Thursday, February 26, 2009


Bindi and I braved Thursday's severe thunderstorms and flooding to see Delhi-6, the latest film by Rang da Basanti director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

Like Slumdog Millionaire, this fast-paced snapshot of Delhi has been taken to task for shining a mirror onto India's darker aspects - in this case caste and religious intolerance, dowry, misogyny and police brutality. It's got everything, including the Ramayana pageant, windbag politicians fanning the flames of intolerance, a cow giving birth in the street and a Hindu-Muslim riot.

It stars Abishek Bachchan as a US-born NRI (non-resident Indian) who accompanies his grandmother back to Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk neighborhood, where she wants to spend her dying days. Once there he meets quarreling relatives who are not pleased with his mixed Hindu-Muslim heritage, learns about "real" India and falls in love with the beautiful Sonam Kapoor (which of course he announces in English, rather than Hindi).

Abishek's character throws a monkey wrench into the community's age-old customs - whether her's handing a box of sweets to a Brahmin who's just stepped out of the loo, trying to help the sweeper woman carry her garbage, or telling a father he can't marry off his daughter without her consent. There's also a kaala bandar (black monkey) thrown into the mix, to represent fear and intolerance. The film moves fast, clocking in at 2:20, and doesn't pause to explain its references - which was rather refreshing but may be confusing to those who don't know much about India.

It costars the still-handsome Rishi Kapoor as Uncle Ali, and boasts a cameo by Big B, Amitabh Bachchan. Plus it begins and ends with a message that is basically the essence of yoga: All gods represent the same God, and inside each and every one of us there resides a small spark of the divine.

The soundtrack is by none other than two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, and can be heard here.

The wonderful but blurry video pasted below was worth the price of admission, and shows what would happen if Times Square were to relocate to Chandi Chowk - or vice-versa. If it did, I'd move there in a New York minute.

Delhi-6 runs through March 5 at Piper's Alley.

Thanks to Bindi for the head's-up on this one! Read her excellent review here.

1 comment:

  1. You want dark belly of India, check this out.

    Slumdog actor beaten by dad.

    THESE shocking images show Oscar winning Slumdog actor Azharuddin Mohammed receiving a vicious beating at the hands of his father.

    Only days after walking down the red carpet in Hollywood the ten-year-old film star was slapped and kicked by dad, Ismail, after refusing to be put on display like a trophy.

    One onlooker said: "It was like a scene out of Slumdog Millionaire."

    The lad's dad has since apologised for striking his son.

    “I was very sorry that I did what I did,” said the repentant father.

    “I was so confused and stressed by my son’s homecoming that I did not know myself for a minute. I love my boy and I am very happy to have him home.”

    The ugly scenes, which lasted no more than 30 seconds, broke out at around midday today Indian time in the Dharavi slum in Bandra, Mumbai.

    Azharuddin, who had been given a day off school, was tired after his long haul flight from LA and prolonged hero’s welcome amid a media scrum yesterday.

    And when he refused to be put on display outside his home this afternoon, his father lashed out, kicking and slapping him round the face.

    His mother cried out for him to stop, but Ismail continued to dish out the physical punishment to the child-star.

    Azharuddin stood up to his dad, flaring the temper of the 45-year-old, who launched himself at the lad shamelessly.

    Azharuddin yelped out as he tried to evade the older man's flailing hands and feet.

    He dashed into the tent that makes up his family home, followed by his father, where the young Slumdog star tried to cower in the corner.

    Azharuddin grabbed his face in pain and then ran off to cry.

    “Azharruddin’s father was upset that he was asking to be left alone because he was tired,” said one shocked onlooker.

    “He didn’t attend school today so that he could recover from his long flight from LA and simply wanted all the attention to stop.

    “However, when Azharuddin put his foot down and said that was it and there was to be no more talking, Ismail just flipped.

    “It was like a scene out of Slumdog Millionaire.”

    Talking only moments before his father’s attack, Azharuddin spoke of his tiredness due to the long flight.

    “I do not want to speak today to any reporters,” he said.