I've always liked movies to be sort of loosely based on escapism, something that exports you to a new place and a new set of mundane problems which are solved with a few songs. that's probably why I like Dilwale Dulhainya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi...... all far-fetched fairy tales which leave you with smiles. But Delhi-6 is the sort of movie which is quite bizarre, almost crazy but leaves you thinking about it days after. here there's no place for escapism, face the harsh reality but through this really crazy, entertaining way.
its NOT a documentary, the sorts you are forced to watch at school, obliged to keep your eyes open inspite of yourself. no, its NOT a documentary, its very close, personal....like a diary full of colours, smells, people, layered with symbolism, themes. I'm not very sure if our audience will receive the movie like it should be received, whether they'll understand the symbolism, whether they'll appreciate it, whether they'll think its too preachy, too superficial, whether they'll realize that this is what is happening around them.....exactly this......we dismiss wisdom as being 'too preachy' and leave everything to God 'uppar wala sab thek karega'. We don't want to do anything, change anything but simply say that God will see that everything is okay [and which God, from which religion are we talking about anyway?] is exactly what Roshan [Junior B] says.
A perfectly peaceful neighbourhood [except for minor undercurrents, family strives] where Hindus and Muslims co-exist amicably is disturbed with the entry of a kala bunder [black monkey] which creates a scare making them fight over the religion of this monkey and for which god he could be working for. how petty! yes! the kala bunder is 'invisible' and people keep adding their own versions of him further forcing the communities apart. the kala bunder could stand for a number of things.....terrorism, political tensions which causes repurcussions amongst the common man, the fear of superstitions, of appearing god fearing which create petty biases, or perhaps the fact that we make a mountain of a molehill, exaggerate every trivial issue to make it into the sensation [courtesy, the media also portrayed hysterically here]......the fact that all these issues are faceless, don't have a religion, that we have to unite to face these problems, FACE them and not escape. there is a dialogue where the Muslim head and a rich Hindu moneylender are relieving themselves on the same street and they wait for each other and walk together [during the riots] saying that the root cause of the whole problem was the kala bunder.....exactly!
then there is this so called 'mad fakir' who keeps trying to show people their face in an old mirror, saying that God exists in everyone. Mehra doesn't want to anger his viewers, or make them feel so ashamed of themselves that they berate the film. so there is an element of the fact Indians are intrinsically good, but their biases can divide them almost instantly......we are warm people, but also keep the kala bunder within us ready to take over anytime.....the fakir says we're all the same.
i read a few reviews in the newspaper today and most of them had to say that there was too much of symbolism, an overdose of it in Delhi-6. this is probably because most of Delhi-6 was so perfectly put, critics like me find it difficult to put it all into words. we can't just summarize it because it won't do justice to its themes. of course there were many themes, the most important one being communal riots [sorted out in the joint pursuit of the kala bunder]. the minor ones included family tensions [sorted out in the joint pursuit of the kala bunder], a pigeon symbolic to a girl with dreams trapped into family obligation 'tradition', both set free at the same time [while the family decides to use the kala bunder excuse to avoid insult in their community].
so....hmmmm......there were many themes but they were all connected to the kala bunder.......while it was the root cause to all their problems, people used it to solve their problems, even for escapism.....so people use their kala bunder within them to justify their actions, to do exactly what they want to do [they can tell 'god' that the 'kala bunder' made them defy 'his rules']. the most ironical thing to this theme of the internal kala bunder was the ram leela performance, relevant snips of it shown throughout the movie. the lessons inferred from the ram-leela performance was exactly the opposite of what they did as a part of tradition, 'god's orders' [the caste system bias] which is merely their interpretation, Hanuman doesn't kill Ravan, but just sets fire to Lanka [ they don't kill the kala bunder intially, but its just used to confuse and anger the communities further]. hmmmm.......curious.....Hanuman was a monkey, a bunder too.......
of course all this isn't put as a preachy prattle but an engaging narrative.....the ram leela sequences act as foreshadowing techniques, the songs are fantastic [courtesy, A.R. Rahman's composition] all of them, from Ghenda Phool, to Kala Bunder, to of course the song which is topping the charts in almost every radio channel 'Masakali' [courtesy Mohit Chauhan's fantabulous voice]. Junior B was quite natural and fitted his role to the tee, Deepak Dobriyal as Mamdu the jalebi seller had such queer mannerisms and a scarily human character [many shades to him] which he did justice too and definitely deserves praise for! the whole cast fitted in perfectly except Sonam Kapoor.
before you come after me like I'm the kala bunder, let me justify.....yes, she's beautiful, has an excellent wardrobe, lovely eye make-up etc, etc.....but the way she walked down chandni-chowk, the way she spoke to people it seemed like she [and not Roshan] had landed from America......her mannerisms were so NOT that of a middle class Delhi-ite, instead more of a Bombay girl, according to me. the heaven sequence which had Amitabh Bachchan in it was completely atrocious and not needed for such a wonderful movie like this, but I'll let that slip by because the end, where each of them looks into the fakir's mirror was SO cute.....each of them preening, looking proud, with that beautiful song 'maula....maula' playing in the background was so touching.....it made me feel like.....we aren't that bad and we can make things better together..... a mirror just shows you your identity, not your religion and this is our identity....we are Indians and CAN be a country whose unity is a force that can't be broken or swayed......