DELHI 6 tells the story of a young American boy Roshan [Abhishek Bachchan] of Indian origin, who comes to India for the first time, to drop his ailing grandmother [Waheeda Rehman]. She wants to retire and spend the last leg of her life back home; dissolving into the soil she was born in.
In America, having led a very western lifestyle, Roshan is not familiar with the sites and smells, the food and culture, the religion and beliefs, this huge melting pot that India is. He believes that Dadi had left her family and loved ones back in America, only to realize that how wrong he was.
The warmth and affection of the neighbourhood embraces him with open arms. Amidst all this he meets the beautiful Bittu [Sonam Kapoor], who wants to break free from the typical Indian social structure, to whom Roshan is destined to lose his heart.
That Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is an accomplished storyteller is evident in several individualistic scenes. Note the scene when Vijay Raaz slaps Abhishek and Abhishek slaps him back. Also, portions in the second hour, when a Baba [Akhilendra Mishra] triggers off the Mandir-Masjid talk and divides the two communities, is very well structured. The sequences are disturbing and the writers and director succeed in exposing the fickle-minded people residing in the locality.
But the screenplay isn't foolproof. The romantic track is the weakest link in the enterprise. The love story falls flat. Also, the ending is so abstract that an average moviegoer would find it difficult to comprehend what the actual culmination is. The sequence in the end, when Amitabh and Abhishek have a conversation, looks weird. In fact, ridiculous. What was the need to have this sequence? It makes no sense. Even the Ram Leela sequences, interspersed at regular intervals, are forced in the screenplay.
Rakeysh's handling of the subject is exemplary at places. But the writing [faulty at times] as also the execution of the material isn't the type that would appeal to all sections of moviegoers. A.R. Rahman's music is outstanding; it's easily amongst his finest works. 'Masakali', 'Ye Dilli Hai Mere Yaar', 'Rehna Tu', 'Maula' and 'Genda Phool' are amazing tracks. Ditto for Prasoon Joshi's lyrics; they're gems. Binod Pradhan's cinematography is brilliant. Watch the Jama Masjid sequence [breath-taking] or the camera movements in the bylanes of old Delhi. Just one word to describe the output: Incredible!
Abhishek doesn't work. Also, his American accent looks fake. Sonam is likable. Waheeda Rahman enacts her part well. Rishi Kapoor is wasted. He deserved a better role. Amongst supporting actors, Om Puri [powerful], Pawan Malhotra [flawless], Vijay Raaz [tremendous], Deepak Dobriyal [genuine], Divya Dutta [admirable] and Cyrus Sahukar [likable] leave a mark.
Prem Chopra is alright. Atul Kulkarni looks like a buffoon. And what is Raghvir Yadav doing in this film? Supriya Pathak, Tanvi Azmi, K.K. Raina, Akhilendra Mishra and Dayashanker Pandey are passable. Amitabh Bachchan's presence in the penultimate minutes fails to evoke any reaction.
On the whole, DELHI 6 has a terribly boring beginning [first hour], an absorbing middle [second half] and a weak end [climax]. At the box-office, the business is bound to be divided. The film may record bountiful collections at multiplexes in its opening weekend. The popular music as also the fact that there's no major opposition will benefit the film in the initial days. But the business at single screens as also the mass belt will be a shocking contrast. However, the cracks will start appearing sooner than expected, even at plexes. Thumbs down!