Chalo Dilli: A tale of two opposites


25 Mar 2011
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Producer: Lara Dutta, Krishika Lulla, Kavita Bhupathi Chadda.
Director: Shashant Shah.
Cast: Vinay Pathak, Lara Dutta, Akshay Kumar (Guest).

MUMBAI: Opposites don't necessarily attract, especially if they happen to be Lara Dutta and Vinay Pathak. However, if these two are stuck in the middle of nowhere on a chilly winter night, what they do is create some funny situations.

Vinay Pathak is a gutkha chewing Karol Bagh, Delhi sari merchant for whom the whole world is a spittoon, and Lara Dutta, a no nonsense corporate honcho. Vinay Pathak's philosophy in life is, 'So what's the big deal' while Lara Dutta is a spic and span, immaculate one for whom only one kind of world exists - her kind, where she makes the rules.

Fate brings these two together when Lara is on her way to Mumbai airport to catch a flight to Delhi when otherwise street smart Vinay spills his travelling bag all over the road while attempting to get it in to a rickshaw, blocking Lara's passage. Having missed her flight as a result, she ends up on the same budget flight with Vinay. This Delhi bound flight is diverted to Jaipur and Lara is left to fend for herself, find her own way to Delhi by whichever means; Vinay happens to latch on to her.

From then on, Lara, the woman who otherwise controls multi crore funding operations and 650 workers, loses control over her life; Vinay Pathak takes the lead. Vinay's quest for finding instant solutions to problems and tricky situations tends to lend him in trouble, pulling Lara Dutta along; what is more, his solutions to get out of them get them into more trouble.

No, there is no romance between the stranded two, it is all bhaisaab and Bhneji; Vinay's antics and sweet talking, and his bonding, be it with a truck driver or a fellow passenger. While Vinay is unperturbed, Lara is exasperated. If you think the fun is over or it should end if it is not over yet, there is this sonnet like turn in the story as the film ends on a touching note and showing the cause of 'So what's the big deal' ideology of Vinay Pathak aka Manu Gupta.

The film is a Vinay Pathak show all the way who seems to possess a natural feel for such characters and he does it with conviction with Lara Dutta proving to be a perfect foil. Yana Gupta's item number and Akshay Kumar's guest appearance help as good distractions. The photography is good. Dialogue is earthy and witty. Music is okay. Direction is praiseworthy, what with holding a film together with mostly two characters in your frame.

A victim of poor release strategy, Chalo Dilli will sadly end up getting only good word of mouth, not returns. Hopefully, it will score better on video circuit.
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