Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Dilli 6

The devouring darkness of the night is taken over by a speck of bright light, dominating the enormously squatted city of New Delhi. The light blankets, circumvents and bombards the already bustling streets of Chandni Chowk with delightful pomp and splendid celebratory ambience. On the gracious occasion of Ram Navmi, a stage is embellished with multicoloured props and numerous stage lights. Masked men are seen pondering over the huge dais with their torsos bejeweled with armaments, coloured clothing and bizarre strokes of paint. It is an auspicious event embraced with great generosity by all those who are a part of it. The soil of the venue suffers a great deal from the constant dancing of happy feet rushing to see the play. The sutradhar (narrator) is the first character to be witnessed by the peacefully seated audience. He amplifies the narration with a touch of cultural and social beliefs, leaving a deeper message of morality and righteousness behind. The channel of intense emotions leaves everyone intrigued of the sequential events to unfold. On the onset of an effectively melodramatic scene, Goddess Sita is stopped short of grieving over her fate by a promotional campaign of a political party. The representative of the party greets the audience and begins with a spluttering of strong Hindi diction. The end of days play is indicated with the successful publicity of the political party for the upcoming elections.
Delhi 6 is all of the above; a place of people who brace many more of their kind to live together harmoniously. Every hint of joy is momentously captured and preserved, only to be flushed by intimidation. As much as Mr Producer has promoted the typicality of chandni chowk, he has the root cause of cultural disparity put into action. The entry of kala Bandar shows the first sign of fear and triggered insecurity which alarmingly spreads through the common masses. The black figured criminal is only used as a means to surface ones possibly existing sense of fear. The supposedly haunting Kala Bandar controversy becomes the talk of the town, a reason to be alert and cautious and a fun filled gossip among the pickle and papad blenders (the female counterpart). The hero comes into picture amidst the controversy and unknowingly becomes a part of it. His sole purpose of coming ‘home’ is to fulfill his granny’s last wishes of ‘perishing on the Indian soil’. Chandni chowk fascinates the protagonist as much as any tourist would be on his first visit. Streets are jammed with posh four wheelers teaming with evergreen cycle-rickshaws, hawkers and vendors selling foodstuffs and pedestrians walking to and fro. There are showers of religious prayers adding a touch of integrity to the diversified nature of the place. Delhi 6 seems ever ready to welcome anybody who wishes to explore and experience.
Further, there is an episodic flow of daily events flavoured with melodious inputs. Rahman adapts to every situation and brings out the best of his technical abilities to blend with the colours of Delhi. He adds a touch of Sufism to portray the significance of Muslim dwellers and their religious passions. To add to his appreciative skills, he makes way for his musical scores to mingle with changing spheres of circumstances. Delhi 6 is a musical journey of romance, love, religious beliefs, traditional outputs and the sigma of the above four-Indianness. The heroine (Bitto) is shown to have a typical nature of a Local Delhi girl who is on the quest for a successful career. A very common phase which most of the female counterparts may have experienced is the scene where the girl is shown jumping out of her traditional to go western. Like every other innocent girl, she is fooled by a localiite who promises her an easy entry into the popular musical stage ‘Indian Idol’. She is bounded by traditional ties and family norms that permit little or no exposure to worldly issues. The protagonist shows her a ray of hope to fight all atrocities which is flopped in vanity by her own people. The conservative nature of Indian families is clearly evident in this phase.
There is not much of a romantic roller coaster highlighted, but the concept of romanticism is enveloped by religious boundaries and superstitious beliefs of the masses. There is no element of surprise when untouchability is shown to be a part of peoples daily practices. A woman belonging to that section of the society is deprived of following her own religion and is also detested with a strict degree of confinement. As opposed to peoples scornfulness, she chooses to stand by them to resolve an undying social conflict. Bitto's passion taken for a mountain of despicability is royally suppressed to preserve self- esteem and respectability in the society . In one of the scenes, her father is shown to bribe a family into ‘buying’ his daughter for a couple of silver ‘sikkas’ out of desperation. There is little sense of morality when situations are out of hands. Meanwhile, the Kala Bandar controversy continues to perturb many minds and evokes religious disputes amongst the inhabitants. The widely renowned Baba inculcates a feeling of disparity and secularity falls prey to caprice. There is a wide spread rumour of the pre-existence of a Hindu temple where a Mosque stands. Political rivals raise issues on religious insecurities and blame the opposition parties for it.The terror spreading through the deadly monkey man is precariously used as a weapon to contest elections. Hindus fight over Muslims for their right and Muslims are seen defending their culture. Climactically, there is an outbreak of a religious war which persists till the ‘Kala Bandar’ is finally witnessed. It is only after the Bandar is impulsively shot, that the masses realize the root cause of such pointless commotion. The movie ends with a social message which defines the true concept of the movie ‘Kala Bandar thrives in every heart that nourishes fear and suspicions; he is very much a part of our own existence…’
There may be strong reasons attached to the movies failure at the box office. To me, it is all that takes to make a sensible movie out of a meaningful concept.

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