When you first see the title of director Abhinay Deo’s new Bollywood comedy Delhi Belly, you can’t help but think: oh god, am I about to watch a film about someone who is suffering from major bowel distrurbances due to their incapability of handling certain foreign foods? Well don’t worry, you’re not – well ok you are, but that’s not solely what the film is about. Trust us.
Delhi Belly revolves around three roommates – Tashi (Khan), who gets punched in the face by a crazy ex husband, Nitin (Kapur), who washes his arse with orange juice and Arup (Das), who lives in “banana hell” – who lead a lazy, debt-ridden life. The story really begins when Tashi’s girlfriend Sonia (Treasury) agrees to deliver a package for a man named Vladimir. Sonia then asks Tashi to deliver the package, who in turn asks Nitin to do so, who then asks Arup to do it, due to his unfortunate contraction of ‘Delhi Belly’. Finally, the mysterious package is handed to its owner, gangster Somayajulu (Raaz). However the plot thickens as it turns out that Arup mixed up the two bags he was supposed to deliver, one containing Somayajulu’s package and the other containing Nitin’s stool sample (EUGH!). What follows is a chaos filled, action-packed sequence of events – very similar to The Hangover – as the trio (and Tashi’s journalist friend Menaka (Jagannathan)) attempt to retrieve the package before their lives are finished.
Firstly, and most importantly, this film is funny! And as a comedy, that is what one would expect – so why weren’t we? When we stereotypically think of Bollywood, we think of cheesey scripts, overdoses of colour, lavish costumes and a song and a dance every five minutes. Not with Delhi Belly. This Bollywood film was surprisingly, well, Hollywood. Everything from settings to costumes, even hair and make-up, were completely toned down. The characters looked like downtrodden, miserable people and they only broke into song once – and that was purely down to a moment of pure frustration, however the disco and the Elvis outfit may have gone a tad too far. And that it why it was funny. We were able to focus more on the dialogue between the three roomies (which, by the way, was hilarious!)
What let the film down was the frequent, graphic sounds when Nitin went to the toilet. It was rather gross and presumably can only truly be appreciated if you are a teenage boy who’s still into fart and poo jokes. Also the music video at the end felt quite out of place and rather weird – however it did raise an urge to get up and bust some moves.
Now let’s be realistic here. The script isn’t gold, it’s not worthy of Shakespeare, and yes we have seen many films like this before – and most of the time they didn’t switch between languages. But despite all that Delhi Belly IS funny. It unearthed some chuckles, held interest, and didn’t feel like a waste of time or money, so on those grounds we suppose it was a success.