Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Chalo Dilli…are we there yet?
Think “Jab We Met” or last year’s “Road, Movie”. Shashant Shah’s “Chalo Dilli”, starring Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak uses the oldest cliché in the book – that of two entirely opposite personalities thrown together on a difficult journey.
Lara Dutta plays one of the those characters – Mihika Banerjee, an uptight, snobbish CEO, who wants only the best in life and has no tolerance for anyone who doesn’t live up to her exacting standards.
Thanks to a missed flight announcement, she finds herself in a rickety car, in the middle of a deserted highway with Manu Gupta, a gregarious saree shop owner from old Delhi.
As the unlikely pair tries to make it safely from Jaipur to Delhi, they face many disasters, encounter several memorable moments, including a shootout at a rundown police station, a shady hotel a la “Jab We Met” and a gang war.
Director Shah does inject some doses of humour into the film, and there are times when you will find yourself laughing. The film’s length is just under 2 hours, but it seems longer, because several of the situations are stretched and don’t seem plausible. It’s just Jaipur-Delhi, you think to yourself, it shouldn’t be this hard.
Also, the two leads try too hard to fit into their characters. Lara Dutta tries to marry the hoity-toity act with the oh-I’m-totally-changed-after-this-journey one, and fails. Vinay Pathak tries to be too outgoing and loud and doesn’t leave with you with a lasting impression.
The twist in the end seems a tad too manipulative and designed to squeeze a tear or two out of the audience.
“Chalo Dilli” isn’t entirely bad though. If you are looking for some laughs and don’t mind having to endure Lara Dutta’s half-baked English accent, perhaps you might give it a go.