Timeout - The Ambience Of Nazakaat
by Jamuna Rangachari
Delhi-6, Casted By: Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Rishi Kapoor, Om Puri, Pawan Malhotra, Supriya Pathak, Sheeba Chaddha, Vijay Raaz, Divya Dutta, Aditi Rao, Music By: A.R Rahman,
Lyrics By: Prasoon Joshi,
Directed By: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Yes, Dilli 6 is a love story; not so much of the lead couple but of the director with his mileau: Old Delhi. The never-empty narrow ‘galis’, the ‘havelis’ within, the connected rooftops, the ‘patang-baazi’, the cows and the cars, the rickshaws and the handcarts, the `jalebis’ and the ‘golgappas’, the mandir and the masjid, the skull caps and the saffron `gamchas’ .
We have seen all of this often but the sheer affection with which Rakeysh depicts this makes Chandni Chowk come alive.
The story opens with America-based Roshan (Abhishek), flying in with his dying grandmom (Waheeda), straight into the hustle and bustle of Chandni Chowk and the affection of the large, extended family and neighbours.
The estranged brothers (Om and Pawan), the ‘bhabhis’ (Supriya and Sheeba), spinster ‘bua’ (Aditi), and the free-spirited Bittu (Sonam) who wants to be the next Indian Idol - all are woven into the plot quite deftly. Sonam is, however, grossly under utilised as her character gets much less footage than it deserves.
There are stellar performances from the main supporting cast – Om Puri and Pawan Malhotra, and the ‘jamadarin’, played by the excellent Divya. Rishi Kapoor superbly creates the still-alive ‘nazaakat’ and decay of the ‘nawabi’ traditions of Delhi Chhe (Dilli 6). The music is really good; particularly the classical touch of combining the track of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan with Shreya Ghoshal.
It is in getting real action going that the film falters. The ‘kala bandar’ (a mysterious monkey that terrorized Delhi some years ago), is built up slowly and is essentially shown as a metaphor for the growing communal unrest simmering under the surface in a hitherto peaceful area. The Ram-lila, which runs on a parallel track, is also authentic but fails to integrate totally with the storyline.
The core messages of the film: of showcasing the old world amity of Old Delhi as well as the need to look within for the root of all evil (depicted by the kala bandar) and the metaphor of using the mirror to see the Divine in oneself and all others are still worth recounting and repeating many times.
“India works,” says Roshan in one of his soul-searching moments. So, yes, go for it, to look within and to look at a piece of India that works.