India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Chalo Dilli…are we there yet?

April 29, 2011

As a wise man once said, it is the journey that matters, not the destination, and that certainly holds true for most road-trip films.

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.

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