Delhi Belly was the “cool” movie 10 years ago. But does it still hold?
Ten years ago, when Delhi Belly hit theaters, it left urban youth in awe. It was the movie they wanted to see when Bollywood introduced them to Ready and Bodyguard. While Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara gave them an ambitious tour of Spain, Delhi Belly gave them a glimpse of how “cool” could be interpreted in Hindi cinema. This director Abhinay Deo’s syntax felt closer to the urban youth of 2011 and was something they really wanted to identify with, instead of the hype. dialogue-baazi they entered Singham which had stormed the nation.
Starring Imran Khan, Vir Das, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Vijay Raaz, Poorna Jagannathan and Shenaz Treasury, Delhi Belly was written by Akshat Verma and produced by Aamir Khan at a time when Imran was the promising future hero, despite Luck and I Hate Luv. Storys, and Vijay was best known for it kauwa biryani much lesser known scene in the race. The film was probably a stimulus vehicle for Imran but it was Vijay who flew with it.
Delhi Belly memes are still a part of our cultural zeitgeist, but what was it about that movie that appealed to audiences at the time? And does it still hold?
To recap, Delhi Belly is a comedy of errors where a bundle of diamonds gets delivered to the wrong place and the gangsters who own the diamonds start to prey on anyone who might have the bundle. Enter the characters of Imran, Vir and Kunal who are accidental bystanders of this mess but now must find a way to outrun the gangster and stay alive. Poorna Jagannathan and Shenaz Treasury are also in the game.
One of the biggest positives of Delhi Belly was its music. Ram Sampath’s excellent and catchy tunes may have created some controversy (along with Bhaag DK Bose) but tracks like Bedardi Raja, I Hate You Like I Love You and Switty Tera Pyaar are so catchy and fit into the movie perfectly.
The film’s dialogue was another of his controversial points. Traditionalists believed swear words were unnecessary, but young people called it colloquial. Living in an OTT era where some of the shows’ dialogue isn’t even half as sanitary, Delhi Belly’s dialogue doesn’t seem objectionable at all today, but it does seem extremely forced. Most expletives feel like they’ve been forcefully added to the “cool quotient” and the manufacturers probably could have removed most of them.
As far as its comedic appeal, the film doesn’t seem as humorous as the first time around. Nitin and Sonia’s prolonged diarrhea gag being too stupid to be a mule can be laugh-worthy moments, but the impact isn’t as strong anymore.
Looking back, it looks like Aamir Khan produced this film to reinvigorate Imran’s career and kept his promises. Imran was really impressive here and it was evident that he was able to do a lot more if he perhaps had chosen topics that weren’t as traditional as his other roles. In fact, it was perhaps the best film of his short acting career, which makes us think that in another era, with different choices, Imran would probably have found his calling as an actor.
Watching Delhi Belly in 2021 doesn’t leave you in awe and this is mainly because the mainstream Hindi film industry no longer only plays in the traditional gallery and we watch more of these experimental films nowadays. Of course, there are stereotypical hero-centric movies out there today as well, but with the emergence of OTT platforms and ever-changing movie rules, Delhi Belly seems like a movie that has likely encouraged others to dive into a territory that was not as accepted at the time.
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