Delhi 6 poster

Delhi 6

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

A beautiful non-story with a very deeply-rooted, oft-repeated, overdose of standard philosophy.

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Running time: 150 minutes
Genres: Philosophy, Social
More Movie Info

Delhi 6 - Preview

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

51 reviewers(?) - 20 yays 20 so-so 11 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Amodini, Amodini's Movie Reviews : ...D6 is introspective and a tad preachy.... full review

Thumbs up, AOL INDIA : ...Despite the shoddy climax and a little overboard lecturing of Mehra, the movie has substance to pull crowds into theaters.... full review

Thumbs up, by N K Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Sonam Kapoor is gorgeous and shows glimpses of fine acting. But it’s the supporting cast that takes the cake.... full review

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 anoop, eTalkIndia : ...It’s for all the fan of new-age commercially relevant serious and meaningful cinema.... full review

Thumbs up, Full2 Faltu : ...D6 is a good movie, could have been shorter but all in all good entertainment with a social message as added bonus... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'souza, : ...Rakeysh Opmrakash Mehra's DELHI 6 is not your typical Bollywood flick... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Delhi 6, is indeed a film about its characters.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakash Gandhi, : ...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 Jahan Bakshi, Now : ...Lacking any significant plot, we are treated to assorted vignettes of life in and around the bylanes of Chandni Chowk... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now : ... It pushes the boundaries of cinematic entertainment almost beyond the brink... full review

Thumbs up, by Rk, Passion for Cinema : ...Delhi 6 is a non-communal film about Indian history with enough doses of mythology.... full review

Thumbs up, by Kenny, Passion for Cinema : ...If you like movies with an ensemble cast, terrific acting, great characters and underplayed moments, you’re likely to love Delhi 6.... full review

Thumbs up, by Phoenixnu, Passion for Cinema : ...The film belongs to the ensemble cast, a r rahman and binod pradhan.... full review

Thumbs up, by Bhargav Saikia, Planet Bollywood : ...Provides an inspiring backdrop to an episodical tale about a handful of characters that are as diverse as the city itself... full review

Thumbs up, by Sampurn, real bollywoood : ...Delhi 6 is a delightful musical run through the Hindu and Muslim cultures of Old Delhi... 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

Thumbs up, Urge to Fly : ...The Chandni Chowk of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6 is visually arresting.... full review

Thumbs up, Zee News : ...Full marks to Abhishek Bachchan for his cool performance, however Sonam Kapoor falters a bit but looks good onscreen.... full review

So-So, by Nita, A Wide Angle View of India : ...Mehra does a fine job with the setting, but he forgets about the story, if there is one.... full review

So-So, by Beth, Beth Loves Bollywood : ...I got distracted by being amazed at the overall look and trying to soak up all of the beautiful details of sets and streets and scenery... full review

So-So, by Roshni Mulchandani, Bolly Spice : ...While the script is weak, the sights are simply marvelous. Never has Delhi looked so enticing and beautiful... full review

So-So, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ...Rakeysh is a good story teller but this time he slightly slips off.... full review

So-So, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...The director was really confused about the movie, may be he got too deep into the movie and just got lost... full review

So-So, by Priyanka Pulla, : ...Mehra finds time to paint each character in engaging detail.... 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 Harshita Kohli, : ...Delhi-6 seems to be an extension of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti... full review

So-So, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...Abhishek, gives an earnest performance but not his best.... full review

So-So, Movie Talkies : ...An ode to Old Delhi and humanity combined, this piece of visual prose has Abhishek Bachchan's Roshan holding a mirror up to India ladies and gentlemen... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...Mehra’s heart is in the right place but he is hobbled by his own script and platitudinous dialogues... full review

So-So, by Tanul Thakur, Passion for Cinema : ...Mehra’s sense of subtlety, attention to details and metaphors makes it a delightful watch.... full review

So-So, by Padmaja Thakore, Passion for Cinema : ...Delhi 6 is an honest effort but ends up as an immature indulgence in nostalgia with simplistic ‘live-in-harmony’ messages.... full review

So-So, by Tushar, Passion for Cinema : ...Mehra opens us up to Delhi 6 in all its pronounced glory, as flashy as it gets, characters appear like over-frothed draught on tap... 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

So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...It is a brave move indeed to make a film where the narrator, the leading man, is singularly the least interesting character.... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The portrayal of Delhi and its people seems tad too loud... full review

So-So, : ...A.R. Rahman's music is indeed outstanding as none else than Prasoon Joshi has penned its lyrics.... full review

So-So, by Harshita Kohli, StarBoxOffice : ...This film would have sounded much better on paper then it does on screen.... full review

So-So, by Banno, Upper Stall : ...Binod Pradhan's camera work is consistent and strong; the film is well lit, though there is perhaps too much camera movement, which tires the eyes... full review

Thumbs down, by Blogeswari Ammal, Blogeswari : ...A film that starts from nowhere and runs for 2 hours like a headless chicken... 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 Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...The editing's too slick for its own good and the background score by AR Rahman doesn't go with what's happening on screen.... full review

Thumbs down, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...That Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is an accomplished storyteller is evident in several individualistic scenes.... full review

Thumbs down, Indicine : ...The film lacks sense!... full review

Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...Mehra sets a disjointed Delhi-6 in a strange space-vacuum, more like RK Narayan’s Malgudi or Saeed Mirza’s Nukkad.... full review

Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now : ...Rakesh Om Mehra's Delhi 6 is partly dramatic and partly musical with a universal message.... full review

Thumbs down, by Medha Dutt, Passion for Cinema : ...The film is just a collage of some brilliant scenes and some great music.... 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

Thumbs down, by Goher Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...A few scenes certainly let you admit that Rakesh Omprakash Mehra is undoubtedly a brilliant storyteller.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 0 yays 3 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by : The details within each sequence, like dialogues, interactions are not ground-breaking but not fatal

So-So, by : Very intentionally the writers are writing a book that doesn't necessarily have to be read back-to-b

So-So, by : 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.

Plot Summary

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.

What Worked

  • The Black monkey getting rid of the entire vaanar sena.
  • In 'genda phool', the fact that the western beats are added to the mix when Roshan gets in groove.
  • The background music when Roshan meets Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) in her room.
  • A father sitting beside me was instructing his son to whistle at Abhishek's entry. How adorable is that!?
  • Gobar who is ridiculed by everyone finds someone who he can ridicule and in a way takes revenge.
  • Competition between brothers while singing a bhajan (devotional song)!
  • Assigning religion to animals!
  • Use of Roshan as a narrator and an inner voice of society.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • The absolutely gratuitous cameo by Amitabh Bachchan. Ai-ai-ai-ai-ai-aiyy....Why?
  • What's with all this peeing around? Why is urinating used as a means to laughter?
  • Abhishek rolled his Rs alright, but his Hindi didn't have any hint of him being in the country for the first time.
  • The tributes to Sholay and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Didn't work at all.
  • The volume kept fluctuating in the first 20 minutes of the theater I was in. :(


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Rishi Kapoor's lipstick! Annoying, it was.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Police beating people randomly and communal riots. Not *very* gory but brutal.
  • Language: Pretty much clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: No nudity. Though sex in an extra-marital relationship is hinted at.
  • Concept: Philosophy of looking within ourselves to kill the demon that is us and give our goodness some room.
  • General Look and Feel: There is a constant stream of foot-tapping through the movie. Most of the movie is bright and peppy.

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