Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yeh Dilli hain mere yaar...

Dilwalon ke Dilli is not just a phrase made out of convenience. Delhi or Dilli (as it is called by localities), lies in the heart of India. It is the strategic location of the city that has made it the cultural and political capital of the country. If a balance between heart and mind rules a body then Delhi has always been used by the political minds to rule India. There is a good reason why Delhi has the highest number of archaeological monuments compared to any other city in the country, everyone who ruled the city wanted to leave their legacy.

Recently Delhi has found prominence among filmmakers as a favored destination to shoot movies. Indian film industry at one time was possessed with Mumbai for obvious reasons as the movie industry was based there and the mafia provided an exciting black, white and gray character shades to the stories. One of the earliest movies that I can remember based in Delhi was Chashme Badoor (its still one of the best comedies to watch) but Delhi of the 80s was all together a different city.

A scene from Chashme Badoor

The wide roads with hardly any traffic baring a few Ambassadors, Bajaj Chetaks and Rajdoots has been replaced by millions of cars, buses and bikes, rushing through the insane traffic of the city. But there is still something fascinating about the city that is attracting filmmakers, yet again, to explore the possibilities of the city.

Delhi is a melting pot of cultures from all over India. There is no other city in India that has embraced people from all walks of life. Mumbai maybe the cosmopolitan hub of India and Kolkatta the artistic hub but Delhi is a city that welcomed refugees from Pakistan after partition to recently attracting illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Although, people that most affected the city were the Punjabis that came from Pakistan after partition. Recently when I was listening to a podcast interview of celebrity-cook Madhur Jaffrey, she talked how the cuisine of the city changed after the Punjabis migrated to the city. Shahi Paneer and Butter Chicken which have become synonyms with the city were no where to be found during the 50s and it was the Punjabis that introduced paneer to the city. I clearly remember the first day we moved there from Dehradoon, Mom and myself decided to go and get the gas connection. The lady sitting on the counter was a South Indian and I may have asked "Gas connection ke liye apply karna tha" to which she replied "Uthee form peeya hain, uh bharke mainu de do". My jaws dropped after hearing her speak so fluently in Punjabi.

A scene from Delhi 6

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who captured the youth of Delhi so well in his last movie, Rang De Basanti, will be releasing his next venture Delhi 6 pretty soon. The promos of the movie shows a fascinating yet neglected part of Delhi, the Old Delhi - the Chandni chowk, the Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, the Sis Ganj Gurudwara, the Parathe waali gaali, the famous jalebis. This post is inspired by the images from the promos of Delhi 6, which took me back to my city, Dilwalon ke Dilli.


Blogger Chakoli said...

No doubt...delhi 6 would be some refreshing... :D :D

4:55 AM  
Blogger Rain Girl said...

this was such a nice, informative yet senti post. I, too cannot wait for the release of Delhi 6. :)

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Delhi is a hit with filmmakers..DELHI HEIGHTS, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA, AHISTA AHISTA, BLACK N WHITE, RDB, DELHI 6 and now Aamir's DELHI BELLY. (the list is endless)

I want to visit Delhi :)

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am waiting for Delhi6. I think all famous cities of the world have their own flavor, which can be grasped when you live in that city for some time.. its very difficult to know a city as a tourist. Even though my experience as a tourist was not very encouraging, I liked the old-world charm of the city. Movies based on Mumbai, are usually on terrorism or underworld, which has been overdone.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Looking forward to 'Delhi 6' but it surely just cannot compete with the fun thing called 'Chashme Badoor' I have NOT come across another such extremely funny yet touching romance movie based in Delhi! another one which comes close is based in Mumbai chawl 'Katha' jabardast.


7:16 AM  
Blogger Colors said...

Among the metro cities - Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta - Delhi's always been my favorite. I love its wide, clean roads and trees on the sides. Haven't seen much of the old Delhi though. Whenever I've been in Delhi, I've stayed in Chanakyapuri and I love the feel of the aristocracy there with all the embassies there. And my favorite shopping destination is Dilli Haat - which is a perfect example to showcase Delhi's melting pot culture.
I too am looking forward to Delhi 6....I hope it turns out to be worth the wait.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not visited any other Metro city India but OF Course Delhi/ Dilli :-). I stayed there 15 days :-) And I have many Khatti Mitthi memories. I've written about them and hopefully post them soon :-)

And of course I'm eagerly waiting for Delhi 6 :-)

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who is the actress in the movie delhi 6?

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have never been to delhi

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey ricks, i saw the movie, but it didn't meet my expectations.. first half was good but didnt like the 2nd half ..climax was silly :(

8:19 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

Chakoli - It was a decent movie but could have been better.

rain girl - Thanks !! Did your wait end?

Swats - Yea, you are right...Delhi is the new Mumbai. You should visit it, it has a life of its own :)

preeti - I agree with you on the point about living in the city to get its true flavor. I think I may one day write a post about the chalo-ness of Delhities...lol. My experience of visiting Mumbai was great except the food :P

1:11 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

Moonie - Chashme Badoor is a classic and Delhi 6 is no where near it. Katha is another of my favorite movie based in the Chawls of Mumbai.

Colors - Yea, the old part of the city is hard to reach but now since the Metro goes there it has become easier. We used to go there to buy books for college and eat jalebis :D Let me know what you thought of Delhi 6.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

Juneli - You also send me a book on Delhi, remember :)

tabs - Sonam Kapoor and she is the best part of the movie. You should visit Delhi sometime :)

preeti - I saw the movie too and my thoughts about the movie is similar to yours. Although, I loved the cinematography of the movie and how beautifully the old city was captured on celluloid.

1:19 AM  

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