Delhi 6: A Journey Within

By • Feb 21st, 2009
Category: Books, Movies, Music, Televison, Bollywood, Bombay/Mumbai, Diaspora, India, New Delhi, People

Rakeyesh Omprakash Mehra’s third film Delhi 6: The Journey Within had its world wide release today. The film stars Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor (whose father Anil Kapoor acted in Slumdog Millionaire), Waheeda Rehman, Rishi Kapoor, Om Puri and others. Oscar nominated AR Rahman scored the music for the film, and as usual the songs were outstanding.

Delhi 6 is an interesting movie that unfolds in a slow and unhurried pace and is set against a complex background and backdrop. The movie unfolds almost like a play. A lot of time is spent in weaving that backdrop and background and I suspect that might not appeal to the audience especially for those who might be looking for a fast paced movie. The movie captures the fears, aspirations and needs of normal, everyday Indians as Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra described in his interview that I did for NDTV.com.

Rakeyesh Omprakash Mehra’s message  in Delhi 6 and about  “the journey within” might be a little too subtle this time around when compared to his previous film Rang De Basanthi, which was a spirited film with a gripping storyline that appealed to the younger audience.

Delhi 6 with its slow pace allows you to reflect on what the director is trying to communicate through his story or ensemble as he put it. The metaphor of “kala bhandar”  or “black monkey” runs like a run skein throughout the movie. The ingenious use of the “black monkey” metaphor sharply  highlights that bit of cruelty, that animal instinct, that primordial fear…call it what you want…but it is that bundle of emotions that is diametrically opposite to love that exists in all of us. Those black emotions are literally a heart beat away and can spark off into a wildfire and become destructive element with the deft manipulation of our emotions  When we see the world through our prejudiced lenses we see a different world and that is one of the subtle messages of the movie. But, on the other hand if we can see a world through love, empathy and understanding we might see a whole different world and might not jump to conclusions. Easy to preach but difficult to practice.

The second half of the movie is especially gripping and there is a lesson in there for all of us on how our emotions can be easily manipulated when it comes to religion. It was unnerving to witness how swiftly our black emotions are quick to surface. I don’t want to give the plot away, but when you see the movie you will understand what I am trying to say.

The movie depicts that chaos and provides a vibrant spectrum of modern day India that straddles both the traditional  and the emerging global culture. What better way to portray this new India and its goals and aspirations than setting the movie in the walled city of Old Delhi? This is what Rakeyesh had to say about the movie and India: “So it is a country which has found its balance in its chaos, in a kind of spectrum of a movie, you can only just touch and go and reflect these issues which makes the film very very vibrant, very colorful in the sense not in bright colors but emotional colors here.”

PS: Probably for the first time in my life I saw a Hindi movie on the first day for the first show. I was also the 6th person to buy a ticket at my local movie theatre in Silicon Valley. Interestingly, most of the audience were young men and I suspect many of them from the IT industry.

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One Response »

  1. Kamla,

    You didn’t say if watching a first day first show for the first time was worth it ?

    Deepan

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