3 Stars (out of 4)
Fans of Slumdog Millionaire who’ve never seen a movie put out by the Indian film industry should check out Delhi-6. By including some of the same elements as the 2008 Best Picture Oscar winner — shots of crowded Indian streets and a pulsing soundtrack by A. R. Rahman — Delhi-6 is a great introduction to Bollywood.
Abhishek Bachchan plays American-born Roshan, who travels to India with his dying grandmother, so that she can spend her remaining days at her home in the Chandni Chowk neighborhood of Delhi. Roshan immerses himself in the unfamiliar culture of Chandni Chowk, where pregnant cows cause traffic jams and holy men are called in to catch criminals.
Just as Roshan starts to fall in love with Delhi (and a girl who lives there), he gets caught up in a series of misunderstandings that inflame previously dormant religious tensions between the neighborhood’s Hindus and Muslims.
Delhi-6 takes its time without ever feeling slow. Roshan’s position as an outsider makes him the perfect travel guide to his grandmother’s neighborhood, his ever-present camera phone proof that he’s an American. The movie doesn’t have any typical Bollywood dance numbers, but music permeates the film.
The Indian committee that selects the country’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category would be wise to consider nominating Delhi-6 for next year’s Academy Awards.