Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. This 1998 Guy Ritchie flick is considered a text book, for believers, in adapting, making slice of life movies with crime as its basic premise. In more common parlance, it is like taking Life in a Metro and setting it in the world of Satya. The result, will be something, unexpected and till it happens, unbelievable. Lock, Stock has inspired scores of films across the globe, Delhi Belly is today’s adaptation. NO, IT IS NOT A COPY! But you can’t help think of Lock, Stock during viewing Delhi Belly. Just like you will think of The Godfather while watching any organized crime movie!
3 roommates, Tashi (Imran Khan), Arup (Vir Das) & Nitin (Kunal Roy Kapoor) lead a dilapidated life in Delhi, residing in a flat where insects seem to be having a feast. Tashi’s fiancée Sonia (Shehnaz Treasury, yup, the ‘wala’ is no more), an airhostess, asks him to do an errand, which due to Nitin’s, Delhi Belly, gets messed up by Arup. Yup, you reading right.
Add to this, Menaka (Poorna Jagannath), Tashi’s new colleague, in an attempt to ‘loosen’ him up, lands him in a party brawl with her soon to be divorced husband, Rahul (Rahul Singh). Also, due to Nitin’s belly problems, now a gang of diamond smugglers are also, knocking at their door step. Too many subplots, you ask? Well there is also the infidel landlord Manikchand (Paresh Ganatra) but, then I give away too much.
Delhi Belly, is not in creating a shock value for the sake of it. This is no change by Aamir Khan for the sake of change. This is a completely earnest effort by the producer, the perfectionist, to present a story, A VERY WELL WRITTEN, NOT PERFECT STORY by the writer and Associate Director of the film, LA based Akshat Verma. The true masters of this film are the writer and the editor, Huzefa Lokhandwala. If the film waited for more than a couple of years at the editing table, it was well worth the effort. Huzefa Lokhandwala does not let you rest for a minute, thanks to the film’s slick editing.
Coupled with the taut screenplay, the Director, Abhinay Deo (Game, son of veteran actor Ramesh & Seema Deo) had his work very easily cut out. Trivia: this was Abhinay’s debut film. The film began shooting in 2008/2009, due to the time spent at the editing table, Game released first.
The humour is intelligent, very intelligent. No slap stick, spoon feeding here. The viewer is expected to use their grey cells throughout the film, as one twist after another keeps unfolding. The screenplay is so engaging, that at times you feel as helpless as the tridev on screen. The dialogues are colloquial, be it the reference to the solar eclipse or the instance when Sonia tells Tashi ‘you really need a shave’.
The film’s target audience is very well defined. The English speaking, mall visiting, not necessarily shopping, crowd that has a ‘beep ki beep’ as an answer for every situation. The film has a high dose of everything. It is high on toilet humour, high on expletives, high on sex, high on violence. But all of this is shown, not with the intention of just being different, but as I see it, more with the intention to push the envelope. I, for one, took some time to digest the photo journalist, haggling with the prostitute over her ‘price’ and then casually stuffing the money in her blouse and giving those assets a good squeeze!
Having said that, this is not, NOT, a film for the family loving audience. So please do not go with your ‘pappa, maasi, tauji’ to enjoy the new ‘Aamir Khan picture’ and pop’corn’! My guess is, you will not be able to digest it.
In terms of performances, the film has equal contributions from everyone. Be it Shehnaz, the ‘cuming’ of age, sexy airhostess, Paresh the good hearted infidel, or Rahul, the feet stomping ex husband. Brilliant in their parts. Vijay Raaz as the restrained ganglord is brilliant. Poorna, the TV actress from LA as Menaka again looks good and inspite of it being a guy flick, plays her part well.
But the film belongs to the chemistry between the 3 heroes. Imran (IHLS, Break Ke Baad) shows once again his prowess at comedy.
Vir Das (Badmaash Company) as the Bengali cartoonist is brilliant. The stand up comedian is hilarious in the entire wedding sequence and in his ‘negotiation’ with Vijay Raaz (No Problem). What makes him stand out is his impeccable comic timing. Be it his voice change or the water drinking episode at the jeweler’s.
But the scene stealer is Kunal Roy Kapoor (The President is Coming, Loins of Punjab Presents). The film’s narrative moves because of him and it is repeatedly due to his reactions, that your funny bone will keep getting tickled. You just wont know whether to laugh or cringe whenever he ‘lets one out’!
With Delhi as a mere backdrop and being the location merely because of the phrase, it is still shown beautifully. Not the usual Qutub Minar types. This is the ‘Bhendi Bazaar & Dharavi’ of Dilli, realistically shown.
The music by Ram Sampath has already burnt the charts and is extremely well in the film. Farah Khan’s choreography is excellent. Aamir’s cameo, once again shows the effort that the man puts in behind anything that he is associate with. After Peepli Live, this is another example of the man’s marketing genius.
The only negative thought that I carried out with me after the film was the fact that there has been a great amount of detailing in the film. Be it the ‘Suntara’ tetrapacks, Vijay’s horse shoe shaped diamond ring, or Poorna’s car. Then why did they shoot the burqa kissing scene in the car at Horniman Circle, Mumbai?
Delhi Belly is going to be a cult film in terms of its new age genre.