Deadly Delhi, Bellyful Of Brilliance!
By MovieTalkies.com, 30 June 2011
It's dirty. It's raunchy. It's thrilling. It's hilarious. It's fast paced. It's new age cinema. It's different. In a word, the latest release from Aamir Khan Productions, Delhi Belly is brilliant.
Abhinay Deo's second directorial outing after Game, Delhi Belly is a youth centric film set in the old city of the national capital. Producer Aamir Khan famously stated before the film's release that Delhi Belly has the potential to take away all the goodwill he has earned over the years in the industry. With expletives to the max (the DK Bose song is the least of it) and shady situations for every taste, the film breaks the Bollywood mould and turns in Hindi cinema's first real comic crime caper.
The film rides high on a furiously paced screenplay and some fantastic editing from Huzefa Lokhandwala, all built around LA based screenwriter Akshat Verma's insane (in a good way) original story. With a whole lot of smart dialogues and crazy funny setpieces that'll have your stomach aching with laughter, the action here moves so fast that it quite literally is a case of 'you blink and you miss it'.
The film casts Imran Khan, Vir Das and Kunaal Roy Kapur as the protagonists, Tashi, Arup and Nitin respectively, three friends who share a dirty, rundown flat in battered Delhi. Tashi is a journalist who's getting set to marry his jetset sweetheart, an airhostess played by Shenaz Treasury, in a month, even as he seems to be developing feelings for Meneka, a colleague played by Poorna Jagannathan, a divorcee with a maniacal ex. Arup, on the other hand, is a loser graphic artist in an ad agency, bullied by his boss and dumped by his girlfriend, while Nitin is a semi slimy photographer, with no qualms about blackmailing and stealing from people, who is about to have the worst case of Delhi Belly he's ever had. When Tashi's girlfriend gives him a mysterious package to deliver, he and his mates are embroiled in a hilariously dangerous chain of events that sees them get involved with some of the deadliest gangsters in the city, headed by a rib ticklingly serious Vijay Raaz.
Though Delhi Belly isn't exactly visually exciting, the kick comes from the smartness of its urban humour, which will find a lot of fans, especially amongst the upwardly mobile twenty to thirty something audiences, with comic settings like Nitin's 'affinity' for orange juice almost seeming like stand up staple. While it may have made for controversy fodder before the film's release, but after a watch, it is evident that the expletives and dirty comedy come very naturally to a story like this, and honestly, it would be odd if the film didn't have the actors mouthing cuss words in every second dialogue. Though this reviewer watched the film in its Hinglish format, with the lead characters speaking maybe one dialogue or two of Hindi in the entire film, one is sure that the humour here will translate into Hindi just as easily.
It helps the film immensely, that the film's three leads, Imran, Vir and Kunaal, truly get into the skin of their characters. It is interesting to note that though he may be the most known of the lot, Khan sees himself nearly upstaged by his two colleagues, with Kunaal's Nitin the film's breakout character. Vijay Raaz has a fairly short track, but is simply amazing in his role as the menacing gangster leading a bunch of nitwit goons. Shenaz Treasury is quite okay, but the film's true female lead is the smouldering Poorna Jagannathan, who scorches the screen in every one of her scenes. One can only hope we get to see more of this fine actress in the future. Others like Paresh Ganatra as the lead trio's landlord, and Rajendra Sethi, as the archetypal Delhi businessman, are quite funny as well.
The film's musical quotient, with one of the best soundtracks of the year from Ram Sampath, is also quite high, though the director makes a smart decision not to interrupt the narrative via song and dance. The way tracks like 'bedardi raja' and 'bhaag DK Bose, aandhi aayi' are used is quite superb and leaves a strong impression without breaking the flow of the action. Aamir's 'item number', 'I hate you (like I love you)', is also immensely enjoyable, though its placement could have been better.
Abhinay Deo may have earned flak for his first film, Game, but Delhi Belly shows what he might have been busy with, at that point, and Delhi Belly is complete redemption for the Bollywood newbie. With the film, Aamir Khan is clearly cementing his position as one of B'town's smartest residents, picking some of the best scripts and subjects in the industry for his production house. Ultimately, the star of Delhi Belly', though, is Akshat Verma, the unknown upstart screenwriter, who has come from nowhere to deliver one of the smartest, tightest comic capers Hindi cinema has seen in recent times. Delhi Belly is, clearly, a must watch!