Movie Review: Delhi in a Day
A refreshing take on India’s noveau-riche
Director: Prashant Nair
Cast: Lilette Dubey, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Lee Williams, Anjali Patil
Rating: 4.5 / 5
'Delhi in a Day' is a brilliant portrayal of how the ‘posh and the nobody’ co-exist in a typical Delhi home in India. It is a satire on the moneyed and what is expected of the servants in their families.
The story begins with the Bhatia family in their big house and servants downstairs mocking their lifestyle. Mukund Bhatia played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Kalpana Bhatia portrayed brilliantly by Lillette Dubey, are the decision-makers of the family. The servants are asked to make preparations for the arrival of their new guest ‘Jaspar’ played by Welsh actor Lee Williams, who is an idealistic British traveler on his journey to discovering India.
The story beautifully shows the change in attitudes, the outthrust of uncanny emotions and the attempts to surpass a robbery that takes place in the house.
The film from this point, makes the middle-class churn in their seats and you wonder if this is how you treat the servants in your families.
The best components of 'Delhi in a Day' are the 4 extremely well filmed, aesthetically sound montages. The opening one, coupled with the French song 'Les toits de New Delhi', being the best!
The servants played by a team of outstanding actors – Dinesh Yadav (Udai Singh), Chhottu (Arjun Mallick), Anjali Yadav (Rohini) and Vidya Bhushan (Raghu) - take you through the perils of being nothing more than a house-hold help. Anjali Yadav deserves more than a standing ovation for her mermerizing eyes and intimate dialogue delivery.
Victor Banerjee however, captivates the audience with his impeccable voice and grace. Having the finest dialogues scripted to his pleasure, Banerjee delivers them impressively.
The interactions between Jaspar and Victor, who plays the sane and sophisticated ‘Nana’ in the Bhatia family leave you with goose bumps.
With an ending that couldn’t have been better, the only low notes of ‘Delhi in a Day’ are, one - a shaky cinematography sequence when Rohini and Jaspar interact on the road outside the Bhatia house and two - a stretched narrative sequence between Raghu and Rohini, whose futile attempts at raising the humungous amounts of money lost have failed.
With a realistic depiction of Indian homes – with no toilet paper, rib-cracking food-time conversations, Punjabi jokes, referring to people as ‘Chinki and Madarasi’ and saying the most unfeigned belief possible, "I love my country, but sometimes…”
Foreigners on their quest to rediscover India expect a land of spirituality, someplace authentic and colourful and spicy. ‘Delhi in a Day’ follows that journey into a place completely different where, ‘there are many India’s and many different Indians.’
Vidya Bhushan steals the show with his expressions and the film oscillates between teary and satirical towards the end.
With a lively star cast and stunning montages cinematographer Eun Ah Lee, keeps it simple and to the point! Editors Sylvie Landra and Bhuvan Srinivasan beautifully depict way more than the audience can grasp. The plot is so strong at its heart that moviegoers are definitely going to find themselves torn between squirming in their seats to being in awe of the new movie director, Prashant Nair. But what continues to make the film stand out is the outstanding dialogue deliveries and incomparable acting sequences by the servant league and the Bhatia seniors.
With a huge pat-on-the-back, ‘Delhi in a Day’ is a film that definitely deserves more eyeballs.