Rakeysh Opmrakash Mehra's DELHI 6 is not your typical Bollywood flick. It has a theatrical twist in its treatment and hence some will find the amalgamation of the two mediums jarring. But the message the director is trying to get across is that of personal freedom, learning to say ''No'' and fighting the demons within. If looked at from this perspective, you will have no issues with the film. If you have notions of this being a typical Bollywood 'naach gaana' 'rona dhona' masala movie, you will be disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised and quite enjoyed the treatment and the message that comes across. Your views might differ.
But I have only one question to ask Rakeysh; why did Abhishek have to don the monkey suit in the end? Then again, I would answer that by saying the director does not want to give any easy answers. He wants the audience to think with him. So you see, as you replay the film in your mind, answers keep coming back. Depends how you want to view the film.
Abhishek Bachchan is Roshan who visits India for the first time with his grandmother (Waheeda Rehman). Dadi has been diagnosed with a life threatening disease in New York, and she wants to breathe her last in Delhi. Roshan agrees to accompany her. Bewildered at first, with a complete culture shock, Roshan is soon sucked into the life in Delhi with its myriad characters, played by an assortment of artistes, whose connection or relationship to Dadi or Roshan is not clear. All one can gather is that they belong to the same locality and have grown up together. There's also, the Hindu-Muslim twist.
Roshan meets Bittu (Sonam Kapoor) a free-spirited girl, who is busy making plans of her own, while her father (Om Puri) has his own agenda; that off marrying her off to the first available boy. There's also masakali the pigeon. Bittu tells Roshan that her father (Om Puri) has clipped her wings (masakali's) so that the pigeon cannot fly. This scene explains her plight, and of her wanting to take flight.
There's also Ali Uncle (Rishi Kapoor), who was in love with Roshan's mother, but who never mustered enough courage to tell her so. Roshan and Ali Uncle have a strong bonding and Rakeysh portrays it beautifully. In between all this there's a Hindu-Muslim clash with a Hindu fakir stating that there was a mandir in the densely populated Muslim area over 300 years ago and that's the reason why there's 'Monkey trouble' in this place. That's enough spark to light a communal fire. Roshan who is half-Hindu and half-Muslim is bewildered at the goings-on and wants to leave for America in the next flight with his Dadi, who was earlier adamant on staying put. Then, he realizes that the pull to stay in India is too strong. He has fallen in love with Bittu.
The movie has a subtle message. Its romance, which is also the heart of the film, is subtle too. Ditto the violence and the huge divide between upper and lower caste. Everything is downplayed but yet, wonderfully rings out loud.
The music by A R Rahman needs no praise. Masakali is a huge chartbuster and the performances too are top notch. Be it Tanvi Azmi in her short role or Om Puri. Abhishek Bachchan as a first timer to Indian soil is believable, with his Americanised accent. Sonam Kapoor is absolutely adorable. The girl is a rocker. But for me the actor who stands out head and shoulders in this film is Rishi Kapoor. A rock solid performance. Sadly, it's left unexplored.
There are a lot of monkeys we are fighting with; while there are others, the politicians let loose which in the end makes a monkey out of us!
Seriously, this is no monkey business. You will come back enriched.