‘Nothing’ happens in the film for the first 100 minutes or so. That’s right Mr. Mehra, you just lost the Indian audiences right then and there. We don’t care about movies being a ‘collection of moments’, doesn’t matter how meticulously honest they are, or how deeply they cut through. Moments don’t make a film, a coherent narrative does and we just don’t have the patience to sit through the never-ending boredom! A ‘Ready’ or a ‘Golmaal’ will win because even if the story is practically nonexistent, the characters are loud enough to entertain us and they fill our mouth stuffing spoonful of information, more than what we can chew and then more and further more. And yes, we won’t gag or feel breathless, and we won’t even spit it out, because what we are chewing on is delicious, and not raw and bitter like Delhi 6. And what’s more, it won’t even give you indigestion, because no matter how stale and way past its expiry date it is, the taste counts, just that! And our digestion system, well, who cares, we Indians are all mostly bloated anyways, in our head, and what, sensibilities?
You made a film called Delhi 6 and let me tell you sir, it tastes like a damn old peg of Chivas Regal, it’s bitter and burns our insides, but the aftertaste is highly addictive which takes the senses on a wild ride and don’t even let me start on the hangover, that refuses to subside until you let your taste buds have a taste of, yes you got it right, fried stale plate of hot delicious curry that makes our taste-buds dance into the rain once again, or around the lush valleys of the European countryside. We Indians are shamelessly habitual of downright rejecting the films that strip us naked right to our souls and show us the mirrors, and quite literally in case of Delhi 6, am I right sir? You followed a mega success like Rang De Basanti with this ‘boredom’ of a film, and thought you’d get away with it! How lazy of you, damn! And again, how dare you overestimate us Indians by giving such a soulful, masterfully crafted film?
I know all about ‘Aks’. Have seen it twice, and shall I dare say, it kicked me right into my guts, repeatedly with each viewing. The tattooed Vijay Raaz in the bath tub, an insane Manoj Bajpayee, a brilliant Amitabh sir and the hottest I have seen of my childhood crush, Raveena Tandon! That film wasn’t worth watching and yet, I couldn’t stop obsessing over it for weeks! Why you do that to me? Rang De Basanti was different, it was colourful, had a fine storyline, had ample doses of humour, pretty faces, and to top it all, it had Aamir Khan! It had to work! But now, let’s imagine having an Abhishek, or an Abhay Deol in place of Mr. Khan. How would that have gone? Just the thought of it sends shivers down my spine. We love our (super)stars, sir. We do!
What haunts me to this date is the image of Mamdu, a small time halwai sobbing in Roshan’s arms, shouting in fury at Pavan Malhotra’s Jaigopal, right after the riots claim the warmth they shared with each other.