wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
A beautiful non-story with a very deeply-rooted, oft-repeated, overdose of standard philosophy.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - just wondering what the Oscar committee would say if they listened to this soundtrack...
Oh my god! I get to watch Waheeda Rahman on big screen again! True, there isn't a single grandma who isn't adorable. But this one is way too charming. Just look at her -
Not to mention, watching Abhishek Bachchan here makes me feel like watching the movie versus his recent venture Drona, where the words drone and rona (wailing) came to mind before any thought of the cast. The promos of Delhi-6 too have something very poetic about them. There's something more than the music and the lyrics that say, "I'm going to be beautiful, come watch me."
Meanwhile the music and the lyrics are awesome! In 'masakalli' you instantly know that it is as much about the dove as it is about the spirit of the character and her aspirations. And what wonderful lines, these from 'maula' -
Daraare daraare maathe pe maula Marammat muqaddar ki kar do maula
(Cracks (of misfortune) on walls (of my forehead), O Lord, Mend my fate, O Lord...)
And I don't even identify with these words. Such a beautiful prayer by a person who is stuck in life. Really makes me look forward to the dialogues, screenplay, and story by the lyricist Prasoon Joshi.
So, what's the story about? A guy who was born and brought up in Ame-rika. Pause. Will he have an accent? Quick search result finds Abhishek Bachchan saying this on Bollywood Hungama -
We worked out an accent. I had an accent coach
Once I was ready, we did another reading with Rakeysh ...when I heard it again, I said, "You know what I feel is going to happen is that this film is so rooted to India and Indian culture and it's so meant for the Indian audience that it can alienate them to some extent because they might have trouble understanding what I was saying".
We went for a faint hint of the accent. So in spite of training for a month we eventually did not go for it while we were on the sets.
Uh...let's give them the benefit of doubt and not wonder about whether the one-month training didn't help much in growing an accent. We are generous today and hoping that there's no excuse for inconsistency in the 'faint hint of accent'.
Anyway, so this US-bred visits India for some reason or the other and well, inevitably falls in love with the country and obviously a NRI-skeptic, Indian woman! A la Swades? Like Swades, Delhi-6 has a Ram Leela too. It promises more, though.
Director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra mentions in his notes on the official site -
We are all living in difficult times. Delhi6 urges us to look within and if there is an answer then it is love because that's the law of nature and its creation.
Aaaaaww. How sweet is that? Here's hoping it doesn't hurt diabetics. I've enjoyed his earlier movies - Aks more than Rang de Basanti. Yes, you read that right. But, as with all movies about Dilli shahar (city of Delhi), I'm wary of being Delhi-OD'ed.
Yet, its awfully clear that I'm looking forward to this one. I'm sure many of you are too. Like blogger Kanupriya loved the 'maula' song as much as I did, or even more.
What about this movie are you looking forward to? Essence of Delhi? Waheeda Rahman? A. R. Rahman? Prasoon Joshi,Abhishek Bachchan? Sonam Kapoor? Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra? Anything else? What combination thereof?
- meeta, a part of the audience
A travelogue of a tourist on vacation capturing his experience through recordings and pictures. A personal diary - each page an observation about life and its people. Angst against everything that's wrong with this world. A mirror held up to society - not to reflect its filth but to spot that we are the cause and effect of our discontent and discord. What is Delhi-6? A bit of them all. And not any one thing in entirety.
It's not the journey of a non-resident Indian visiting India. You see the world through his eyes. It's not about one particular pin (zip) code area. It is a slice of any town. It is not about a religious divide nor is it about unity. All of which translates to this - it doesn't have a story in the traditional sense of the term. This is the beauty of the film. Even the main characters are not really full-blown protagonists. You know them slightly more than you know the other 15 side-characters.
Without a concrete story it very gradually creates an appealing environment. But at half-time, you are still in the "okay, NOW the movie will start" mode. This can be a frustrating experience unless you give yourself up to the edgy-choppy style of story-telling. In fact, the first two distinct and abrupt sequences tell you to prepare yourself for 2-3 threads and to draw parallels between them. And analogies there are aplenty. Some of them are as in-the-face as they are sudden.
The abrupt cuts and background music, though brilliant, were too distracting for me to let go completely. I felt like I'm snooping in on somebody's daily journal and it felt mighty uncomfortable as if I'm intruding their privacy. Most of us are aware of the standard philosophy spouted through the movie. Yet, we can enjoy the understated way in which it is being told. Except in the end, that is. It's like the writers got anxious, "what if the audience doesn't catch on to the subtlety?" Let us spell it out for them: m-e-s-s-a-g-e.
Very intentionally the writers are writing a book that doesn't necessarily have to be read back-to-back. You can flip open a page, read, digest or not, close and open at another random page. Like it doesn't matter to them that one thread is left unresolved. Same goes for the songs and their abrupt placement. However, 'dafatan' is one of the best picturized songs I've seen in a long time. Not only because of the imagination and the technical creativity but also because it takes you into the character's mindset. He in turn, is representative of how we as a race want the best of all our worlds to come together.
The details within each sequence, like dialogues, interactions are not ground-breaking but not fatal either. There are a few brilliant lines amongst the blah sexual innuendos. And by the way, just in case you Dilli-wallas or hard-core desis take offence, you are told often enough that you are good at heart, so just listen to that bit, ok?
The undercurrent is more important - the contradictions, the double standards, the bickering, the human tendency to reconcile when in need. Brothers fight like cats. But when the need arises they can be a part of a community against "outsiders". Two communities fight. But when there is something that endangers both they can unite to conquer the deemed-common enemy. That which divides to rule can unite too, such is the extent of our inconsistencies. And this can be extrapolated to any other relationship or issue. Such comments on how things work today are strewn across the movie.
The amused look Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) wears on his introduction to India was extremely heartening. It was neither demeaning nor patronizing. Abhishek isn't required to do anything out of the ordinary, but overpowering the likes of Waheeda Rahman must certainly not have been an easy task. As much credit to Waheedaji especially in that particular scene for succumbing to the situation. Sonam Kapoor has a charming screen presence and makes the best of the limited range this role offers. The best bit of casting is Atul Kulkarni though. I for one wanted to see him in a not-so-serious role. He captures Gobar's submissiveness and hypocrisy.
Such movies are made with the intention of evoking the audience's inner voice. That's a tall order. Lectures pass right through my 4-year old's entire system, so I'd conclude we are conditioned to ignore them. Then, even if you have a character point out and say, "don't sermonize us", it doesn't make it any less of a speech. And that's where the director lost me as an audience. Nothing is moved to evoke emotion, let alone invoke anything from within. Equality-humanity-yadi-yada-yawwwwn. A little off-mark for the man who has given us radical climaxes - like them or not.
The pace and length could be an issue for some of us. But, we shouldn't miss the fact that it is courageous to attempt a general description of life. I enjoyed the nuances, the hints, and the less blatant bits of commentary on society. That was enough for me to forget and partially forgive the need for a lucid three-act plot.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Delhi-6 is really a densely layered, beautifully textured multiplex movie – in the niche sense of the word – whose pleasures are far more understated.... full review
Thumbs up, by Aakash Gandhi, naachgaana.com : ...Artistically, the film is flawless. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography is brimming with clarity, as the angles and framing capture every scene with poetic justice.... full review
Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...The filmmaker interestingly uses the metaphor of the Monkey Man (Kala Bandar) to symbolise the beast within and blends different vignettes of contemporary India to create a composite picture.... full review
So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...It’s surprising that the same multi-layered storytelling that Rakeysh Mehra exploited brilliantly in Rang De Basanti , intermittently handicaps the narration in Delhi-6... full review
So-So, by Joxily John, Planet Bollywood : ...The editing was all over the place and did not complement well. It looks like a rushed job, and seems a lot of scenes were left back at the editing table.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...Delhi 6 looks superb, is edited with great slickness, the juxtaposition of images, references and scenes is good and has great songs that one will remember... full review
Thumbs down, by Abhishek Mande, Buzz18 : ...Perhaps the biggest problem with Delhi-6 the film is that it is like Delhi-6, the locality. There's so much happening you don't know where to look.... full review
Thumbs down, by Krishna, Passion for Cinema : ...’Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’ tries to present a different story of unity and diversity of India but eventually fails as the story telling has severe loop holes.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
So-So, by Enjoylyrics.com : The details within each sequence, like dialogues, interactions are not ground-breaking but not fatal
So-So, by Lyricswale.com : Very intentionally the writers are writing a book that doesn't necessarily have to be read back-to-b
So-So, by Lyricswale.com : Without a concrete story it very gradually creates an appealing environment. But at half-time, you a
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) is visiting India for the first time. He is amused by its ways but it is endearing too. Soon enough he faces the frustrating, deep-seated hypocrisy.