It's hard for me to sum up how I feel about Delhi as a city without being poetic, so here goes nothing. As I first stepped out of the air-conditioned chill of the tireless airport as a sixth-grader, I just knew this city would have my heart forever, from the moment I first set eyes on it. An ordinary road and unfamiliar faces, swirling dust and sweltering heat, I was fazed by none of it. I just knew I was going to have a great time in Delhi.
Cut to 12 years later, I can conclude that indeed, I've had a great time. But at the moment, my great times in Delhi are on pause, as are yours if you're a resident of the national capital. The lockdown restrictions might have been somewhat relaxed, but we all know it's going to be a while before we can freely roam the streets of Delhi again, stopping for nothing but momos. Luckily for us Indians, there's this brilliant publicly available teleportation device called Bollywood, that can take us through an entire country in 2 delightful hours.
But for now, we'll go with the ones that let me explore my favourite city. Whether you've been missing life in Delhi to the point of dreaming about travelling in the metro, or even if you just can't wait to resume your weekend nights at Khan Market, here are 5 Bollywood movies based on Delhi you need to watch for a quick "gedi"!
1. Rang De Basanti
I doubt there will ever come a time I won't wholeheartedly recommend this movie to anybody and everybody. Especially now that a global health pandemic is increasingly making us rethink our definition of freedom, there isn't a better time to watch this Delhi-based Bollywood film. Rang De Basanti is to be blamed for a lot of the unrealistic expectations we all walked out of our school gates with, about how exciting life at Delhi University is. But even if none of us ended up raising our hand in a salute, while drifting around India Gate with our friends, there's no denying how beautifully this movie captured the vibrant, forever-young-at-heart spirit of the national capital.
Image Courtesy - Upperstall
2. Delhi Belly
If you like your movies gritty, and the film plot at close quarters with reality, this is the ideal Delhi-based Bollywood movie for you. The film is honest and hilarious, only overreaching occasionally and in ways that are amusing nonetheless. Yes, the movie went on to become infamous and attracted its fair share of critics, but this suggestion is about what's running in the background of the plot. The characters live their story on the narrow, over-crowded streets of Delhi, bustling with life and traffic in equal measure. This Delhi-based film is perfect to revisit some of your favourite classic spots in the city, and just generally feel nostalgic.
Image Courtesy - Slant Magazine
This film gained commercial popularity because of its colourful characters, but right now the city it's based on is why we want to re-watch it. Fukrey shows you all that there is to life in Delhi, both the things you fondly remember and the ones you're glad to be momentarily away from. From campus experience at Delhi University to the congested bylanes of East Delhi, this movie aptly captures the essence of living in our national capital as a broke college student. It will also take you back to the Delhi you knew growing up, with its scenes of kids playing cricket in the streets and adults frolicking from balconies.
Image Courtesy - The Indian Express
4. Band Baaja Baarat
For instant and intense Delhi "feels", this is the Bollywood movie that takes the cake. I don't know where to get started, but everything about this movie can be best described as "that's so Delhi", right from the personalities of the lead characters, to the problems they encounter. It's also interesting to watch two people from the modest neighbourhoods of West Delhi, make their way to becoming a successful wedding-planning business duo in the posh localities of South Delhi. Relatable is an understatement.
Image Courtesy -The Hindu
5. Delhi 6
Of course, the movie name, which stands for the postal code of old Delhi, speaks for itself. Ideal for a serious trip down memory lane, Delhi 6 comes with an interesting plotline, and some beautiful imagery of the famous historic spots in Purani Dilli, including Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid and Red Fort, along with several nostalgic nooks and crannies from this rustic part of the city. It paints a wonderful, as well as an accurate picture of the frenetic lives of people residing in Delhi 6, along with bringing to us the famous song lyric, "Yeh shehar nahi, mehfil hai". What can I say, it's cheesy but it's true.
Image Courtesy - Upperstall
"But do you think CP remembers ME?"