Saturday, July 02, 2011
#151: Delhi Belly
As a genre, crime capers are the rarest in Bollywood, their numbers since Alam Ara as easy to recall as the number of days in a week. Johnny Gaddar and Sankat City are to my mind the only ones to have successfully made the cut in the last decade. At the same time, the elite English-speaking audience in our cities continue to revere the works of the likes of Guy Ritchie and Mathew Vaughn- filmmakers who would get our senses alert and the funny bone tickling with unforgettable characters, scenes and dialogues. Many a night has passed with inebriated friends barely able to stand on their feet, assembling in a fellow-hosteler's room and watching Snatch for the umpteenth time and remarking with liberal doses of snobbery that 'Bollywood sucked'. For all those upcoming discussions from here on, there is a footnote that needs to be added very quickly about this week's release Delhi Belly- a truly inventive and an incredibly entertaining cult comic caper.
Three lazy, filthy, indifferent but educated friends stay in a dilapidated room set in Delhi. When a harmless parcel comes their way to be delivered to a particular location, their typical nonchalant approach to a seemingly normal situation turns their world upside down. With no knowledge of what's to befall them, they soon get entangled in a web of an organized diamond smuggling racket spearheaded by the effusively brilliant Vijay Raaz. His is a supporting act and yet it is his presence that forms the icing on the brilliant script of Akshat Verma. Akshat's fresh approach to a time old dramatic device of two-interchanged-bags-and-the-ensuing-hilarity is the most definitive reason for the movie's likeability. All good crime movies have memorable bad men at the helm and Raaz's sharp characterization is a piece of art. And then there are the side-splitting dialogues. I simply don't remember the last time a theater hall laughed so loud so many times during a movie. Some of these dialogues will become staple conversations over lunch at workplaces for they're as close to the real world as they can get. What's more they are as unabashedly funny.
On-screen Imran Khan does himself a world of good by slipping effortlessly in a role that was light years away from the rom-com mediocrity that he was so getting used to. He delivers and so does every other cast member. The likes of Vir Das impress not just with the delivery of his funny lines but also with the depiction of frustration levels of the average corporate executive. One had to feel sorry for Kunal Roy Kapoor, ( the talented director ofThe President is Coming) who in his debut role sadly was a man possessed with a bad tummy and it's repercussions in the movie and yet he managed a sparkling screen presence. On the technical side, some smart editing and a tantalizing soundtrack combine fluidly to give you the movie of the year. Director Abhinay Deo had given us many memorable ads in the past and he gets one right after the forgettable Game The movie did lack a finishing touch but nothing that would take away from emerging out of the hall feeling that you've seen something momentous.
Delhi Belly is undoubtedly right up there with the best of Indian cinema. It has set a new benchmark for caper thrillers in Bollywood and it will be interesting to see how many more get inspired now to take that road less travelled in the near future. This is not the kind of movie your parents will want you to watch but sitting in that hostel room drunk on Floyd, short of hash, devoid of girlfriends if there's one movie that you can now safely fall back upon to give you that trip, it is Delhi Belly.
Not watching it is keeping yourself away from a very very good thing.