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Review: 'Delhi-6'

A strong score (with a 'Slumdog' pedigree) and absorbing thematic elements make the film a solid entry point for novices of Indian cinema.

February 24, 2009|Michael Ordona

Anchored by a fascinating score from Oscar winner A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire"), naturalistic performances and a wide cinematic palette, "Delhi-6" is a fair introduction to Indian cinema for outsiders -- who will have no clue at times why the audience is laughing.

American-born Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) takes his ailing grandmother back to her old neighborhood in Delhi (the title refers to a postal code) and falls in love with the city and its people -- in particular the gorgeous daughter (Sonam Kapoor) of his grandmother's neighbors. Meanwhile, an apparent monster terrorizes the town, stoking tensions between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

And those are just some of the movie's elements. Several stories go unresolved, and perhaps the most interesting thread -- involving the still-present caste system -- doesn't fully integrate into the film's tapestry. Still, the songs and score are memorable, and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has a deep bag of cinematic tricks to illuminate the distinct patterns, such as flights into Hindu mythology or a dream sequence blending New York and Delhi.

For the uninitiated, watching "Delhi-6" in a packed house can be surprising, as when a wise old uncle who purchased his beloved's home after she left tells Roshan: "Tell her you love her -- or you'll end up buying empty houses like me."

That got the biggest laugh of the night. Go figure.

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'Delhi-6'

MPAA rating: Unrated

Running time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Playing: In selected theaters

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