Sunday, February 22, 2009

Taking Dilli for a 6!

Just watched the movie that is the namesake of the city I dwell in! Okay, am no patriot of Delhi nor do I believe in patriotism as being a virtue. However, after watching this movie, to say am outraged at the portrayal of Delhi is an understatement. Before going into the gory details and the justification for my outrage, let’s simply talk about the movie.

Firstly, there’s no story, period. Of course, who said a story is essential to make a good movie; I have seen several riveting and mind-boggling movies that don’t necessarily have a consistent storyline. But, this one flouted all the basic rules, if there are any, rules of film making. Was it a documentary on the so-called ridiculous behavior of people in the walled city? Or, was it a tourist flyer promoting tourism, what with the recession and stuff, are we gonna fall back on tourism?

Secondly, the characterization! Who, for example, is Roshan? Just an NRI? That’s it? Does it kind of capture the essence of the person? What type of NRI is he? Has he studied anything? Why is everything so damn new to him, especially after being brought by a very religious dadi! Not even one character seems sorted out.

Thirdly, the movie failed utterly in terms keeping the audience engaged! Of course, every second had suspense woven in, because we didn’t know when the movie would end; it seemed like it could have ended in at least 10 points; and when it finally ended, the audience were like, “wow, it’s over man!” You know, I do enjoy movies that are no-brainers, as long as they are fun to watch. But, movies as these are violating; I was not only bored, but also angry!

Now to the anger part: anyone who has lived in Delhi for at least a year will know about Dilli 6: the walled city. For those of you who don’t know about the walled city, here is a small note on the area. It is one of the oldest residential areas of Delhi. It is predominantly a Muslim area, with the Jama Masid at one corner.

It is a heritage site; several years of history is buried in the roads of this unique place. Interestingly, the people and houses there and the way of life (not that it is very different from any other of the middle class areas in the country) is actually history. You must be there to witness or feel what it is to be in the midst of a historic place that is still very much alive. The mode of transport within the city is only by cycle rickshaws because the houses are so closely built that there’s hardly any space for any other type of vehicles. And, here, we have our hero sneering at the time it takes to reach his sick grandmom to the hospital on a rickshaw. What is worse is they aren’t delayed only by the rickshaw, but by a cow in labor! What a ridiculous idea! And, what’s even horrible is that the grandmom gets better when she hears of the cow in labor and goes and touches the cow with so much devotion.

The movie screams of the exotic orient in every damn shot! Guys, didn’t things like this get dealt with several years ago with Edward Said and our own Romila Thapar shattering such myths?

Next, this movie hardly explores the real culture of dilli 6. There’s this elaborate Ram Lila happening throughout the movie, but nothing on the lovely sweet meats sold around Jama Masid or the famous breaking of the Mohram fast or the famous buff kebabs of dilli 6! Everybody has been ridiculed! The dalit woman is as usual the beedi-smoking, foul-mouthed whore, who dutifully sits outside the temple and worships God! I felt violated as I walked out of the movie hall; my time, my money, and my intellect were insulted!

Just a word for Abhishek Bachan! Do yourself a favor; take a holiday for a year and go faraway; I suggest the Himalayas. And, do some soul-searching. Acting is not for you man; however, you could learn it, and I assure you one thing, your dad can’t be your teacher. Buddy, you can do better than this. If only you could find something real and true for yourself. I could see how bored you were; more than anger, I felt sorry for you!

Destination Sikkim - Till we meet again

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