In defence of Delhi Belly

Or rather, the post should be titled "Why I saw the same Delhi Belly that everyone else did". This post is sort of in response to a review of the movie by Greatbong on his DNA India column: Did I see the same Delhi Belly as others did?

So let me begin with what I do agree with him about, in terms of the movie (or its shortcomings thereof). All of these, for sure:
No, I did not find putting a “b****c***” every few words and the generally endless stream of unimaginative profanities (save the one about the car) to be a sign of Hindi cinema’s newfound boldness and maturity. I cringed every time we were asked to believe that Imran Khan, who looks like he spent half his life in a beauty parlor, is actually a down-on-his-luck, unwashed and filthy bachelor who lives in a dingy apartment with his slacker friends. I find nothing progressive and gritty in actually showing people toiling over a toilet bowl.

But what I do find funny is the fact that there is a fat slob of a guy who goes to potty and has to resort to orange juice when the water runs out. I am not 13 (although some may debate that), but I laughed nonetheless. Had it been Kader Khan would it have been funny? Hell yes - even imagining his face as he realizes there is no water makes me smile. But you have to admit, the guy who played the role (Kunaal Roy Kapoor) makes it equally funny! I don't care if it was branded indie or alternate, I just happened to like the movie. Now, Greatbong has a point when he says it was marketed well (or rather, branded well) as a "cool", "attitude" or "edgy" film where if you don't see the clothes, it is you who is not worthy (a.k.a. the new Emperor's new clothes syndrome). I consider myself immune from this particular infection for just this movie simply because I went into the theater with just two adjectives about the movie in my head, "gross" and "funny" - didn't know anything else about it.

Now, what was good about the movie for me? For one, the comic timing and the situational comedy. The sense of urgency when the three protagonists are running from the cops in the middle of a big bazaar. My favourite scene by far was the one where the gangsters get hold of the air hostess from Singapore Airlines (Shenaz Treasurywala) and then do the countdown with a fake gun to her head and she just runs off in the middle of a tense countdown; in a fashion that would have made Ronen Sen proud! The movie is fast, the comic situations are well paced and there are no songs that seem out of place.

The bad: well, the script is a bit recycled and predictable, the character portrayals are cliched, and even the big-name-drop style "Guy Ritchesque" mixup of two bottles is very predictable. However, why does the mixup need to be attributed to a foreign director (except savvy marketing, of course)? Wouldn't we have come up with a similar idea? And yes, Aamir Khan trying to do the 80's spoof in the end while the credits were rolling was a rip-off as well. It reminded me more of Tom Cruise at the ending credits of Tropic Thunder, and is perhaps a trailer to the next movie coming up starring Aamir Khan? And yes, the "spontaneous" love-making scenes might be out of my idea of contemporary India, but hey - that's just me!

Overall, therefore - no I don't think the movie is trash and is indeed a good and funny movie. And yes, this is nothing visionary or such crap.

Comments

  1. I haven't seen this movie (and I rarely ever watch movies anyway), but I can understand your point of view; indeed I relate to that feeling. I always consider movies as entertainment first and everything else can take a hike. Actually I feel that there's no need to even explain why you like a movie. It just vibes well with your present mood or more generally your personality.

    I have always found watching the serious movies a chore. Even on TV, I change channels when it becomes too heavy. Lightweight and fluffy are just fine.

    I think these "gritty" and "realistic" movies are the fashion of the day. In Tamil especially, of late, this style is in fashion. I feel it's a waste trying to copy real life. Most movie watchers don't want a slice of reality all over again. What we want is fun and entertainment.

    And for those who love gritty reality, there are always documentaries or semi-documentaries and those have the advantage of not being spiced up or needlessly dramatized.

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