The director, who gave us a masterpiece “Rang De Basanti”, can be seen no-where in his latest offering – Delhi 6. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra falls drastically short of all expectations which viewers had from this, one of the most awaited movies of 2009. In fact the 2-3 minutes promos were more interesting and impressive than the whole movie. And after you are through with the experience in the theater, you are left with only one question in mind, that what it was all about & what the writer-director wanted to show us?
The story revolves around an American boy, Roshan, played by Abhishek Bachhan, who comes to India with his grandmother to fulfill her wish of seeing the old hometown once again before dying. Abhishek, fascinated by the caring people and carefree life of the city, starts loving here. He also finds himself in love with innocent Bittu, daughter of the neighbors, played by Sonam Kapoor. But communal tensions in the area force Abhishek to take up a disguise act and save the local people, from killing each other. The second half of the movie featuring his act has a surprise package for the viewers, but sadly it is not convincing enough with weak and poor writing.
An impressive and engrossing start is a must for a movie to pull in the viewers into itself. But Delhi-6, starts with a very dull first hour where there is nothing happening, but only introduction of numerous characters is shown, playing their tiny little roles in the crowded star-cast. In fact the screenplay has so many people to deal with that not even one is able to convince the viewers with his/her act. Incomplete characterization makes even veteran actors like Waheeda Rehman, Rishi Kapoor, Om Puri & Prem Chopra look helpless on screen. In simple words, everyone is there but no one is able to stand out of the crowd due to the faulty screenplay.
There are many unwanted sequences in the movie which have no contributions to make in the narration but have only been added to make the frame look more artistic and classy.
For instance, the Ramleela sequence, there for a good length, has nothing to do with the movie, but is only added because it is a key feature of Delhi’s Ramleela Ground in that area. Children driving the car themselves, two brothers living in one house with a separating wall, Abhishek meeting his grandfather in a dream sequence, also have nothing to convey to the viewers as such.
In the performance department, the best one comes from Divya Dutta, as the lady sweeper of the area, treated as an untouchable by all. Her scene with the two child artists is superb and the dialect used by Divya for her character is simply flawless. Second best act comes from Vijay Raaz, as the local policeman playing the role to perfection. Sonam, comes up with a natural and sober act and gets noticed. Abhishek is just ok with a deliberate American accent, which gets caught at times. The love angel between Abhishek and Sonam lacks the depth and never leaves an impact on the viewer.
It was really disappointing to see that Om Puri, Waheeda Rehman, Prem Chopra, Supriya Pathak, Atul Kulkarni, Tanvi Azmi & Pawan Malhotra were not given any good length roles or well written scenes, but they all still manage to give superb performances. Raghuvir Yadav is used in the worst possible manner ever as he is not even visible anywhere in the movie but only singing the Ramleela Songs.
The act which could be the highlight of the movie was of Rishi Kapoor, performing elegantly. He lights up the screen with his cool get up and persona but becomes the victim of ill-treatment given by the writers. Amitabh Bachhan in a cameo appearance towards the end, is also not able to generate any major impact. Regarding the Hindu – Mulim angle in the story, the real life look alike politicians and the Mandir-Masjid plot had nothing new to say, which resulted in a very pale impression of the whole sequence.
Another worth mentioning character of the movie is a “Kaala Bander” who creates a panic in the area by attacking people at regular intervals. The innovative climax of the movie is related with this “Kaala Bander” but I will not like to reveal that relationship here to my readers as many friends may not have seen the movie yet. But i really found the electrical lights on the Kala Bander, a strange imagination of the writer-director.
Merits of the movie, undoubtedly include the outstanding music by A. R. Rahman. It is his one of the most refined works till date giving us a complete album, after Lagaan. Just listen to the “Aarti” sung beautifully by a chorus without any beat instruments. And “Genda Phool” is simply awesome combining the folk and hip hop elements into one track. Binod Pradhan’s cinematography captures the “Delhi Ki Galiyan” brilliantly. If you are a Delhite, then you will love the camera movements and the created ambience even more.
All together, Delhi-6 has very few merits to name and more flaws to count. The unexpected and confusing climax will be the toughest part to digest for many. The movie tries to incorporate so much into it but ends up doing nothing great. Rakesh Omprakash Mehra seems to be confused between making an entertaining movie or a preachy movie. The mess and confusions seen in his “Aks” are visible again. May be he should sign Aamir, once again for his next now. .
Go for it if you have visited the Delhi-6 area yourself and dont mind experiencing an innovation gone wrong!
Rating : 2 / 5 (1 for the innovative climax tried by the director)