At one point in Delhi 6
, Bittu, played by Sonam Kapoor, tells a photographer ? ?Life black aur white mein hi samajh aati hai
But Delhi 6
shows us that life, especially in India, is an intricate tapestry of people, their faiths, their temperaments and narratives that weave together to make our many splendoured nation.
The diversity that both makes and breaks India is seen through the eyes of the ultimate outsider ? Roshan, played by Abhishek Bachchan, who is half-Muslim and half-Hindu, or as another character calls him 50-50, and a non-resident.
An Indian-American, Roshan brings his dying grandmother from America back to her house in old Delhi. This is presumably his first trip to his ancestral city.
Roshan has an awkward accent and a tendency to describe things as cool but other than that he blends in quite easily into this colourful, crowded world of Ram Leelas, roadside jalebi
stalls, narrow lanes and cows who stop traffic by giving birth on the street. There is little culture shock, bewilderment or impatience.
In director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra?s vision of Chandni Chowk, which incidentally was recreated on a set in Rajasthan, there aren?t any flies, heat or grime either. There aren?t even any crows. Instead, Old Delhi is inhabited by beautiful white doves, including Massakali, who inspires a lovely song.
The first half is a loose, impressionistic portrait of this world. There is very little plot. In between vignettes establishing characters, we have repeated references to a Monkey Man who is terrorising Delhi.
This is taken from actual incidents in 2001 when Delhi was afflicted by a monkey man menace, which the police later dismissed as public hysteria.
In the second half, these various threads come together climaxing in a Hindu-Muslim confrontation, which turns violent. Ultimately the residents see the light only because of the not so subtly named Roshan.
This lack of subtlety is what ultimately undoes Delhi 6
. Mehra is an astute and passionate filmmaker who has never been afraid of big themes. But while in Rang De Basanti
, he weaved the narrative beautifully with the message, Delhi 6
has the finesse of a sledge-hammer.
The film asks you to look within so there is an actual character, a sort of Shakespearean fool, who walks around carrying a mirror, asking people to literally look within.
In the climatic violence, the mirror is shattered. The climax itself feels unearned. The script barely hints at the tensions simmering below the bonhomie on the streets. There are some beautifully done moments ? one that brought tears to my eyes has the grandmother asking her grandson to take her home because after a communal confrontation, she says, she doesn?t even feel like dying there.
But there are just as many moments that feel so laboured and sanctimonious that you just want to groan.
Mehra?s heart is in the right place but he is hobbled by his own script and platitudinous dialogue like ? ?India works, the people make it work?.
The film brims with talented actors but they don?t have enough meat to bite into. Roshan, the prime mover of events, is under-written so Abhishek comes off as an earnest NRI with a bad accent and little sub-text.
Bittu has more flesh on her and the lovely Sonam imbues her with grace and attitude. There are flashes of fire in some scenes with Rishi Kapoor and Waheeda Rahman but not enough to light up Delhi 6
Ultimately then, the film is a noble failure. Delhi 6
is ambitious and well-intentioned, but good intentions don?t always translate into good cinema.
See it if you must.
: Delhi-6 pics, gossip, wallpapers and videos