Sunday, July 3, 2011

Imran Khan Week: Delhi Belly (2011)

Continuing Imran Week, we come to what was supposed to be the highlight of the week (that has been less than expected because of certain bloggers' slowness; they swear posts are still coming). Well, it's unlikely to be quite so climatic as we predicted, so this is likely to be brief.

So, I don't know what we expected from Delhi Belly, even knowing it was rated R, but let's just say we were all a mix of over and underwhelmed.

Even after hearing that the language of the film is rather colorful, our poor ears were quite offended. We read that the Hindi version was "less offensive" and we probably should have seen that one. (We weren't in love with the idea of an English-language film in the first place for many reasons.) There's an obnoxious amount of F-bombs in this film. An obnoxious, awkwardly placed amount. The number of times that F was forcefully crammed into the dialogue detracted from everything else. The sex scenes were also mostly just awkward and nothing but that. Both the vulgar dialogue and the vulgar sexual stuff just felt like the film was trying too too hard to be edgy.

The film also has a lot of lead-in that's just obnoxious language and bathroom humor. Seriously, I sat through the first 45 minutes of the film wondering if anything was ever going to happen and where the humor was outside of the bathroom. (And if the bathroom humor could even be called humor; we usually find a certain amount of that hilarious [see: yours truly laughed at every single pee joke in Ready] but this... didn't make us laugh.)

For a stretch, once the plot got kicked into gear, it was really moving along. There was less cussing, more of substance happening and more actual subtle humor that drew laughs.



We appreciated getting to stare at Imran, who was looking mighty fine and mighty scruffy. We weren't overwhelmed by this performance from him, though, even if it's nice to see him branch out a little bit. But maybe branching isn't necessarily a good thing: He mostly felt like he wasn't a fit for the role.

And for a film with a premise essentially based on bromance, there was surprisingly little palpable bromance (compared with other great male-trio films like 3 Idiots, Dil Chahta Hai and even kind of Thank You). And there was also not nearly enough chemistry flowing between Imran and Poorna Jagannathan to win us over. (And for that matter, I was kind of annoyed with the idea that wealthy, prissy Soniya was so in love with the idea of marrying Tashi, who was basically a slob fruitlessly chasing a serious journalist's career.)


Oh, and as a journalist, I have an ever-increasing thing about the portrayal of journalists in film (sleazebags or crusaders; most of us are neither) and this one SUPREMELY bothered me. It's a horrible representation of our profession, way of life and codes of conduct (for example no self-respecting newspaper would let a journalist who went through all of that personally and committed crimes, etc., in the process write an article, especially of that magnitude, due to conflicts of interest). Oh, and on the note of Tashi being a slob, journalists are often known for being a bit lax, but anyone chasing the career of "serious" journalism doesn't seriously pursue it being a slob. (Another note being that I hate the stereotype of the writer pursuing being a "serious" journalist; most reporters honestly aren't like that and being a "serious" reporter is essentially a soul-sucking job.)

I've been told this film is a realistic portrayal of Delhite bachelorhood, which is perhaps a way of ripping the glimmering "Bollywood" sheen off of things. But then, to me, this begs the question... Is a comedy really the way to go with that? If you're trying to make a serious point, make a serious point.

Honestly, this was the best part of the film for us. (Also randomly note that we rather enjoyed the music.)

And we'll end it, like the film, with Aamir.

And on a note of things to come, despite our disappointment with Delhi Belly, Imran week should continue. Papaya and Kiwi promise me their posts are in the works and will be done around Monday. We'll see how that goes.

6 comments:

  1. I am sorry that you guys did not enjoy the film that much........ :)

    coz I watched it in a theatre here in america today with loads of other indian people and we loved the film....

    the indian english too was spot on..... it did not seem forced or contrived.

    and I am pretty sure that the hindi dubbed version would not have the same effect.

    Cheers!

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  2. I can tell you from what I hear that the Hindi version was no less offensive in its own right. I enjoyed bits of the film, but agree the constant use of the language was unnecessary and the bathroom humor especially I found very disgusting.

    If you want to see a Hindi film with an interesting take on the profession of journalism, I'd suggest you see 'Page 3'. Some of it will bother you too, but the protagonist is strong as ever and has some support. I thought the film was quite well done.

    Also, have you seen No One Killed Jessica yet?

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  3. @anonymous, whomever you may be: We four American girls saw it in a theater with only four Indian guys there as the rest of the audience. When we emerged from the theater, the four guys had a good laugh at us, but I don't think they particularly enjoyed it either. We never heard them laugh at the movie. So hopefully we weren't the only ones less than enchanted.

    @tBF Interesting. I had just read beforehand that the Hindi version was described as being "less offensive." Interesting to know that it's not.

    I'll be on the lookout for "Page 3"... It seems Netflix doesn't have it (story of my life).

    And I haven't seen No One Killed Jessica yet, but I have seen trailers and it's on my queue. As is Rann. I'm always on the hunt for good journalism movies with them being so few and far between (State of Play and the 1940s flick His Girl Friday are some of the only good ones I've seen). Honestly I could probably run a whole other blog about the portrayal of journalists on-screen.

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  4. Don't know why I haven't seen Rann yet. I bought a copy, and it's lying around here somewhere! :(

    I left work a little early before the long weekend and saw it with a couple friends in the late afternoon. There were about 30 or so people there, I'd say 75:25 men:women. The only bit that prompted unanimous laughter was when they were trying to reclaim the diamonds toward the end.

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  5. This blog is awesome! Reading the reviews from you 3 pretty ladies out here is like watching a movie all over again but with a different context. And that of course is like watching a whole new movie.

    Now getting more specifically to this post- I saw Delhi Belly yesterday in Delhi and sort of hated it. Apart from the language, which mostly has a mock-shock value for the mainstream releases here, the film has hardly any distinction.

    Loved the 'Disco fighter' craziness (The Aamir Khan cameo) though. If you liked that, you may also want to check out the awesome spoof take on Bollywood 'Om Shanti Om'. Same creator. Though, despite your obviously good knowledge about Bollywood, I do wonder how much sense would a spoof make to you guys. It may be like watching, say, Shaun of the Dead without having seen the conventional Zombie movies.

    Anyway, it was fun exploring this blog. Will look forward to more :)

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  6. @tBF Hmm. Yeah, I'd definitely say it was more of a men's movie, and the humor may have been more directed toward that. But honestly, as much as I enjoy a good chick flick, I'm not a real girly-girl and even often enjoy "manly" movies (awesome cars and guns and scifi and things that go boom FTW!). I don't know. Delhi Belly was all just a little much.

    @Saiba

    Aww, thank you! :)

    That's kind of true. I find it hard to remember distinct qualities of Delhi Belly apart from the language. Grunge is the only other thing I can think of.

    Yeah, see, I have a million reasons TO see Om Shanti Om (the references, my beloved SRK, the adoration it's earned from everyone else) but I'm also reluctant to because I don't mesh with the whole reincarnation thing. But yeah, even though I (and my fellow bloggers) am fairly new to Bollywood, I've seen enough (50+ films and counting) and read enough to understand most spoof references. :)

    Thanks for reading. :)

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