‘With Love, Delhi’: Juvenilia at its best (IANS Movie Review)

December 17th, 2011 - 12:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “With Love, Delhi”; Actors: Ashish Lal, Pariva Pranati, Tom Alter, Kiran Kumar;

Director: Nikhil Singh; Rating: *

Mithun Chakravarty’s film “Gunda” is a cult classic among IITians because it is so full of cliches and stretches them so much that it becomes a delightful watch. After many attempts, IITians have finally made a film - “With Love, Delhi” - that could have matched “Gunda’s” low standards.

Sadly, this one is so pretentiously serious that Bollywood would be proud they finally have an ‘English’ film made by ‘intelligent’ IITians to match their worst products.

After her father is kidnapped, Priyanka (Pariva Pranati) takes the help of her best friend Ashish Lal (Ashish Lal) to solve clues left by the kidnappers to try and save her father.

Yes, you laugh in the film but for all the wrong reasons. Like when the hero tells his girlfriend how she could lose two pounds immediately - by dropping all her clothes because that is ‘exactly’ how much they weigh. It has to be an IIT engineer doing such ‘precision’ writing.

The film does try to mask its lack by involving some good people like Tom Alter, Kiran Kumar, Seema Biswas and editor Namrata Rao. But bad dialogues mouthed by a guy with a heavy Bihari accent kills everything.

If the film was deliberately trying to make fun of English, it would have worked, but its seriousness prevents this little saving grace.

That brings us to the difficulty of making a decent film, especially by IITians who are famed for their intelligence. The trick is to first take stock of what one knows and what one doesn’t, try to better the already known and learn the remaining by watching films.

Another IITian, Kenny Basumatary, did just that to make “Local Kung Fu” for a mere Rs.95,000 - a film that undoubtedly has the best kung fu ever shot in India. That this bunch of intelligent IITians couldn’t do it even after spending Rs.4.25 crore is an insult to the IIT spirit. And that is where the other problem lies.

When IANS contacted one of the producers regarding the budget, he said: “We are just normal middle class guys.” If you know a little about India, you realise that Rs.4.5 crore is neither middle class nor normal. And that is where the politics of its making becomes clear.

The guy who plays the lead, Ashish Lal, who had the megalomania to call his character in the film Ashish Lal is the worst possible guy to essay the role. That he does so shows the brazenness of a rich, new India which does not care or respect the field they are entering, and thinks that money can compensate for any lacuna.

Sadly, it does not. The film will obviously be panned both critically and commercially. Thus everyone who has invested in it will lose faith. In future if some really talented filmmaker were to approach them, the once-burnt-twice-shy producers will show him or her the door.

In a country like India, where money for good films is hard to come by, “With Love, Delhi” ends up committing a great crime against cinema.

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