Business rating: 1.5 stars
Star cast: Lara Dutta, Vinay Pathak, Akshay Kumar (special appearance), Yana Gupta (special appearance).
What’s Good: Some comic punches and dialogues; the songs; the performances.
What’s Bad: The drama appears to be too stretched; there’s no consistency in the behaviour of Lara’s character.
Verdict: Chalo Dilli is for select multiplexes in the cities only.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or Not? Watch it for the comedy.
Eros International, Big Daddy Productions and Bheegi Basanti Entertainment’s Chalo Dilli (UA) is a road movie about the journey of Mihika Banerjee (Lara Dutta) and Manu Gupta (Vinay Pathak) from Jaipur to Delhi. Mihika is a rich merchant banker who is on a flight from Bombay to Delhi. On the same flight is Manu Gupta who is a Delhi-based saree shop owner. He thinks he is street-smart, which he is to an extent. But the prim and proper Mihika finds him crass, crude and repulsive, what with his tobacco-chewing, spitting, burping and other down-market habits.
The flight lands at Jaipur airport due to a problem at Delhi airport. Circumstances force Mihika and Manu to travel in the same taxi from Jaipur to Delhi. The taxi driver, who hasn’t slept for many hours, drives dangerously because of which Manu takes the driver’s seat. An error in judgement has Manu taking the wrong route. To make matters worse, the taxi breaks down, compelling Mihika and Manu to travel in a truck for a while. Forced to eat food in an unhygienic dhaba, Mihika is now losing her patience at what seems to be the most difficult journey. She is constantly in touch with her husband on the telephone and keeps telling him not to worry as she would soon reach Delhi.
After dining at the dhaba, Manu goes to fetch their luggage from the taxi and ends up returning with only his. Anyway, the two have to brave it out still more and have to even travel by train and book a room in a shady hotel in a small town to spend the night. Curfew is announced in the town, making it impossible for them to get out of there. On top of all this, their pockets have been pick- ed so that they have no money on them.
In tears, Mihika now asks her husband to come and fetch her. The husband (Akshay Kumar in a special appearance) braves the curfew and reaches Mihika. The couple drops Manu Gupta near his home in Chandni Chowk and proceeds home. But Mihika returns to Manu’s house before reaching her own house, to extend him an invitation for her birthday party the next day. What Mihika sees in Manu’s house moves her to tears and also makes her realise why he doesn’t take anything seriously in life.
Story and Screenplay – Chalo Dilli Review
Arshad Syed’s story is interesting only in parts where it is laced with comedy. However, his screenplay has been stretched so much that it loses charm after a point. The audience wonders why Mihika couldn’t have called her husband the first time she encountered a problem and why she had to go through all that she went through, when money was not a problem for her.
Mihika’s behaviour towards Manu seems weird after a point of time because she is not sure whether his crass habits are what she should look down upon or his golden heart is what she should appreciate. Manu going to fetch their luggage from the broken-down cab seems to be a forced twist in the tale. What’s more, Manu returning with only his luggage while forgetting her suitcase seems to be rather unbelievable. Again, the entire hotel episode (fight between two persons) looks forced and that incident leading to a curfew in the town looks too far-fetched to be true. The climax is heart-warming and emotional although it may not go well with the rest of the comic drama.Even the comedy is enjoyable in parts only. Dialogues (Arshad Syed) are witty at places and ordinary at others.
Star Performances – Chalo Dilli Review
Lara Dutta does well for a good part of the film but goes overboard in portions, especially when the drama gets too farcical. Vinay Pathak is extremely natural but fails to make Manu Gupta an endearing character, thanks also in no small measure to the script. Akshay Kumar adds star value in a special appearance but his scenes seem to have been taken in a hurry. Yana Gupta’s raunchy dance on the ‘Laila main laila’ song (remixed) is for the masses and the front-benchers.Brijendra Kala is lovely. Rahul Singh, Mukesh Bhatt, Teddy Maurya, Gaurav Gera, Navratan Bain (as cabbie), Dadiraaj Pandey (truck driver), Vishwanath Chatterjee, Pari- neeta and Manoj Bakshi lend the required support.
Direction and Music – Chalo Dilli Review
Shashant Shah’s direction is okay. He manages to engage the audience upto a point, after which the drama and his repetitive narrative style fail to entertain enough. Of the songs, the ‘Matargashtiya’ number (composed by Anand Raaj Anand) is the best. The title track (Gourav Dasgupta) is also enjoyable. Nikos Andritsakis’ cinematography is nice. Editing (Aseem Sinha) is appropriate.
The Last Word
On the whole, Chalo Dilli is an entertainer but with limited appeal. It will remain an ordinary fare at the box-office.