July 9, 2011

Movie Review: Delhi Belly

Delhi Belly is a movie I initially overlooked. Not sure why but it just wasn't a title that jumped out to me. However, I kept coming back to it as I looked ore the releases that were playing and I decided to give it a shot. I am glad I did. It certainly is not the most original film I have seen. As a matter of fact the story plays out in such a fashion that here is really no surprises. What makes it worth seeing? Well, it is executed in fine fashion, it's funny, and provides a healthy dose of low brow humor.

The movie is very reminiscent of movies like Snatch and Lock, Sock, and Two Smoking Barrels. It involves crime, mistaken identity, toilet humor, chases, violence, comedy, and marriage. This is a movie that seems to want to revel in it's use of toilet jokes and potentially scandalous content, however, by Hollywood standards it is really rather tame. Still, there is a playful spirit a work here and it is hard not o have a little bit of fun with it.

To get an idea of where the humor level exists for the movie, one must look no further than the title. Delhi belly is a local term for, well, diarrhea. Believe it or not, this physical act is a driven force for he plot.

As the movie opens we are introduced to Sonia (Shenaz Treasury) who is receiving an unknown package from a Russian named Vladimir. Why she is doing his is never explained apart from a passing comment that she is doing it as a favor for a friend. She seems a little flighty and rather than do the job she said she would, she passes it off to her boyfriend, Tashi (Imran Khan), who in turn passes it to Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapur), who then gives it to Arup (Vir Das), along with a stool sample. Turns out Nitin has been afflicted with the titular ailment.

As you would guess, Arup gets the containers mixed up. He delivers the sample to the gangster, Somayajulu (Vijay Raaz), and the container with the illicit contents to the doctor's office. Once the mix up is discovered, the movie turns into a big chase wight he bad guys chasing our band of misfits, our stars chasing the diamonds, and everyone trying to avoid getting shot.

There are subplots involving the three blackmailing their landlord and Tashi's impending marriage to Sonia, which is complicated by the flirtatious Menaka (Poorna Jagannahan). They all add a little texture to the film.

Delhi Belly is an interesting movie. It is a Bollywood production but it is shot primarily I'm English, with just a small portion in Hindi. To me it seems like a movie hat was specifically made for the world market outside of India, perhaps as an offering to the world saying they are ready to compete on an international scale. Of course, I may just no know what I am talking about, I am almost completely unfamiliar with Bollywood films.

Still, plot familiarity aside, this is a movie that is a lot of fun. It is colorful and energetic and is set in a culture I know little about. I really enjoyed watching it play out, toilet humor and all. It is my understanding that the film attempts to be scandalous in its native country. I am no sure if it succeeds, but it does seem tame by American standards, for better or worse.

However you want to slice it, this is an entertaining movie that uses the familiar as a gateway into the new. Perfect? No, not by a long shot, but it is one thaw ill make you smile.


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