Delhi – 6 – An apt title for a movie which is based on heart of India, Delhi. The movie is a treat for all. The story revolves over the events happening in the heart of Delhi i.e. Chandni Chowk bearing the pin code 6.
The story encompasses various shades of India and its common people; which generally are given a miss in usual glamorous Bollywood movies. The movie blends the various nuances of cultures and traditions of the main heartland; Delhi in particular. The story revolves around the experiences of a US returned Roshan, beholding the legacy of a united Hindu-Muslim family. Bound by the obligation of fulfilling the last wish of his grandma (played by Waheeda Rahman) to spend her last days in her ancestral place, he savors the hospitality of his hometown (Delhi’s Chandni Chowk). Here the firsthand experience of India begins for Roshan.
This movie is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s first film after the much acclaimed Rang De Basanti and has definitely been able to live up to the standards of the legendary film. The movie revolves around grandma, Roshan and many other characters surrounding him. On his first arrival in India he gets the taste of Indian propensity of showering uninhibited love and affection from neighbors to long lost relatives and family friends. Days followed with celebrations and the usual situation anyone would face on the first arrival to India. The story takes a turn when mass hysteria of a mysterious creature ‘kaala bander’ grips the city. The atmosphere of peace and harmony peace gets disrupted after a religious colour gets painted to the monkey menace. The atmosphere is vitiated further by a bunch of politicians who do not leave any opportunity to divide people. Dejected at seeing all the madness around, Roshan initially decides to leave but later chooses to stay and establish peace between his warring fellows. How he exorcises the demons from each of them forms the 2nd half of the story.
The movie has shown the numerous nuances of India. People relish the beauty and rich cultural heritage of Delhi through the eyes of the protagonist Roshan. For him, everyday is a new journey encountering traditions and superstitions alike.
He experiences the grandeur surrounding festivals like annual Ram Lila which is considered as one of the most unforgettable traditions of Delhi. The preparations mixed with complete enthusiasm of adults and the innocence of children is depicted in richness. The family bond between people of different faiths sharing the same space is typically Indian. The scenes come very natural with people enjoying daily sweets from a common joint, practicing all the rituals which mark the festivities, the gatherings for morning prayers in Jama Masjid (Mosque), the flocks of pigeons dotting the morning sky, the flying of kites in the pastime. Small Clubs offering solace to pool lovers in a structures which look more like heritage buildings. In a more contemporary look the plot also depicts urban craze for reality shows which promise to catapult the aspiring average Joe and plain Jane into realms of stardom. The youngsters are represented by the lead actress Sonam Kapoor who looks ravishing even in simple attires. She portrays a confident rebel who wants to leave the middle class tag behind to achieve her dreams. The movie also takes a dig at the sensationalism and the frenzy practiced by the present day news channels. But like all the better things displayed it does not forget to display the dormant dark and hidden side of people which needs an excuse to creep out every time to make out an issue of a non issue. The various events happening in the film are aptly made analogous with the acts of Ramayana which is a brilliant attempt to rekindle the lost essence of its teachings.
The cinematography is quite impressive with viewers getting a chance to see the Chandni Chowk with Roshan’s eyes. The traffic, the rickshaws, shops selling knick knacks. One particular noteworthy 360 degrees shot shows Roshan taking a snap of The Red Fort.
AR Rahman has done a laudable job in keeping the music of the movie in sync with the story. The music maestro has blended tracks comprising of aartis (prayers) as well as the lovely tracks like ‘Masakalli’, contemporary Dilli-6 title track and shades of hip-hop in ‘kaala bandar’. Most notable track is the ‘Dil Gira daftan’ which shows the innovative cinematography at its zenith. The never before tried real time blending of Times square with Chandni Chowk is done with such finesse that the viewers are left amazed.
The characters in the movie are real and the situations explain how the things and situations develop in many parts of the country today. The film is unique in many perspectives. The usual extravagant show of attires and attitudes which has infected the mainstream Indian cinema is absent in Delhi 6. But the movie successfully delivers the message to the people to look within as both the God and Evil are not too far away but reside inside them only. The metaphor of “look-in-the-mirror” to find the demon was conveyed successfully and is heart touching. Overall, it is a nice movie with a lesson to take home.
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