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Dilli Fix: Movie review
Dilli 6 will be liked by the classes or those looking out for meaningful cinema and of course, the western audience (Ram leela sequences particularly); for the rest , the film might not be their entertainment mix

FIRST THING first - Why is the film titled Dilli 6? The last digit of the postal code of Chandni Chowk in Delhi happens to be 6 - hence Dilli 6; as simple as that.

The film opens with the rich baritone of Amitabh Bachchan - that sets the premise of the film - a human-being should love another human-being irrespective of religion or any other consideration (here Hindu and Muslim).

Thereafter, the film sets the menace of ’Monkey-man’, which if I am not wrong gripped Delhi and NCR in 2002 or 2003. Rakeysh thereby juxtaposes the menace of monkey-man with the communal tension. The ongoing Ram leela serves as a perfect metaphor to take the film forward. This bit works like a two-pronged fork - both, for the film and against the film.

For the film - because it lifts the film from ordinary to watchable; against the film - because screenplay (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Prasoon Joshi, Kamlesh Pandey) falters on this count.

Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) based in New-York, comes to India for the first time to aid his grandmother’s (Waheeda Rehman) wish to visit Delhi - the city where she lived with her husband and the city she left after her husband’s death; to be with her son and daughter-in-law (Tanvi Azmi). Her only wish now is to die in ’apni dilli’.

Initially averse, Roshan is soon won over by the warmth of myriad characters that form a typical neighbourhood in any Chandni Chowk lane - here ’galli paswan’. The warring brothers (Om Puri and Pawan Malhotra), their kids, their wives (Supriya Pathak and some other actress), uncouth cop (Vijay Raaz), the friendly bumpkin (Atul Kulkarni), the untouchable, Jalebi (Divya Dutta), the initially secular gali-halwai Mamdoo and the ethereal Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) - yup probably the most de-glam name for a Hindi film heroine, who aspires to be on Indian Idol! and of course the kind-hearted uncle, Beg (Rishi Kapoor).

With the characters set, the narrative forms hitting at the ills of the social structure, the element of mass-hysteria fanned by over-zealous media - Dayashanker Pandey as Kumar with his show ’Khabardaar’ and culminating it in the futility of communal riots.

The first half is smooth sailing but the second part shows the chinks as the film drags, in fact, the communal tension bit is not properly baked. The tension is missing. While the characters look all tense, the action is just not there to hook audiences; that’s superficial writing. Quite an anomaly, since the first half takes the audiences along.

What rocks the movie:

Rishi Kapoor, though only has a few scenes, he excels. Just watch the scene where he confesses to Abhishek Bachchan that he was in love with Abhishek’s mother. Brilliant!

The scene where Gobar (Atul Kulkarni) tells Pawan Malhotra that he always opts for two coins because the day he took a 10-rupee note; Pawan would stop giving him even the two-rupees. How true!

Abhishek, gives an earnest performance but not his best. Sonam Kapoor (agreed she has a long way to go in terms of histrionics); she looks beautiful.

What chucks the movie:

The romantic track. Instead of slackening the pace with endless songs; a few genuine romantic moments could not only have enlivened the film but also made the climax more plausible and more touching!

Verdict:

The film will be liked by the classes or those looking out for meaningful cinema and of course, the western audience (Ram leela sequences particularly); for the rest (and that forms considerable audience-size) Dilli 6 might not be their entertainment mix.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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