What ails Delhi 6?

Harneet Singh<BR /> First a confession: I'm a Rang De Basanti fanatic. Love everything about it,even (and especially) the end. So you can imagine my excitement to watch what Rakeysh Mehra had dreamt up next.

Written by Harneet Singh | Mumbai | Published: February 23, 2009 1:15:36 pm

First a confession: I’m a Rang De Basanti fanatic. Love everything about it,even (and especially) the end. So you can imagine my excitement to watch what Rakeysh Mehra had dreamt up next. Delhi 6 was right up there in my must-see-asap film-list of the year. I was hooked from the first promo of Sonam Kapoor dancing with a dove on her head. The music album only whetted my appetite more. It promised so much.

Alas,certain promises remain unfulfilled.

That’s what I felt after watching Delhi 6: unfulfilled. Mehra’s intentions are noble. His heart is in the right place but sadly the film is all over the place. I get the point he is trying to make. Yes,he wants the film to be a mirror into our souls (actually collective consciousness),so that we know that each of us has a lurking kaala bandar inside of us. It’s a simple and effective message. The problem is with the messenger i.e. Mehra who forces this message down the throats of his audience. Nobody goes to a movie hall to get preached to,there is the Sanskar channel in everybody’s home!

While watching Delhi 6 you get a feeling that it has taken a long journey to arrive at nowhere in particular. The ride is enjoyable,but it leaves you unfulfilled. That Mehra has deep affection for his setting and its people is apparent. He has treated the film like an extended travelogue of Chandni Chowk. He knows his characters well,has deep affection for all of them,but he doesn’t do anything with his protagonist played by Abhishek Bachchan. Throughout the film Abhishek remains an observer. He just reacts. But when the protagonist doesn’t move,the story becomes stagnant. I appreciate the fact that symbolically Mehra wanted Abhishek’s character to be a mirror to all that is happening around him,but it becomes excruciatingly labourious to just watch the hero do nothing.

The film also has a bizarre climax no,make that ludicrous. The cameo in the end was totally unnecessary and totally killed it. Seems all those stories about producers UTV intervention were true. It is believed Mehra was asked to go with the happy ending in order to augment the commercial prospects.

God knows why they stressed about the ending because in many instances,Delhi 6 lacked a beginning. Actually creatively they went wrong with the positioning of the film. It was built up as a love story,but the film is all about the kaala bandar. It’s almost as if you are watching another film while the promos promised something else. Obviously,you feel let down. I was also let down with the song picturisations. A R Rahman has created a sublime score for Delhi 6,but Mehra just hurriedly patches the songs one after the other uncaring about song situations. Heartbreak!

I’m all for films without a plot. I love films that are an exploratory journey,provided I take home lots of memories from that journey. Sadly with Delhi 6,I came back with incomplete memories.

The promise of the film was so beautiful. Sadly,it remained a promise.

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