This equation may certainly include much more!
So, I have joined the bandwagon on all of the buzz about Delhi Belly. The movie was overall quite entertaining, and even though I am not particularly angry at the boundaries it over steps, I could not help but be a little shocked simply because I never watched a Bollywood film with so much scatological humor and blunt sexuality (though this sexuality is also overstated because most of it is presented in an awkwardly playful manner of words rather than a straight up soft or hard pornographic scene). Still, I loved these elements, but I obviously do not plan to watch the movie with my parents. I think I will let them have their issues with this one (i.e. calling it batameezi, literally meaning tomfoolery, I think), while I secretly laugh away. However, I know they would be laughing at the pooping scenes. I don’t care what age you are, it is still funny and I can recall many moments when my family members would giggle while I was dueling with my bowels for 30 minutes the first weeks of arriving to Pakistan.
Without spoiling the movie too much, I list the 4 awesome aspects of the movie, and the one downside of it.
Before that, here’s quick overview of the story without giving too much of the movie away: There are three guys living together, Tashi (Imran Khan), Nitin (Kunal Roy Kapoor), and Arup (Vir Das). They are all pretty laid back guys, all with different issues. Tashi is a journalist sick of his lame assignments and Nitin is a photojournalist who especially likes to photograph dead people. Arup is a cartoonist who hates his boss tremendously. Tashi has a girlfriend named Sonia (Shenaz Treasuryvala), who is quite bubbly and in general always nagging him to clean himself up more. Anyway, Sonia decides to deliver a package for a friend of a friend, but this package obviously is not any package because it carries something pretty darn important and is supposed to go to a smuggling ring. She does not know this, so gives it to Tashi, but then the package is passed off to Nitin, and then to Arup and somehow a mix-up occurs and the smuggling ring leader, Somayajulu (Vijay Raaz), is not too happy about this. As a result, Sonia and the three guys are in deep shit (haha deep shit – read below to understand) and need to get the right package to Somayajulu. Hence, the movie details their journey to basically not get killed and the crazy ways in which they do so. I will not say anymore than this because that would be no fun, and seeing it for yourself would help you appreciate each scene.
Awesomeness is embodied in:
1.) The Dialogues
Perhaps the dirtiest dialogues I have ever heard in my life of Bollywood, but in a good way. The movie was a fair amount in English, but there was certainly a good amount of Hindi too. Most of the Hindi seemed to come from the “elders” in the film, while the youngsters bragged their cursing abilities in English.
Anyway, I have to say that I have not seen many reviews talking about the dialogues and performance of Vijay Raaz. Funny Indian Lady and I were quite amused by his performance as a gang ring leader with his stupid supporting goons. I suppose every comedy gang leader needs stupid goons, otherwise what would be the point? From the way he sarcastically admonishes his goons for saying something stupid or the way he makes deals, it is nice to see a funny villain.
There is also quite an appreciation for the slang. For a Hindi speaker who still has a lot of trouble understanding vernacular and slang, the movie was almost a 101 for Delhi slang, and this I enjoyed very much. For some this may display vulgarity, but perhaps such slang (including the curse words) gave some realism to the story. Come on, do you imagine a smuggling ring talking in formal Hindi or a group of bachelor guys with nonchalant attitudes also speaking the same way?
2.) The Scatological Humor
So, Nitin gets diarrhea from food poisoning (which the movie shows how that food was poisoned and it was pretty darn nasty), and call me completely immature, but I couldn’t help but laugh every time. I felt like a 7-year-old kid singing the “Somebody Farted Pee You” song because any sound of a fart made me laugh. However, it was not just the sound but the fact that at every climactic moment of the film Nitin’s stomach rumbles, and he has to “take care of business” then and there. It is this toilet humor that not only starts the conflict of the story, but keeps it going. While everybody is running away, Nitin is still stuck dropping a deuce.
Even the entire mess that the guys find themselves in has to do with Nitin’s diarrhea, which is what makes the situation even more hilarious. And if you have watched the movie trailer where the kid says “Dear Tauji, we are all very sorry that bullet hit your bum. We hope you that you soon go poti on your own.” (see 1:37 in the first video of this post) Poti in Hindi means poop, by the way. Just wanted to throw it out there if it is not obvious.
3.) The Ridiculous Music Numbers and General Soundtrack
So we all know Bagh DK Bhose. It’s the famous number seen in the previews with the three main characters in band form and scenes of the movie, but what about the others?
One song that I enjoyed very much: Jaa Chudail. So let me give you some context of this song, so you understand just what it means. Skip over in this uncut trailer to 0:48, where says “She gave me a blow job” (to which he also adds that he is a “21st century [Indian] man” returning the favor).
So, he is referring to the girl who breaks up with him to marry her dimwit Canadian fiancée chosen for her by her parents. He is at her house, and after finding out, stands heartbroken, but suddenly daydreams himself singing this song.
Nevertheless, the theatrics are hilarious, making fun of those crazy sound effects in Indian Soap Operas (here is a video as a reference of what I mean. Just watch the first few seconds). Usually the sound effects come when someone says something very shocking. It was quite overdramatized in the film to create the parody effect:
Overall, what appealed to me was that there was a maintenance of Bollywood extravagance, with a major touch of playfulness, which I liked the most. And this was portrayed at the end of the film with Amir Khan’s number I hate you (like I love you). Watch the movie to understand why I have put it in parentheses (or brackets, as said in India) like that.
Additionally, when I say there were some touches of Pulp Fiction, I would say they were felt with some of the background music, especially the way the movie begins with the song, Saigal Blues (for your listening pleasure below). I actually find this music quite soothing, but at the same time I hear a sense of old-style longing poetry juxtaposed with a very realistic and glum background. For some reason, it reminded me of Quentin Tarantino musical style in his movies, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill (sorry, I am going to use what may seem culturally relevant to me). Some may disagree with me about this, but I would say that is what I was reminded of mostly because of this use of old vocals (like out of a song in the 60s or our parents generation). A synonymous song that I can think of would be Bang Bang (he shot me down) by Nancy Sinatra in the Kill Bill Soundtrack (also for your listening pleasure below).
4.) The characters
The characters of Tashi, Nitin, and Arup were phenomenal. Their “careless” and “go with the flow” style made them a great trio. Arup was that character for which I had the sympathy of saying, “Poor bastard”. What I mean by this is that he always got screwed over first, and was probably the most paranoid character on top of it. Tashi, well first there was the “OMG Imran Khan is such a hottie” part, but as a character he was the serious one (and he can kiss too! Yay!). Nitin was the sarcastic and “shararti” (literally meaning devilish) one, always scheming or making side comments in every situation. However, he also had this teddy bear side to him when he calls Tashi a “lucky bastard” for having someone that loves him.
I also really enjoyed Meneka’s character, played by Poorna Jagannathan, who is actually an American-born Desi (represent!). She had that “wild child” feel to her which is not often portrayed in Bollywood films, or if it is I find that it is too fake or overdone. Sonia’s character was quite superficial, but nevertheless she was good at it, and there were plenty of camera zoom-ins on her hotness (i.e. boobs).
1.) Delhi looked like Crap in This Film
Wow, so my vision of Delhi was very much romantic – until Delhi Belly. I guess it was warranted though. I needed to snap out of it. Still, this was probably the only downside, and totally worth downplaying. Critics complained that this movie could have taken place in any city, which may very well be true. However, how does that even matter? The city was not even a main part of the movie’s focus.
Additionally, the area of Delhi in which the three “stooges” lived was in the gross parts of Delhi, but rather than see it as “eww, why film it there”, I would say it was almost a statement of the universal broke-ness that comes with being a young and upcoming professional. It was appropriate to the characters and the situation, and in many ways gave us a better sense of their mindsets and position in life. When we are young, we are able to deal with crappy apartments and noise because, well, we have to.
And I suppose such youth also includes a good make-out scene of Tashi kissing Meneka in a moving car 🙂
Honestly, I could pretend myself to be a critic of “refined” taste, overanalyzing everything and being disappointed by the little things, but I was happy to watch the movie without having to do that. The actors certainly tried something new that has shown how this generation of young Bollywood actors will distinguish themselves. I still don’t think the elders will respect it much, but it reveals yet again that not everything in India is simply made for mass appeal anymore.
It may be cliché to say this, but Amir Khan really has done it again. He has once again gotten audiences out of their shells and experimented with new ideas with no fear of the consequences! A genius director can do well in different modes of film. We have seen Amir be quite serious with films like Rang de Basanti or even Dhobi Ghat, but we have also seen him build up his love for serious issues and mature plots through humor with Three Idiots, Peepli Live, and now Delhi Belly. This, in a way helps his movies become more marketable to the masses and argue against the common notion that everybody watches Bollywood to escape reality. It also proves that escaping reality does not have to be complete withdrawal from it. It can also be finding ways to laugh at it.
Now, stop reading this post and go watch the film already! Sheesh! No, but seriously thanks for reading!