Finally, the ‘Delhi Belly’ director takes the spotlight

Abhinay Deo’s Game may have tanked at the box office, but he has certainly redeemed himself with the cracking film that is Delhi Belly

When Cineswami was offered a first class ticket to fly to London to attend the world premiere of Delhi Belly, which opened the 2nd London Indian Film Festival, it was an offer CS could not refuse. And it was a worthwhile experience indeed. For weeks now India has been inundated with Delhi Belly promotions, all featuring the ubiquitous Aamir Khan and his nephew Imran Khan and indeed the other actors in the film with nary a mention of the man who directed the film – Abhinay Deo. Now, Deo’s Game may have tanked at the box office, but he has certainly redeemed himself with the cracking film that is Delhi Belly.

So, Cineswami landed in London and was whisked by limo (Rolls Royce, not Hummer, as they have taste) straight to the red carpet at the Cineworld Haymarket, where India was recreated in the middle of London. There were dhol drummers, ahem, drumming up enthusiasm and one of the early arrivals was Jiah Khan, looking stunning in a little blue dress that showed off her toned legs and ample cleavage. A limping Javed Jaffrey also put in an appearance, as did Ferena Wazeir, one of the stars of Ketan Mehta’s soon to be released Rang Rasiya. But the London crowd seems to be less starstruck than our desi ones. The flashbulbs went into overdrive when Ketan Mehta walked the red carpet and into frenzy when Abhinay Deo arrived. Fans jostled to get pictures taken with him. This, finally, was his moment in the sun after being sidelined for so long. Inside the cinema, the story was the same. Aamir got his round of applause when he appeared in a video before the film – apologising for not being there as he needed to be in India for the promotion, but it was Abhinay who got the biggest cheers as he introduced the film. The film began and the audience, comprising the great and the good of London including Gurinder Chadha, and paying punters clapped, laughed and whistled all the way through, thoroughly enjoying the film.

The Q&A after the screening with Abhinay was both humorous and revealing. He said that there were long debates about who would make the trip to London for the world premiere – Imran, Aamir or himself. In the end they decided that the best looking man amongst them would attend, hence Abhinay made the trip. This brought the packed house down. After a pause Abhinay said: “I’m serious.” This cracked up the audience even more. Abhinay then proceeded to reveal the casting and shooting process and also paid rich tribute to writer and associate director Akshat Verma, whose baby Delhi Belly really is. When a member of the audience asked him rather pointedly about the editing process, Abhinay was forced to reveal that he cut the film with his editor, but then Aamir stepped in and re-edited the film. To Abhinay’s credit, he wasn’t cheesed off about this. Instead, he paid tribute to Aamir saying that he’s “a marketing guru who knows the pulse of the Indian audience”.

Given the reaction of both the desi and videsi audience in London, he’s right. The next morning, pretty much all the British and American mainstream newspapers lavished praise on Delhi Belly. Bbuddah, who?