History = Mystery
Director: Nikhil Singh (Director) and Ashutosh Matela (Guest Director)
Cast & Crew: Ashish Lal (Introducing), Pariva Pranati (Introducing), Tom Alter, Seema Biswas & Kiran Kumar
Synopsis: Khanna, the biggest real estate developer in Delhi, is kidnapped by Ajay, who claims to be a historian. To rescue Khanna, his daughter Priyanka has to solve cryptic clues within tough constraints which is impossible for her. There comes Ashish, her friend, and the entire game takes a wild turn! Are Ashish and Priyanka able to find Khanna? Is Khanna alright? Who is Ajay and why has he kidnapped Khanna? Is Ashish able to get the love of Priyanka who loves somebody else? What are the clues and can they solve them in the given tough constraints? All these questions are answered through an engaging and brainy thrilling movie – WITH LOVE, DELHI!
Review: History is one of the most revered subjects of study in any university because it reveals deeply embedded truths in its details and is taken as the subject that makes you a professor/teacher. No, I have absolutely nothing against History, teachers or thrillers, however, I am saddened that an interesting subject of study has been wasted on a poor script, poor performances and misuse of rather promising talent especially that of Tom Alter and Seema Biswas. No Sir, not done at all! The hype was wrongly created. More so, the official trailer is most misleading. At one point, I felt engrossed in the movie and enjoyed the thrill that sadly lasted only a few minutes. Not because the leads took my breath away by their performances. It was instead those monuments in Delhi, mere buildings they are, yet speak so much if you attempt to ‘know’ them. We are Indians, we must respect what we have inherited from all the invaders and settlers throughout Indian history. So if this were a documentary shown to an undergraduate student, he/she would have enjoyed the treasure hunt. A full-fledged film seemed too much too soon for the makers and the lead actors, Ashish Lal (who triples up as the writer and the producer of this film) and Pariva Pranati who plays Priyanka, a distraught daughter to Karan Khanna (Kiran Kumar) who doesn’t forget to doll-up with an overdose of makeup, even when she attempts suicide.
Tom Alter is a fine actor, for the record, he is better known for his roles as a “firang” in most Bollywood movies (known as “The true-blue Englishman onscreen”), a revered theatre actor and novelist; however his presence also could not save the film to make it sail the above-ordinary level. Seema Biswas, known famously for her role as “The Bandit Queen” had two scenes in the whole film coincidentally both with a constant frown on her face fretting over her son’s callous ways. Or for that matter, Kiran Kumar who has done plenty meaty roles in the past movies.
There are two songs in this film, Ashish Lal, however, does not disappear from the screen as does Pariva when the song sequence starts. On my wish-list this time is a wand, so I could just use a magic spell to shun the many not-very-nice moments in the film. I will also affirm the fact that we all understand more than one language, hence it doesn’t take too much to gauge what is haywire with our mother tongue or the official language of our country. It usually helps to work around your strengths than to make an effort to magnify your shortcomings.
The only reason I, for one might find in watching this film would be the historical monuments, which can be used as a wake-up call for many responsible denizens to say, work in tandem with INTACH or use democracy in the correct fashion (the point of contention being, responsibility in various measures).
With Love, Delhi does nothing to make one love Delhi, on the other hand, a true Delhi-lover shall be able to fight for this “cause” better. It is said to be “an intelligent thriller by IITians”… Is the institute aware of the creative heads it trains to make into successful engineers (the safest profession to be mentioned, however the outcome depends on the degree(s) earned)? If this film was a tribute to any literary man, he was sure to have performed somersaults in his grave!
From a positive perspective, I wish the cast and crew my best and hope to see a “different” film made and performed in differently. If you are looking for mystery and thrillers, you can visit a bookstore to buy everything from teenage detective novels namely Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys to Agatha Christie to William Dalrymple (The Last Mughal), Romila Thapar (Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations, Recent Perspectives of Early Indian History to name a few of her works) or A.L. Basham (The Wonder That Was India).
Verdict: It is difficult to put this into words. That should be fodder enough for the future course of action.