It's hip to be abusive, and it's as cool to be liberal about sex as it is to be about farts. And that's exactly what Delhi Belly is - hip. It might not have umpteen cool ways to turn the camera, but it is right up there with Gen X in its slang and attitude. In its way, Delhi Belly is Dil Chahta Hai for a generation that's 10 years younger - where women might also enjoy a guy film as much as the guy next to her, laughing his guts out. Oh yeah, and don't take your parents for this one.
Delhi Belly picks its genre and sticks to it. It's as if a generation is standing up to say, "Call us pulp or dark, crass or gross. This is how we are - take it or leave it." He/she could be the common youth on the street, sitting beside you in a theater, a new age director or a producer gracing you with an appearance in the end credits. The three roommates are representatives of a young, urban India who are trying to break the shackles binding them to what was considered a "normal" life. They, along with their friends, are the latest breed of graduates - not necessarily from art, science or commerce - from alternate fields, like media and hospitality. And there is this other thing that happens to them - shit.
They deal with it. By hook or by crook, they see their way through it. They are far from sophisticated, because they care a damn. In fact, they have no qualms about driving you to nausea. But they take care of themselves.
Recently we have seen a whole lot of films in this genre. Where a bunch of innocent people (mere bystanders, even) get into trouble unawares, and destiny somehow puts the puzzle of 3-5 parallel stories together. Delhi Belly has that skin but from within its unpretentious. It has no inhibitions whatsoever, be it toilet humor, obscenities, violence, vulgarity or sex.
I loved its focus on making its audience laugh using their language. I most certainly missed a few jokes because loud laughter, from a previous line, didn’t' die in time. Delhi Belly doesn't try to act smart by saying, "Try, and figure me out if you can" Or "keep pace with me if you can". Keeps it simple (please admire my restraint), it does.
The flip side of course, is that the characters don't get too much attention. In keeping the story simple, the characters are one-dimensional. The performances though come to the characters' rescue. They are so brilliant that I didn't have to think about how one was acting or overacting or not. In fact, Vijay Raaz and his gang are caricatured and seem a little out-of-place and yet, they pass by without causing irritation. Well, I guess it's because they are led by Vijay Raaz, after all.
Well, a movie that can nail it all would've been a different movie, right? For example, how I wish they'd avoided a couple of extraneous sub-plots. Anyway, the way it is, there's so much going on in the background music, the props and the dialogue that it becomes a bit overwhelming.
Delhi Belly makes no over-imposing statements, no grand messages. (That's a change from the typical Aamir Khan product.) It's just one young film. It was fun watching it with my favorite people - the 600+ filmaniacs who not only show up but also whistle and hoot at 8.15 AM. Let's just say like every dabangg has its audience, every Delhi Belly does too. And there must be a lucky bunch whose tastes include both.
Ps. Oh yeah, I told you right? I'd recommend you keep your parents away from this one. That you liked Delhi Belly, by itself might be a bit of a cultural shock to them. Which also means if you are conservative in your taste in films, you should stay away.
Confession: I goofed-up. I watched the English version. I have a feeling the real deal is in Hindi. I'll try to catch up with the Hindi version and update you on what works better.
- meetu, a part of the audience
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