Murders for the sake of headlines

Question : A newspaper is able to publish the news of certain high profile murders first because its owner gets every such news before anyone else. How come Holmes ?

Answer : Elementary Watson ! He himself is the mastermind behind such murders.

This is the theme of New Delhi (1987), a movie originally made in Malayalam featuring Mammootty in lead role, New Delhi. Inspired by Irving Wallace’s popular novel – The Almighty, this movie earned so much success on the box office that it was made in many other Indian languages too. In its Hindi version, the lead role has been played by Jeetendra, always a favourite hero of the South Indian story which is set in New Delhi, the capital of India, is the story of Vijay Kumar aka V.K. (in the South Indian versions, the hero is known as G.K.). V.K. (Jeetendra) is a fearless journalist and has only a younger sister Uma (Urvashi) in his family. He is in love with Maria (Sumalatha) who is a classical dancer. She gets raped by two corrupt politicians Deshbandhu Sharma (Raza Murad) and Shankar Babu (Devan). When V.K. tries to take them to the law of the land and ensure justice to Maria, the corrupt police dancing to the tune of these villains not only shifts the same charge to him and get him sentenced by the court through false testimonies but also inflicts inhuman torture on him by sending him to an asylum. The corrupt judge takes the side of the injustice only and the cruel adversaries of V.K. also make him handicapped for life by one hand and one leg.

V.K. gets released from jail after completing his sentence and then starts the revenge drama. Maria who has been awaiting him for all these years, helps him in starting his own newspaper known as New Delhi Diary. Routine news are arranged for the newspaper but V.K. does not allow the front page news and the main headline to be ready because they are to be created by him only. A hardcore criminal Nataraaj Vishnu (B. Thiagarajan) alongwith some others who are devotees of V.K. carry out a jailbreak following V.K.’s plan only and then start the murders of those who are on V.K.’s hit-list. Since V.K. himself is masterminding these murders and getting them executed through Nataraaj Vishnu and his team, he always prepares the front page news pertaining to the murder concerned even before that murder has actually taken place. The news of the murders are published with the byline of a reporter – Vishwanaath which is a fake name created by V.K. The sale of New Delhi Diary goes up by leaps and bounds and V.K. becomes rich and powerful. However his sister Uma and her beau Suresh (Suresh Gopi) smell the truth. When V.K. decides to kill his last alive adversary Shankar Babu, his plan goes awry on that night. The news of Shankar Babu’s murder is published because V.K. is under an impression that like in the past, this time also, his plan has been successfully executed but the reality is that the aimed victim has escaped whereas V.K.’s executioners have perished in the happenings.The movie ends in a formulaic manner.New-Delhi-1987-206x300The movie is very interesting but the script contains the same loopholes as the original source of this story (The Almighty) might be containing. Everything gets done very easily for V.K. post his release from jail which does not look natural. A newspaper is to be published daily whereas the adversaries of V.K. whose murders are arranged by him are countable on fingers. Then how he is able to run the newspaper for years, is hard to understand. Too much cinematic liberties have been taken for the movie and hence it’s enjoyable but not digestible. The director of the movie remains the same for its Hindi version also but the Hindi version is less impressive and perhaps that’s why it got much less commercial success than the original Malayalam version.

The movie is very interesting but appears to be more like a regular Bollywood potboiler instead of something stunning or extra-ordinary. Since beginning the hero has been declared of somewhat higher age and much older to the heroine. Hence the romance of them is in undertone. They understand each. They like each other. They silently love each other. However there is nothing loud or expressive about it. And that’s why their love appears to be more real than the rest of the story.

The movie focusses on the revenge of the hero (for himself as well as the heroine) and it is by no means, any hard-hitting comment on the corrupt police, polity and judiciary of India. The drama appears to be somewhat over the top and less convincing. The hero’s sister’s holding the heroine as responsible for her brother’s plight is also not understandable.

There are no songs in the movie. However the background score is satisfactory. Technically, the movie is up to the mark. Considering the canvas of the story, it’s not too long also. The grip of the narrative is firmly maintained over the audience throughout its Jeetendra and Raza Murad, all the cast members of the Hindi version are the same as in the original Malayalam version. Almost everyone of them has done satisfactorily. I personally liked Sumalatha very much. She’s not only pretty but has acted well also with an admirable underplay.

Out of the two new actors taken in the Hindi version, Raza Murad is definitely over the top as the corrupt and lusty politician. Jeetendra as the hero has not done badly. However he is far behind Mammootty, the hero of the Malayalam version. In fact, Jeetendra had done much better in a movie Meri Aawaaz Suno (1981) which was also based on the activities of the corrupt politicians and the cops. That movie is very close to reality also as compared with this one which is pure fiction.

Summing up, New Delhi is a interesting crime thriller set in the capital of India and the audience fond of taut thrillers will definitely like it. Since the theme is inspired by Irving Wallace’s bestseller novel – The Almighty, I advise those who have read the novel to watch this movie and contrast it with the book.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
This entry was posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Murders for the sake of headlines

  1. Rekha Sahay says:

    Extremely interesting review Jitendra ji.

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