If ever there were a global poll on finding out which particular city specifically depicts the respective country of its location in a nutshell, our beloved Delhi would stand a great chance to finish right at the top. In India, there is not a single city that has seen the struggle and evolution of the whole nation more closely than Delhi has. It is a perfect juxtaposition of modern worldly desires and cultural richness. It has the old, it has the new. It saw the Mughal Dynasty, it saw the East India Company. It saw the Gandhis, it saw the Modis. While there may be a few other cities that could boast of being technologically or contemporarily more advanced, but Delhi’s abundant wealth in terms of history is what only Delhi can boast of. The city has played a pivotal character in the history of India in general, and hence it comes as no surprise that it has been the capital for centuries now.
Although its true flavour is esoterically complex, but there have actually been some forms of art that have nailed it with their depiction of the city. Today, we enlist the ten movies that have done justice to portraying Delhi how it actually is:
- Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! – This is it. This is the perfect portrayal of a city dominated by a species which likes to be more pompous than practical – Punjabis. Based purely out of the Tilak Nagar area in West Delhi, Lucky resonates with all of the city’s lower middle-class which gets intimidated by the apparently classier counterparts from South Delhi.
- Khosla Ka Ghosla – It’s actually amazing how Dibakar Banerjee, a Bengali, has probably been the only commercial Bollywood director to fathom Delhi’s layers to the fullest. Khosla Ka Ghosla depicts a middle-class Patel Nagar (West Delhi) Punjabi family’s aspirations & struggles to move to South Delhi in a seamless manner.
- Vicky Donor – The Punjabi-dominated area of South Delhi – Lajpat Nagar – plays an important character in this hilarious movie. In Lajpat Nagar, the houses are situated in close proximity and one can climb to another one’s terrace easily; Ayushman Khurana spends most of his time chilling on his terrace. The Punjabi Dadi is stereotypically brilliant too.
- Aloo Chaat – This Indie movie showcases such hidden elements of an orthodox Delhi household in a very charming manner. In most Punjabi families here, the thought of even having a firang for a daughter-in-law is a taboo, which is portrayed very well in this movie.
- Fukrey – From Delhi University to convoluted alleys of East Delhi, from Punjabis to Bengalis, from a Halwai to a pimp, Delhi plays a perfect backdrop to this extremely funny movie. It also depicts a type of Delhi University’s campus life well.
- Rang De Basanti – Probably the biggest movie to have ever shot in Delhi, Rang De Basanti is a poetry in motion with Delhi playing a major role in taking the story forward, albeit concealed. They make-did with Pragati Maidan as Delhi University which was fascinating. The way they just zoom off on their bikes to find all the food joints on GT Karnal Road is what Delhiites do often.
- Delhi-6 – Just as the name suggests, this movie is based out of the nook & corners of Old Delhi. Although the movie wasn’t great, but it still managed to showcase the frenetic lives of the people there well. “Ye Dilli hai mere yaar..bas ishq-mohabbat-pyaar.”
- Monsoon Wedding – Mira Nair’s movie got international recognition to the city by showing the complexities involved between two Delhi families going into an Indian marriage. The stereotypes showcased in the movie are so relatable that it’s scary, including a pedophilic not-blood-related uncle in the family, and women thronging the alleys of Chandni Chowk for trousseau shopping.
- Rockstar – Although Ranbir was the true protagonist of the movie, but the way he transforms from a naïve Delhi University student desperately in hunt of love to an international musician is a movie made straight from heart. Could only be managed by somebody who’s lived in Delhi all his life – Imtiaz Ali was a Delhi University student himself.
- Dev.D – The dark underbelly of Delhi was split wide open by Anurag Kashyap in this heroic conquest of a story told many a times earlier. Paharganj, Connaught Place, DTC buses, each of these was depicted beautifully. The cinematography does justice to the visual beauty of the city.
Have you got your own favourites apart from the ones in the list? Let us know.