CHALO DILLI is as unpretentious as one can get in the world of Bollywood Cinema. There are no glamorous promos, or a star cast to boast about; the director is perhaps a new entrant and the production house that has made this movie was making its debut with this. Added to this is the fact that the music (an important component of a Bollywood venture) has been handled by someone who is new to the scene; and of course, there are no Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan songs which have become the hallmark of the new gen multiplex oriented movies.
In these days of anglicized titles for Bollywood productions, CHALO DILLI could have been renamed “Let’s go to Delhi” or something similar in the hands of a Bollywood marketing strategist or a numerological advisor may have suggested that the addition of another D or L in the title to give it the tweaked appearance. The slickness associated with even arty movies of today is also absent. The lead pair does not share a romantic Pyar Mohabbat relationship: to underline this point, they address each other as Bhai Saab and Behenji!! We even come to know of their names towards the end of the movie!!
With so many things absent, one may have begun to wonder as to what is actually present in this presentation. Could it be a children’s movie? Could it be a macabre ghost story? Could it be a political drama? Could it be a murder mystery or a crime drama?
Well, CHALO DILLI is an honest attempt at presenting one of the freshest comedies that one has seen in recent times. Unfortunately, thanks to recent efforts attempting to pass off buffoonery, double entendre and jokes with sexual innuendos or crude mimicry as comedy, even this word has achieved a tainted reputation. CHALO DILLI attempts a clean-up operation of sorts and shows us as how a comedy can be woven without all these ingredients; in addition it also beautifully encapsulates the eternal philosophical guideline for living happily: Change what you can and accept gracefully what you can’t!
CHALO DILLI is a story of two players thrown together in the same scene by a string of accidents, most of which are far removed from reality (in fact, the construction of the accidents is perhaps the only and weakest part of the movie), but the focus is not on the accidents; it is built on the reactions and responses by these two players when they are confronted by these happenings. And that is the cornerstone of its success. In the role of a small time Delhi businessman from Chandni Chowk, Vinay Pathak excels in displaying his “No Big Deal” attitude with his loud and innocent boisterousness. I can think of no other actor who could have fitted into this role so snugly. Lara Dutta, whose presence thus far on the screen has been restricted to wearing restrictive dresses, surprisingly delivers an equally commendable performance as the Mumbai based up market investment banker, who has lived life in an isolated capsule and bereft of feelings. And hats off to her for having the courage to present this heartwarming story as the maiden venture of her production house. Everyone else does the job right, but Shashant Shah as the director should get the topmost credit! This is a must-see movie!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5