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Delhi on Film: Exploring the City through Ten Iconic Bollywood Movies

Delhi the capital city and the hub of power and politics. Nothing political in this country can transpire without reaching the lanes of this city. It is also notorious for its heinous crimes and the sinister realities that exist in this big metropolis.

But, but…You might have hummed to the tunes of the song “Yeh Delhi hai mere yaar,

“Bass ishq mohabbat pyaar”

Delhi smells like love. An abode for Sufis, A beautiful escape for lovers. A historical delight and a foodie paradise. It reeks of freedom. Many students with big dreams in their eyes migrate to this city for academic and career pursuits. They discover a sense of self and freedom in this big city.

Delhi has two sides, on the one hand, you will feel as though everything has changed in this urban space, but on the other part, you will be assured that not even an ounce of change has taken place in some areas. One can witness the markers of modernization while at the same time, staring at what a colossal mess this city is. Delhi has many shades and to explore the city through celluloid, we have curated a list of Bollywood movies to watch that capture the soul of Delhi.

1. Delhi-6

Starting the list from the best, as the title explains itself, Delhi 6 is a classic film capturing the picturesque locations of the city. From the pigeons flying at the historical Jama Masjid to the cramped lanes of Chandni Chowk, the movie is an aesthetic bliss for Delhiites. It stars Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Om Puri, and Waheeda Rahman. AR Rahman’s music is the heart of this movie and brings alive the places. The film deals with specific issues that are even more relevant today.

2. Fukrey

A game of gambling, dreams, and luck all coincide in the avenue of East Delhi. It is the story of four boys who turn a hazy dream into reality. With average comedy, the film succeeds in adapting to the quintessential mannerisms of Delhi youth, specifically boys. ‘Jugaad’ loosely means make-shifters, which is one of the interesting themes that every Indian is familiar with. A film that is a manifestation of the frivolous, free-spirited youth of Delhi.

3. Rockstar

A film that has started getting appreciation recently on social media. It is better late than never. Janardhan, a Delhi guy, is looking for inspiration for his music. What happens when a heartbreak fulfills that goal but also brings self-destruction? The film’s shooting is done on the north campus, Miranda House College, during the summer break. One of the most beautiful songs of the movie Kun-Faya-Kun was filmed in the holy Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah of Delhi.

4. Pyaar ka Punchnama

Kartik Aryan starrer, this romantic comedy is set in the elite Delhi and some parts of Gurgaon. Shiny, glossy buildings, pubs, and party nights are the locations that bring out the social life of the Delhi crowd. Directed by Luv Ranjan, the movie did well at the box office, and the main star, Kartik, has a monologue in his name, which is indeed still enjoyed by the audience.

5. Band Bajaa Baarat

Featuring Delhi University colleges has become a typical thing for filmmakers in order to tell the story of a character living in Delhi. Ranveer Singh’s debut film alongside Anushka Sharma, Band Baaja Baarat, captures even the mundane things that occur in urban Delhi. The music album is a combination of soulful and masala songs that add to its charm.

6. Vicky Donor

Ayushmaan had a stellar debut with Vicky Donor that had a well-written storyline and was executed finely. Needless to say, his top-notch acting skills confirmed his success in the upcoming years. The movie features the locations of Connaught Place and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib- a holy place for Sikhs in Delhi.

7. Kurban

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s starrer ‘Kurban’ was filmed in front of various breathtaking historical sites in Delhi. Even when the movie was just being filmed, a vast crowd gathered at the location, hoping to get a glimpse of their beloved stars. The cinematography of the song “Shukrah Allah,” sung by Sonu Nigam, exquisitely captures the Jama Masjid complex, Humayun Tomb, and other places in the city.

8. No one killed Jessica.

A spine-chilling drama thriller based on an actual murder case with a backdrop in Delhi may unsettle you a little. Delhi has never looked so poignant before. The city’s public transport has always been an unsafe space which was confirmed after the horrendous Nirbhaya case in 2012. Vidya Balan and Rani Mukherjee starrer, this film should be on your bucket list to explore the notorious side of Delhi. It is a commentary on the country’s flawed judicial system.

9. Fanna

There is a saying that if in love, Delhi seems even more romantic. A poetic rendition, Fanna stands true to this theory. This Yashraj film production starring Aamir Khan and Kajol was a super hit at the box office and more so in people’s hearts. One of the most iconic songs, “Chand Sifarish,” was shot at one of the ancient marvels of Delhi- Qutab Minar. Other locations include Lodhi Garden, Rashtrapati Bhavan, and Red Fort.

10. PK

The first-ever Indian film to enter the 300-crore club was PK smashing all box-office records. Just like the city of Delhi, there was a lot of noise surrounding the film leading to a controversy. An essential portion of the film is shot in Delhi. It packs every significant location- Delhi metros, Connaught Place, Delhi Haat, and the historical site Agrasen ki Baoli.

While I know, Air pollution is a bigger crisis surrounding the city, these films will prove to be a breath of fresh air and give you the best virtual trip to Delhi.