Delhi-6 is a Hindi film by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra; starring Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri, Waheeda Rahman, Rishi Kapoor, Atul Kulkarni, Deepak Dobriyal and Divya Dutta. The movie is reportedly based on Mehras growing up years in Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi. It is Mehras third movie after Aks and Rang De Basanti. The acclaimed score and soundtrack of the movie was composed by A. R. Rahman. The movie released on 20 February 2009 to a strong box office collection but faced generally mixed reception from critics.
Roshan [Abhishek Bachchan] accompanies his dying grandmother Annapurna [Waheeda Rahman] to their ancestral property in crowded Delhi. Roshan is initially stunned by the mad rush of various neighbors: Ali Baig [Rishi Kapoor] the renaissance man, feuding brothers Madangopal [Om Puri] and Jaigopal [Pavan Malhotra], their wives and families, Mamdu [Deepak Dobriyal] the halwai, Gobar [Atul Kulkarni] the simpleton, Sethji and many others. However, Roshan eventually warms to the place and wholeheartedly embraces the sense of community in it. He accompanies his grandmother to the Ramleelas, hangs out at Mamdus sweet stall, plays with the children, and gradually becomes steeped in the culture of the place.
Roshan is also slowly exposed to some sobering realities. When Annapurna faints [due to fluctuating blood sugar levels] and they scramble to get her to a hospital, he finds the roads choked by traffic because of an impromptu ceremony around a cow in labor; he is further surprised when his grandmother, despite her stupor, stumbles forth to seek the blessings of a sacred cow; and he is astounded when the local police seem to encourage the practice. Roshan begins to understand the feuds and social issues in the community. Madangopals sister Rama [Aditi Rao Hydari] is unwed [at an age when spinsterhood is a significant social no-no] and Jaigopals electrical business is going nowhere. The lecherous old local money lender Lala Bhairam [Prem Chopra] is married to a young girl who, in turn, is having an affair with a young photo-studio hand Suresh [Cyrus Sahukar]. Suresh is a double timer who is also pursuing Madangopals daughter Bittu [Sonam Kapoor]. Bittu secretly wants out of the stuck-in-time Old Delhi; she secretly prepares to audition for a popular reality show Indian Idol in the hope that she will win her way to Mumbai. Roshan comes to appreciate Ali Baigs cosmopolitan tastes and is surprised to learn that Ali Baig fancied his mother many years ago, and has since never married. And Roshan comes to empathize with the lower-caste trash collector girl Jalebi [Divya Dutta] who must endure untouchability at social functions except for when some of the brutish locals seek company. Roshan also crosses paths with the loutish inspector Ranvijay who blithely stretches his authorities to manhandle the locals, and becomes acquainted with the local assembly-woman who displays political power at every opportunity.
In the meantime, the news media is all abuzz with tales of a fearsome terror known only as the "Kala Bandar [The Black Monkey]". This miscreant [never shown clearly in the film] attacks people, steals various articles and has also caused the death of a few innocent people. [These deaths are mostly accidental, as in the example of a pregnant housewife who was supposedly startled by a silhouette and fell down a flight of stairs or the example of an unfortunate man who was briefly zapped by a live electric wire.] Nonetheless, the local news picks up on every move by the kala bandar and loudly blares about all his exploits. Jaigopal, the self-proclaimed electronics genius, theorizes that the kala bandar likely has an electrical circuit [to zap his victims] and may be electrocuted by water; this rumor is quickly propagated through the locality.
The film takes several turns. After some initial friction, Roshan and Bittu warm to each other. Roshan intervenes when Bittu is about to receive a prospective suitor arranged by Madangopal. He echoes Bittus desire to pursue other dreams; this drives the suitor away and brings Madangopals wrath upon him. He gradually begins to fall in love with Bittu, but is confused when Bittu expresses her affections for Suresh [she believes he will support her dreams]. Around this time, the kala bandar attacks Old Delhi. The simple-minded locals bring in a tantrik Shani baba to exorcize the demonic influence of the kala bandar. After an extended havan ceremony, the tantrik baba indicates that the local mosque, built over the ruins of a temple that was demolished for the purpose, is the provocation for the evil soul of the kala bandar. This promptly stokes animosity in the otherwise harmonious Hindu-Muslim community. After the initial peaceful demonstrations [by rallies and angry meetings], various mobs go on rampage and tear up some of the local streets.Mamdu sets fire to the tree temple. Roshan attempts to make peace, but is rebuffed because of his mixed religious parentage. The locals ultimately settle on the fact that the kala bandar is hiding out in the sooni galli [a dark lane known to harbor evil presences] and must be destroyed. They command the simpleton Gobar to fetch a lock of hair from the evil enemy so that the tantrik can burn it and complete the exorcism.
Roshan becomes aware of Bittus plan to elope with Suresh, and that Suresh is a low-life two timer. He dons a monkey mask and monkey outfit and stealthily follows Bittu by leaping across the rooftops. In the meantime Gobar ventures into the sooni galli where Jalebi gives him a lock of her hair so he may return in triumph and bring peace to the community. At that moment, Roshan [in his monkey outfit] intercedes in Bittu and Sureshs rendezvous and causes the cowardly Suresh to flee. Bittu raises a loud alarm before Roshan unmasks himself, Roshan tells Bittu he loves her where she also responds to his feelings,the two share a hug, whereupon the angry locals storm the place. Believing Roshan to be the kala bandar, they beat him to within an inch of his life and Mamdu shoots him. Then, Gobar comes up with a startling deduction about the reality of the kala bandar; that the kala bandar is in fact a problem residing inside the people of Delhi 6 and something that the people must defeat within themselves. In the end Roshan survives and marries Bittu.
The movie was supposed to be released on 13 February 2009, but A. R. Rahmans continued absence from the project led to a delay in the film getting released. The movies back ground score remained incomplete and hence a delay in release by one week. The movie finally released on 20 February 2009 and premiered in New Delhi on 19 February 2009. The movie had its first screening on 15 February 2009 in New York.
As of 11 March 2009, Rotten Tomatoes has given the film a 33% rating with 3 fresh and 6 rotten reviews. The average score is 3.3/10.
Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph gave two thumbs up to the film calling it a must-watch for just its "overwhelming audio-visual eruption". Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India rated the movie three out of five stars, saying, "Watch it for the message of Delhi 6 and the ekdum desi India-feel". Anupama Chopra of NDTV said that the film is a noble failure, "Delhi 6 is ambitious and well-intentioned, but good intentions don''t always translate into good cinema". Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave it 3 stars, saying that its a story with heart and Delhi 6 isnt great cinema like Mehras Rang De Basanti and has frustrating climax. Rachel Saltz of New York Times stated "Delhi 6 can be maddeningly vague, which robs its ending..of the impact it intends". Shashi Baliga of Hindustan Times gave the movie 3 out of 5 saying "Mehra sure has his heart in the right place. But couldn''t he have allowed himself. and us, a little more fun?"
However, Arthur J Pais of Rediff.com gave the movie a much better verdict remarking the movies innovative style and storyline. Amanda Sodhi posted an in-depth write-up about Delhi-6 on PassionForCinema.com, defending the film against flak it was receiving. On IMDB, Delhi-6 has a 6.8 out of 10 possible stars .
The movie was first unveiled on the Dubai International Film Festival. Following the screening was an interactive Question and Answer round, comprising of the director with the rest of starcast and a vast audience. During this interaction, Rakeysh spoke about his key influences and the theme of the film, while the films actors described their experience of working with Rakeysh. A video featuring Abhishek and Sonams interview can be watched in the reference along with this section. The official trailer for the movie was released on 4 January 2009 which featured scenes from Delhi along with Jama Masjid, theatre groups, Red Fort at night, Sonam Kapoor coming out of a public escalator at central park in delhi and finally Abhishek watching Sonam dancing with the pigeon "Masakalli" on her head.
Development and casting
In the early stages of development it was rumored that Rakeysh was going to cast newcomers for his next movie. It was even reported that Aamir Khans nephew Imran Khan would make his debut with this film, but this was later revealed to be Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Frequent changes in casting made headlines, with Hrithik Roshan being set to play the main character and then he being reportedly replaced by Ranbir Kapoor Even Akshay Kumar was supposed to play the lead, but refused. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra stated that Abhishek Bachchan was always the first choice for Delhi-6. Date problems for Abhishek Bachchan delayed the film, but it all worked out in the end with Abhishek portraying the lead actor in the film. Sonam Kapoor was paired as the leading female character opposite Abhishek Bachchan. Rishi Kapoor and Tanvi Azmi are also a part of the film. The film went on the floors 20 February 2009. Amitabh Bachchan plays the grandfather to Roshan, played by Abhishek Bachchan, whereas Waheeda Rahman plays the grandmother of the same. Gulshan Grover plays Abhishek Bachchans dad in the film. Editing for the film was done by Meghna Aschit and Rakeyshs wife Bharthi. In an interview Rakeysh said that he was not involved with the editing.
Box office performance
The movie, has grossed Rs 80 million on the day of its release and grossed Rs 330 million worldwide. Out of this the Indian share is Rs 275 million [Rs 27.50 crores]. In the UK, Delhi 6 grossed $160,000 in its first three days. The movie at the time of its release had the best opening of 2009, grossing around 30 crores overall so far. In India, the film put up strong first weekend numbers given the strong collections from the multiplexes and single screens in Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Baroda, Bangalore, Kanpur,Surat etc. Mumbai was relatively behind. In East Punjab, Delhi-6 had recorded around 1.3 crores net in 3 days. On the other hand, overseas in America, the film reported 90 screens to weekend collections of $602k gross. However, collections started to diminish as the week progressed and word-of-mouth review about the movie spread. Trade analysts said that the standard set by Rakeyshs previous film Rang De Basanti could not be attained by Delhi-6 given the diminishing collections as the week progressed.
Reports of "Kala Bandar [Black Monkey]" attacks in the city of Delhi as shown in the film are inspired by real reports of much publicized monkey or monkeyman attacks in and around Delhi in 2001.
Source : Delhi-6 Wiki Page