Monday, July 4, 2011

Delhi Belly - Average Fare

For all the hype about it, with reviewers falling over themselves to rate it as the funniest movie they have seen in years, 'Delhi Belly' failed to evoke many laughs for me. For the nth time I have fallen for the classic reviewer's con, and once again realised that reviewer's are human after all, they do get swayed by big names. It is not a bad film mind you, but it is not in the mould of greatness either. It, like I said, is average fare which probably suffers from the kind of promotion it got. It never lived up to its expectations for me.

Tashi, Nitin and Arup - journalist, photographer (both with Times of India Delhi I should think) and cartoonist - have no money to pay for their rent, live in complete squalor in a building that looks ready to crash, in an existence that only they seem to understand why. (What do they do with their salary? Or do they not get paid?) Tashi has a girl friend, an air hostess, who is conned into delivering a packet by a friend of hers. Now the girlfriend (I forget her name in the movie but its Shehnaz Treasury, earlier with a wala, but not anymore) walks into their room (wonder why she'd do that at an hour when the boys are still sleeping) hands over the packet to Tashi, asks him to deliver it someplace and disappears. In keeping with the general trend of dumbness and irresponsibility, Tashi hands over packet to Nitin, who subsequently falls for a bad case of Delhi Belly (an upset stomach thanks to a tandoori chicken he eats which has some unwanted masala), and hands over the packet to Arup to deliver, along with an identical packet of a sample of his stool. (Why make identical packets? When your whole existence is messy why pack up two brown packages?) No points for guessing what happens next but still - I will tell you because I know many don't get it still. The lab gets the mobsters packet, the mobsters get the stool sample!

Set up established, mobster and gang now starts chasing people for their packet and soon land up at the boys house, beat them up, string them up etc. But the young journos escape the mob with merchandise of course, and sell it off real quick. Obviously they are so dumb that they think the gang will let them live in peace after all this! The gang calls them and they need to hand back the merchandise again owing to Ms. Treasury being held hostage. Some regular, not so well-thought-of sequences later they all walk off happily ever after. For some reason they are not held by the cops, and they all end up with the loot, the money and even a new girl!

'Delhi Belly' wastes much promise. Several situations and threads are left unconvincingly handled, loosely left hanging. Save for some bathroom humour, gaalis and mobsters beating up people, it never rose over anything with a single original line of humour that gelled well, that called for a hearty laugh. The lines are okay, kind of flat, and not many laughs were elicited either. Why some characters keep flitting in and out meaninglessly, relationships happen and break, I could not understand. But it's Delhi Belly after all, and if you did not like the movie so much, you can feast your eyes on Aamir Khan doing an impression of some Disco King with Anusha DJ in short skirts (what was she doing in the movie, what was Aamir Khan doing in the movie?). Now even that did not work. The song Bhag DK Bose around which so much noise was made is good and catchy but my grouse is that it is used very little. And frankly when the gaalis of the world are being used, why could not the actors give a DK Bose gaali and make the song a natural in the movie?

The performances are good and nothing sticks out. Kunal Roy Kapoor reminded me so much of cricketer Yuvraj Singh in his mannerisms and his looks, and he carried off all the crappy scenes well. Imran Khan had little to do in terms of acting but what he got he did competently. Vir Das was fine and we should be seeing more of him. Go without any expectation and you'll enjoy it. But if you think you'll have a hilarious time and laugh on the floor, forget it. It's a decent, average attempt at what was a possibly great script. I'd put it somewhere between 3 and 3.25 and then take away 0.25 for wasting a great opportunity.

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