Delhi Belly: Bollywood's rude awakening

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The Independent Culture

It's been dubbed The Hangover of Bollywood, full of F-word expletives, flatulence, right royal cock-ups and a bunch of dufus friends who never seem to get it right in love, money or work. Delhi Belly, produced by Aamir Khan, one of India's biggest movie stars, and starring his nephew Imran Khan, had its international premiere last night at the launch of the London Indian Film Festival (LIFF).

The movie, which took three years to make and was put together on a £700,000 budget (a pittance compared to other Bollywood films), focuses on three hapless friends who unwittingly get caught up in a diamond-smuggling ring.

In true Hangover style, an accidental mix up of two packages forces the three friends, Tashi (Imran Khan), Arup (Vir Das) and Nitin (Kunaal Roy Kapur) on a mission to save themselves, their backsides (almost literally – Nitin has a serious case of Delhi belly) and Tashi's girlfriend.

"This is a film that's really going to rock the boat," says Ashanti Omkar, Bollywood editor for BBC publishing. "It's not a 'safe' film and unlike a lot of Bollywood movies, there is absolutely no moral message; it is entirely irreverent and rude. There are scenes here that you wouldn't normally see in Indian cinema and none of the actors break out into singing or dancing routines like they normally would. It's got a real British sense of crime-caper comedy that will crossover to a Western, non-Asian audience."

The LIFF, which is now in its second year, says independent Indian cinema is proving more exciting than traditional Bollywood fare. "One of the key aims of the LIFF," says Naman Ramachandran, the festival's programmer, "is to make these independent films available to a larger audience, because traditional distributors cannot look beyond stale mainstream Bollywood."

Various venues, London ( to 12 July