Facebook has been full of opinions on this film. Most people have loved it, some enjoyed it and a few did not like it at all. I am somewhere between the first 2 categories, leaning a tad towards the first. This note is not asking anyone to like the movie because that is a very personal choice. Many people I know love films I would not touch with a bargepole…..but then different folks different strokes!
So why am I writing this note? No reason at all! I am however trying to understand what people mean by lambasting Aamir Khan and saying this does not do justice to their expectations of him. And of course, trying to put in words why I liked the film!
Just out of curiosity, what represents an Aamir Khan movie? I believe it is innovative ideas and totally new ways of telling a story. Whether it is Taare Zameen Par or 3 Idiots or Dhobi Ghaat; whether he is an actor or producer or influencer; his movies give us something we have not seen before. Did Delhi Belly not do that? I thought it did! This film is as different as it can be, despite us having seen a plethora of movies centred around 3 male friends, starting with Dil Chahta Hai, going on to Rock On and 3 Idiots to the very recent Pyar Ka Punchnama.
The lead character is called Tashi. Er what was that again? Tashi – is that a name? And the other two are called Arup and Nitin. What happened to Rahul? And Prem? And Karan? And Rohit? And……………………they do not exist in this film. No nattily done up apartment either – these guys live in a crumbling slummy looking bachelor pad. They have electricity and water supply problems…OMG did you hear that? Someone actually dared to make a movie with characters that look and sound real, who have real jobs, live in a real apartment with real problems…right down to the infamous ‘delhi belly’ which is something that every visitor to India knows! The characters have jobs. They actually go to office and work, unlike most characters seen in popular hindi films who wear snazzy clothes, carry sleek laptop bags, have all the time in the world to sing and dance but don’t seem to really do much else.
I see people getting most perturbed about the language in the film. Aamir Khan, the cast and crew has been shouting out from rooftops – Hey people this film has abusive language. Did we not hear that? This is one of those rare films where the makers have asked for an ‘A’ rating regardless of what it would do to the number of people who watch the film. Pretty much unlike the other films that have adult content and makers who fight for a ‘U’ or at least ‘U/A’ certification. Pretty responsible me thinks. And the language is as real as it can get. Rude, offensive, abusive, crude, profane, crass – call it whatever – Delhi speaks this way and worse! Actually why only Delhi? Look at any metro and catch a group of young guys talking amongst themselves. Profanity is used like punctuations! No I do not endorse it. I have a teenage son and it gives me no pleasure to realise that my son will learn all this too, but I cannot pretend that the language is not used by educated, middle class and upper middle class youth. Bhaag D K Bose has probably the smartest and most tongue-in-cheek lyrics ever! I was aghast when I first heard it, but now, I realise it is the caller tune for half the population :-p
Are the performances great? Some – yes and some – no. I thought Vijay Raaz stole the show as the gangster lord. Paresh Ganatra who plays the landlord is so real that you would be forgiven for forgetting him the moment you step out. We meet people like this EVERY DAY. The three lead characters are essayed competently enough through the film. The girls are good; specially Poorna Jagannathan whose screen presence is fabulous.
What Delhi Belly is not – is a family entertainer. It is not for those who have been brought up only on a fodder of bright and happy films from YRF Studios or the Karan Johar camp. It is a cheeky, smart, crazy, irreverent and irrepressible youth caper that challenges most of the norms of hindi film making. That is what makes it a good film for me.
For my friends who have watched and revelled in Tarantino and Guy Ritchie – you must have loved this one. 🙂
Copyright © Tara Verma July 2011
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