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Cities as metaphor for social dynamics
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Cities have this strange association of being projected in a particular manner through the films and the identity that is built up for a city is difficult to shrug off and it continues to be emphasized on a regular basis over a period of time. HALLA BOL is an ample testimony to the same. Delhi has been identified as the nerve centre of political happening in the country, and therefore films with a political background revisit Delhi on a regular occasion and HALLA BOL is no exception.
It had happened in the recent memory with RANG DE BASANTI and it seems to be happening once again with HALLA BOL. A message of social relevance and importance if it has to be driven home seems to find a perfect echo in the choice of the city as a location.
The advantage that accrues in sticking to an image of the cities is the identities that are associated with the cities, and it seems to facilitate in acceptance of the city as the metaphor for whatever is going to be displayed on the screen. Therefore rarely can one find Delhi being used as a city for a full-scale romantic film; CHASME-BADDOOR might be an exception to this rule. Also can be included in this list CHANDNI, but only partially, as the film subsequently returns to Mumbai, and BEKHUDI can also be a part of this list. In the same vein, rarely would one find Mumbai being used as a city for driving home a bigger political message, though local issues like capturing of land for high-rise buildings, gobbling up of the playgrounds etc., have had their echoes through various Mumbai centric films, but a message of national importance having political portends for the future does have a rare resonance associated with Mumbai.
The freshness of HALLA BOL seems to lie in the fact that it has used new locations for picturisation of the film and the most illustrative of them seems to be the Humayun tomb which forms an interesting backdrop of a song, and their also is an imaginative use of Qutub Minar.
The choice for Delhi could also stem from the fact that the city has unfolded in the recent memory in a different manner and the option of space and the luxury of history that Delhi provides in a shot could be its USP. The vastness of space in a frame gives it an appearance of opulence and it adds to the grandeur on the scale.
Time for Delhi seems to be coming as Rakesh Mehra is coming up with a whole film, which would try to capture the nuance of heart of Delhi aka Chandni Chowk in his new film. Interestingly enough, quite a lot of films made with an international audience in mind have profusely used Delhi as the backdrop. It would also be of particular interest to see if some film is able to capture the romance of Delhi Metro as it completes its fifth anniversary in its totality, i.e. a film shot totally in Metro to announce to the world that India has really arrived. This is because; the kind of international publicity that a film would provide to Metro would not be possible on any different scale or a canvas.