Films | FILM – Chalo Dilli

FILM – Chalo Dilli

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on April 29, 2011 | No Comments

FILM – Chalo Dilli
PRODUCER – Krishika Lulla, Lara Dutta, Kavita Bhupathi Chadda
DIRECTOR – Shashant Shah
WRITER – Arshad Syed
CAST – Vinay Pathak, Lara Dutta, Akshay Kumar.
MUSIC – Gourov Dasgupta, Anand Raj Anand, Sachin Gupta, Rohit Kulkarni, Roshan Balu

Road movies are fantastic genres for story-telling. It is an open format with immense potential to play with and pack in as much as you want. (The format itself does half the job of engagement). The makers of ‘Chalo Dilli’ take this invitation to heart and pack in everything from humour, to drama to melodrama.

Mihika Mukherjee (Lara Dutta) is a hot-shot investment banker, the head of a multi-crore company. She is the prototype of a young achiever, smart, sharp, punctilious and listed as one of the most powerful women in the corporate world. Manu Gupta (Vinay Pathak) is a middle-class Joe, a cloth merchant from Old Dilli. Gregarious and large-hearted who wears his heart on his sleeve. Both are on their way to Delhi but circumstances force them off-route. A series of follow-up mishaps add to their misery, combining their journey together. The unlikely travel companions have no option but to continue together on a fateless trail. Will they reach Delhi in one piece?

Shashant Shah tells this story with quirk, humour and a lot of feel-goodness. Through train-n-truck journeys, road-side dhabas, early morning sunrises and broken down cars the film travels into the heart of North India going close to the men of earth, the locals personified as ‘genuine’ and ‘real’ in Manu’s character.

Both are taking this journey together but it is Mihika who comes out as a new person from it. Her realisations border on letting loose and living life a bit freely directly addressing urban problems. Although, the soul of the film is in its place, it expresses itself with redundant situations and stereotypical characterisations. Needless to say the lessons Mihika learns become stereotypical too and renders the film simply feel good.

Lara Dutta’s upper class power woman tries hard to not fall into a pre-set mould but see-saws in dictionary definitions of urban women, their issues and underlying identity. Manu’s character seems to speak for an entire populist notion that middle class, so-called ‘unpolished’ people are the ones with the real heart and life. Although the performances of both display are startling conviction and control, the stereotypical characterisation leaves nothing but a sense of déjà vu of having seen hundreds of stories like this.

Akshay Kumar makes a special appearance and takes away some more from the tightness of the film and it is rather to do with the inclusion of his character and resultant story than the star himself. Maybe it is the feel good-ness that is the undoing or the template characters which fall into stereotypes even when trying hard not to, the film’s lack is not in its heart.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

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