New York meets New Delhi: an amazing video mash-up

Our friend Deepa here in Singapore loaned us her copy of Delhi 6, a 2008 Bollywood movie that explores life in the Old Delhi through the eyes of an Indian guy born and bred in New York City. The movie was able to recreate a lot of what we experienced the first few times we visited the Old City: the sheer joy of the aural chaos, the transcendent sights that appeared and disappeared before we could lift our camera to capture it, and the baffling deference everyone showed to cows.

But the best part of the movie was the song Dil Gira Dafatan (by A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire), in which the hero and the heroine are transported to a magical Delhi-meets-New-York mash-up: it’s Times Square populated by Delhiites. And for the first half, it’s amazing. (Once they release the dove, it gets pretty low-rent.)

Here’s the full video, which we can’t embed on this page for some reason; you should watch the whole thing.

Not counting the poorly-executed Hanuman, the cheesy dove, and the whole King Kong thing, this scene is an absolute masterpiece. We love the multiracial Delhi-style jaywalkers dodging both autorickshaws and NYC taxis, dressed like they’re in New York but moving like they’re in New Delhi. They’ve got nuns genuflecting before cows, jalebis being sold by fruit vendors, and breakdancers grooving to a wedding band. They even have midwestern tourists in bicycle rickshaws!

This scene has elements of perfection. It gets us nostalgic for two cities at once, capturing the nuances of two cities that we’ve called home. We can’t wait to go back — to both.

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7 responses to “New York meets New Delhi: an amazing video mash-up

  1. Wow! It sounds so weird to hear you say that. I felt exactly the same when I saw it. I tried so hard to explain to my friends why that video was so great but couldn’t find the words to convey that feeling.

    I love New York and I love Delhi, and they managed to join the two in a way that I consider to be a dream city.

    Abdu
    ( http://abdusalaam.blogspot.com )

  2. Agreed.A rustic new york wouldve been a better choice too 🙂 Hope you liked all the songs..

  3. That’s what I said wow!

    I am from New York so when that scene first opened I instantly said, Wow! That’s Times Square in Manhattan.

    Moments later, I said, Wait a minute, those are the smaller Yellow and black Indian taxis, and look at those three wheeled motorized scooters. We don;t have them in New York.

    Then I looked closer and said – wait a minutes the traffic should not flow Northbound, it should be Southbound. That’s not NY it is a mock-up.

    But the building and signage was correct in fact I then noticed certain stores that I knew positively were right there.

    So it was NY. I wondered how angered the New York taxi-wallahs were that this important thoroughfare was closed down for a what was likely more than a few hours.

    I have a write up on my own blog about this film:
    http://jmmnewaov2.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/a-look-at-the-film-delhi-6/

  4. I loved the film Delhi 6 though many critics and also my friends rubbished the film. I wrote what i thought was a counter view http://www.delhilive.com/page/delhi-6-counter-view-200904274119
    As for the music, it is Rahman weaving his inimitable magic: original, haunting, catchy, memorable, melodious songs, the man is a genius!

  5. Just a thought about Abhishek’s ‘American’ accent though: deserved the Golden Kela; the Dara Singh Worst accent award

  6. wow.. its really superb movie..

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