Punchline: metaphorical and boring film
Banner: UTV Motion Pictures & Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni, Divya Dutta, Om Puri, Rishi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Pawan Malhotra & Vijay Raaz
Music: AR Rehman
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi, Vivinenne Pocha, Claire
Dialogues: Prasoon Joshi
Cinematography: Binod Pradhan
Aaction: Allan Amin
Editor: P S Bharathi
Screenplay: Rakesh Mehra, Prasoon Joshi, Kamlesh Pandey
Direction: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Producers: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra & Ronnie Screwvala
Release date: 20 Feb 2009
Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) – an NRI from the USA – visits India to accompany his ailing granny (Waheeda Rehman) to fulfill her wish to live her last leg of life in Delhi 6, the neighborhood she grew up. Being a guy brought up in the USA, Roshan finds the locality of Delhi 6 intimidating at first. Slowly he draws himself into various people around him. Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) is his neighbor girl and Roshan helps her to fend off the marriage proposals so that she could concentrate on her dream of becoming an Indian Idol. Meanwhile, there are rumors about a black monkey creating havoc in city. The rest of the story is all about what the black monkey is all about and what happens to the relationship between Roshan and Bittu.
Abhishek Bachchan is adequate as the male lead. Sonam Kapoor is pretty good. Rishi Kapoor is excellent. Atul Kulakarni steals the show as an innocent man. It’s a different role for Divya Dutta and she is good. Vijay Raaz goes overboard at times. Om Puri and Pawan Malhotra are superb. It’s a cake walk for Waheeda Rehman. Aditi Rao is supremely good in a sympathy-oriented role. Amitab Bachchan did a cameo.
Story – screenplay – direction: The basic idea of this film is to show there that is God as well as devil in every one of us and we should kill the devil (black monkey) inside us in order to have a good conscience. This message is delivered in the climax and if you rewind the entire story and the happenings in the film, you would realize that black monkey concept and Ram Leela episodes are metaphorically inserted in the screenplay. Direction of the film is good in parts. But the real problem with the film is unfocussed narration by having too many characters in the film and dwelling on each and every character for more time. Another problem with this film is that director tried to discuss and resolve too many issues (Hindu-Muslim divide, media’s over-enthusiasm about making news out of nothing, untouchability (caste divide), brothers’ conflict, superstition, politicians exploiting the religion, child marriages, NRI realizing good things about India, Ram Leela play etc) at the same time. One fails to understand how Abhishek keeps jumping like a monkey from building to building during interval part. Is it to hint the audiences that he could be the black monkey of the film?
The following scenes are good –
1. Two naughty kids asking Divya Dutta to make them virile (mard banado).
2. Feet pressing the remote to change the channels while making sex.
3. Rishi Kapoor’s admission of his love story.
4. The climax revelation about black monkey.
Other technical departments: Music by AR Rehman is the highlight of the film. All songs are excellently picturized. Dilgira song is the only song with vibrant colors in this film as rest of the film has tint to the color. The way all characters of Delhi 6 appear in the dreamy song of Abhishek shot in colorful USA streets is refreshing. Cinematography is very good. Art direction is excellent as the ambiance of old Delhi and Chandni Chowk come alive in this film. Rerecording of the film is also good. Like Rang De Basanthi, this film too is shot using spot dubbing. You have to concentrate listening to dialogues as they sound shallow and inaudible in theaters with not-so-good sound systems. Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography is first rate. Editing is adequate. Production values are grand.
Analysis: First half of the film is alright. Second half is boring. Interval point of the film is abrupt. The major strength of the film is music by AR Rehman. It’s extraordinary. The main drawbacks of the film are innumerable characterizations, too many metaphors and lack of focus on narrating the main point as multiple subplots dilute the interest. Looks like naming films on Delhi (Chandni Chowk to China and Delhi 6) is a box-office jinx for this year. On a whole, Delhi 6 lacks soul and is a preachy and boring film. [idlebrain]