
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