Of Bollywood's new-found love for NRIs and Delhi
What is common between Abhishek Bachchan, Abhay Deol and Aftab Shivdasani? First, their names start with the letter A. Second, in their recent releases they play NRIs. And last but not the least, the character played by each of them chooses Delhi as his final destination.
Picture this. In his just released Delhi-6, Abhishek plays a quintessential NRI who has never been to India but becomes so fascinated with the country, its culture and its people that in spite of being caught in a communal row he is willing to stay put in his ancestral land.
"I could easily connect to my character of Roshan since I had myself spent 12 years abroad in a different culture. I know how it is to feel like an outsider," Abhishek was quoted as saying.
In Dev D, Abhay Deol comfortably slipped into the by-lanes of Paharganj and even rented a dingy single room apartment.
As Dev, he had spent a considerable amount of time abroad where he was forcibly packed off for further studies. But the moment he stepped back in India and lost his girlfriend Paro to someone else, it was destination Delhi for him.
"Paro lived in Delhi and Dev followed. It's a different matter though that it was a journey into hell for Dev as he got sucked deeper and deeper into the world of drugs and liquor. Anurag (Kashyap) was extremely successful in showing that side of Delhi which many filmmakers dared not venture into. The whole psychedelic visuals of the by-lanes of Delhi were meant to frighten yet excite audiences," said Abhay.
It isn't as dark and depressing though for Aftab Shivdasani who plays an NRI in forthcoming feel-good romantic entertainer "Aloo Chaat".
"I return to India, Delhi to be precise, with my girlfriend. I wish to get married to her. Most of the film has been shot in Delhi," said Aftab, who has been paired opposite Aamna Shariff and American actress Linda Arsenio in the film.
It isn't just Hindi films where NRIs are returning to their country. In Punjabi film Munde U.K. De, Jimmy Sheirgill plays a guy who returns from Britain to Punjab and is surprised by the culture shift.
"It is bound to happen for someone who has seen his country of origin years back. But then in my film, we are not making this a serious issue. It is light-hearted and looks at the comic side of affairs," said Jimmy.
Akshay Kumar was also shown as a Delhi guy in Chandni Chowk To China.
There are other films on the anvil where Bollywood heroes have shot in Delhi for a long duration. They may not be playing NRIs but are nevertheless shown as hard core Delhiwallahs.
This includes Saif Ali Khan in Love Aaj Kal with Deepika Padukone and in an untitled film with Kareena Kapoor. Joining the bandwagon are Hurman S. Baweja in It's My Life with Genelia D'Souza and Emraan Hashmi in Raftaar - 24X7 with Neha Dhupia.