Cast: Imran Khan, Vir Das, Kunal Roy Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Shenaz Treasurywala, Poorna Jagganathan, Rahul Singh, Aamir Khan (special song appearance)
Director: Abhinay Deo
Delhi Belly is a cocky, pacy film that sets out to make us laugh hysterically and won’t stop at nothing. It abuses, sings a dirty song, farts, belches, lays out shit on a red velvet cloth, and it has a story. Sort of. Though the film’s basic premise and the craziness around it is inspired by Guy Ritchie’s Snatch, Delhi Belly’s characters and quirks are totally desi, its dialogue memorable and its humour clever and killing.
We are in Delhi, of course. But in the dirtiest, grottiest room somewhere in Old Delhi. This one-room-cum-toilet is infested with three boys, their leftover, rotting food and creepy-crawlies. There’s no water in the buckets or in the overhead flush, there’s a pesky landlord and a crumbling ceiling that’s continually threatened by a Kathak maharaj and his troupe.
This room is shared by journalist Tashi (Imran Khan), cartoonist Arup (Vir Das) and photographer Nitin (Kunal Roy Kapoor). Tashi has a girlfriend, airhostess Sonia (Shenaz Treasurywala), Arup too has a girlfriend but she dumps him soon, and Nitin has a voracious appetite for all things greasy and squishy.
Vladimir (Danish actor Kim Bodnia), a friend of Sonia’s friend, hands her a packet to be delivered to an address in Delhi. Unaware of what’s in it, she hands it to Tashi to deliver it, please na, jaanu.
But Tashi is on an assignment with his dishy colleague Menaka (Poorna Jagannathan) — to interview a pop singer and later to cover a murder, so he hands over the packet to Nitin. But Nitin has stuff to do — take pictures of his landlord with a prostitute and use them to scuttle rent. En route, he stops to buy fried chicken from a crotch-scratching vendor.
Pictures taken, prostitute obliged, the yucky red chicken pieces start acting up in his stomach. Nitin’s got what all expats know as Delhi Belly. On his rickety scooter he rushes home to take a dump, steals Arup’s orange juice to clean himself and then crumples up on his bed holding his stomach. He is too ill to deliver the packet and requests Arup to please do the needful, and since Arup is heading out, could he also please deposit Nitin’s stool sample at the local path lab.
Meanwhile, lots is happening. Tashi is ambushed, engaged and gifted a little red car by his in-laws. Though incredibly busy, he answers a late-night message by Menaka and ends up getting bashed up by her soon-to-be ex-husband. The landlord receives a blackmail note and Nitin, attacked by the overhead flush, is saved by the said landlord.
Also, Arup drops off both packets. But the contents of the packet that reaches the smuggler-gangster (Vijay Raaz) don’t please him one bit. He and his dimwit gangsters get to Vladimir’s hotel room to torture him with a bomb in his bum. The goondas soon figure where the packet is and land up in the boys’ dump. Boys are hung and bashed, they hand over the diamond and just as they are about to be shot, the ceiling collapses.
Diamonds are sold, bought, Sonia is kidnapped, rescued, there’s drama in burqas, lots of running, shooting, abuses, a romance and delirious situations.
SOME NERVE scriptwriter Akshat Verma and director Abhinay Deo have. Their Delhi Belly is a loud, rude fart in the face of squeamish Bollywood. It has contemporary contempt for all things past and a studied, cool arrogance about it. It flaunts hairy ass cracks, ungainly ladies of pleasure, uses the F-word (English) as all eight parts of speech, the C, G and L-word (Hindi) specifically as nouns and adjectives and casually throws in new varieties of profanities. It even has an oral sex scene and talks about it, an activity Bollywood is still in denial about.
But above all, the film is insanely funny. I was having so much fun that I almost fell out of my seat laughing. Delhi Belly has been crafted with love, care and a two-hoots attitude to prudes. It tumbles from one crazy accident to the next insane situation, all the while revelling in all bodily functions and juices. Its characters mouth crass dialogues and have serious street cred.
Delhi Belly stands firmly with the three boys, in their “cool” world. And every time the boys encounter the outside world, it’s through their sneering prism. There are pest-like ex-girlfriends and their moron grooms, stupid cops and retarded goondas, asinine bosses and cretinous ex-husbands. That’s the film’s conceit and everything is constructed around this. The boys, though bumbling and a bit pathetic, are nonchalant, bright and basically good-hearted. The girlfriend that needs dumping is a little dense and the one that needs to be acquired is uber cool. But all of this is delivered with super comic timing and lovely attention to detail – in characters, dialogue, even background music. The film’s soundtrack is wacky, fantastic and must-have.
There are two versions of Delhi Belly, English with Hindi and Hindi with English. I watched the English one and couldn’t quite figure how some of the dialogues (insults, mostly) would have worked when translated.
Director Deo, who gained an unkind reputation with Game, has redeemed himself with Delhi Belly. His film is worth more than one watch and I plan to see the Hindi version soon.
Imran Khan is the film’s hero and is very efficient. But he’s not the star of the show. Vijay Raaz upstages him with his hysterical lines delivered pokerfaced. Kunal Roy Kapoor has the crappiest scenes and lines and dishes it out with relish. I also really liked the Kathak maharaj and the goofy goon.