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Chalo Dilli  : Yeh dilli door nahi
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Shashant Shah
Lara Dutta, Vinay Pathak
Two antithetical characters coming from antipodal civilizations and lifestyles, stumble upon one another in this journey of simple emotions and comedy of errors.

The plot: A convivial and gawky Manu Gupta (Vinay Pathak), unwittingly makes sophisticated, chic Mihika Banerjee (Lara Dutta) miss her flight, and encounters her on the next flight to Dilli. They have barely spoken to each other and she dislikes him already. He is rural, she is urban; he is ill-mannered, she   drips etiquette; he imposes himself on her, she is reluctant; he is ‘jokey’, she is snooty; he is a sari trader in Dilli and she is into banking and securities. One sort of knows how the expedition will turn out with destiny (read: a convenient/predictable script) bombarding them with accidents just to witness how each of them reacts to it differently. The flight lands at Jaipur due to some technical errors in Dilli. Mihika hires a car to the capital and just when she’s dealing with a drowsy, quarrelsome driver, irritating Manu Gupta comes to her rescue. More trouble ahead as Mihika and Manu journey together.

The good: It has a simplistic touch which makes it unadulterated and relatable. The humour is handled well with interesting dialogues (by Arshad Syed) peppering the clash of opinions and choices in any situation. Details like the multicoloured shirts of Manu and elegant attire of Mihika, help to visually set apart two different classes of people. The locations are well selected and give suave Mihika a taste of rural India. Missing the train, the two diametrically opposite characters, and the super-funny Red Tomato Palace hotel and its receptionist, remind you of Jab We Met. But then most road movies do tend to overlap at times. The gang wars and tanga rides take you into rustic India. The narration along with screenplay is smooth most of the way. The performances are real and Vinay Pathak is splendid in his role. The ending, thankfully, is not the banal expected one, where the co-passengers fall in love with each other. The way Manu influences Mihika’s behaviour by the end of the trip is understandable and Akshay Kumar’s cameo adds freshness to the escapade. The music by Gourov Dasgupta is rustic which is just the way it is supposed to be.

The bad: The twist and turns of this journey could have gone beyond the usual car breaking down in a jungle, running out of money, landing at a cheap hotel, losing luggage et al. Such predictability makes the journey which was supposed to be exciting and thrilling, humdrum and certain scenes like the one in the Red Tomato Palace hotel where Mihika asks Manu to call his wife look very abrupt. Crisper editing was required especially of overly emotional scenes. Ps: The re-mix of ‘Laila main Laila’ is atrocious and unnecessary. In fact the film would have been better without Yana Gupta’s gyrations.
– Pooja Thakkar

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