Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Delhi Belly: You need to have the stomach for it
Abhinay Deo’s “Delhi Belly” isn’t your average Bollywood film. For one, it can hardly be called a Bollywood film, because the primary language isn’t Hindi, it’s English. Like most Bollywood films, this is also not a “family film”.
All those cuss words and toilet humour would be tough to endure with your parents or kids sitting next to you — with friends, it might be funny though.
And there is plenty of toilet humour and cuss words. The story, about three room-mates caught in the middle of a cross-fire thanks to a misunderstanding involving a cache of diamonds and a stool sample, is peppered with plenty of smart one-liners, spoken in the language of the demographic we call new India.
Imran Khan plays Tashi, a journalist who lives with two friends in the most run-down, filthiest room you could imagine with two room-mates — Arup, a cartoonist and Nitin, a freelance photographer, whose desire to eat some tandoori chicken off the street leads to a bad case of the Delhi Belly and sets the chain of events in motion.
As a result, a chunk of the film involves shots of Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapur) straining himself on a toilet accompanied by all kinds of sounds. I don’t know why this toilet humour should be funny if we find the same kind of toilet humour in an Anees Baazmee film repelling. After a while it gets to you.
That apart, the script is a strong one, and writer Akshat Varma manages to keep you engaged in his story. There is a sub-plot of a romance between Tashi and a spunky journalist played by actress Poorna Jagannathan, which is interesting.
To narrate any more of the story would be unfair to the film. This is more about the journey than the destination. There are several memorable characters in the film, including the trio’s landlord, and Vijay Raaz, who plays the crook hunting down the trio.
Of the performances, Raaz and Jagannathan impress, standing out among the others. Imran Khan is subdued, but effective and Vir Das brings just the right degree of sarcasm to his funny dialogues, making you laugh out loud.
After the disastrous “Game”, director Abhinay Deo redeems himself somewhat. This isn’t a brilliant film, but it is one that will make you laugh and enjoy the ride. If you can get past all the shit, that is.