Abhinay Deo's amiable urban comedy thriller "Delhi Belly" has more crossover appeal than many Bollywood productions. It's primarily in English, and it runs just 103 minutes, brief for Indian movies. Akshat Verma's script is imaginative and funny, the film's stars are engaging and "Delhi Belly" adds up to pleasing escapist fare.
Tashi (Imran Khan), Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapur) and Arup (Vir Das) are three pals sharing a truly squalid New Delhi flat and struggling to get ahead. Handsome Tashi is a journalist who often works with Nitin, a shaggy, rotund photographer; Arup is a cartoonist whose boss is a pompous numskull.
At the New Delhi airport a smuggler mistakes Soniya (Shenaz Treasurywala), Tashi's airhead nouveau riche fiancée, for his contact, asking her to deliver a package that happens to contain 30 magnificent diamonds. She agrees, then casually asks someone else to do the task. In no time the three friends are targeted by a suitably cold-blooded criminal and his gang.
Although there are moments when Deo might have had a lighter touch, writer-assistant director Verma provides a steady and amusing flow of complications with Nitin's attack of Delhi Belly — food poisoning — proving an earthy running gag. The trio are a pretty amoral group in the face of the harsher realities of New Delhi life, but a subplot involving Nitin's attempt at blackmailing a hapless neighbor has a happy ending.
"Delhi Belly." No MPAA rating. In English and Hindi with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 43 minutes. At selected theaters.