By Priya Bhattacharji

‘Dilli aaao boss’ –  Kangana Ranaut to clueless taxi driver, Queen {2014}

In the past decade, Delhi has been intimately lived through films. These films seem to project Delhi as a unique experience, where glamour and shadiness, warmth and wrath, and passion and pretension coexist. If you’ve lived in any part of Delhi for even a few months, you’d most likely agree that some of these films have hit the nail on the head.

In a pursuit to understand what elements and experiences make Delhi a character in films, we took a look at a five films that capture the feel of the city as we know it. If you’re a true-blue Dilliwaala, you are likely to smile and nod in agreement, or groan {we’d go as far as saying cringe even} and still nod in agreement at these “Quintessential Delhi” moments. If you can stay true to the Dilliwaala in you, put it out there with a “Sooo Delhi,yaaar!”

Delhi has been the centre of many films; the city has been romanticised {Delhi 6}, given script writers established cliches to work with {Aisha}, and been used as a backdrop for love stories {Love Aaj Kal}. We went with the 5 that caught our attention for how vividly and aptly they captured the city’s unique culture and milieu.

Khosla Ka Ghosla |


The Movie: About the dubious property deals Delhi is infamous for.

It happens only in Delhi: Conversations at a funeral {imagined} about matching outfits, rajma-chawal, imported watches, Sachin’s sixes, the ever-smiling-yet-creepy property dealers, the overtly religious decor of traders’ offices, the gnawing desire to have a posh address {read: South Delhi}, the Punjabi-flavoured background music, the relentless use of ‘Arree bhai!, Ojeee, Unclejee’ – the complex colours of Delhi paint almost every frame and character in this film.

‘Yeh hai Dilli’ moment: Check it out here.

Band Baaja Baaraat |


The Movie: About two ambitious DU graduates who build a successful business and eventually, a successful love story.

It happens only in Delhi: Vellapanti in North Campus, hungry hostellers as wedding crashers, flirting attempts on DTC buses, jugaad as the key to a successful business, Delhi Hinglish {emotional siyapa, apni rappo}, the ‘dhinnchak-’ness that brings Dilli weddings to life, the garish energy of ‘Ainvayi Ainvayi’, Janakpuri as the hood to start a bijness and Sainik farms as the capital’s sanctuary of posh accents and farmhouses – the film brilliantly captures the enterprising culture and flamboyance of the city.

‘Yeh Hai Dilli’ moment: Check it out here.

Dev D |


The Movie: About a London-returned spoilt brat who copes with a broken heart/bruised ego by indulging in self-pity and substance abuse at Paharganj.

It happens only in Delhi: Hippies nestled in crowded by-lanes and dingy hotels, tacky neon-lit billboards, streetside-momo stalls, infamous hit-and-run cases, MMS scandals, drug peddlers with blingy eyewear and gelled hair, kitschy pimp dens – hats off to Kashyap for sensationalizing Delhi’s shadiness!

‘Yeh Hai Dilli’ moment:  Check it out here.

Vicky Donor |


The Movie: About a jobless Punjab da putharr who makes a killing through indirect fathering, aka donating his sperm.

It happens only in Delhi: The barsaati as an amphitheatre for family drama, consumerist aspirations of an uber cool granny {I phone, Sony LCD etc}, mall-shopping and clubbing as Delhi’s fav pastime, Dilli-nglish plugs like ‘Ignore maat maar, affair karthe hai, Mummy swear, Noida se up-down karunga’, whiskey swigging {be it at a wedding or in the middle of a heart-to-heart talk}, Punjabified Lajpat Nagar and Bengalized C.R. Park as cultural polar opposites, small fertility clinics in Daryangang – this film brings out the multicultural and quirky Delhi we all love!

‘Yeh hai Dilli’ moment: Check it out here.

Dil Dosti etc {Our off-beat film pick} |


The movie: About the existential dilemmas one is likely to face at Delhi University.

It happens only in Delhi: Feisty University politics, GB road escapades, quoting Satre and Hanif Kureshi to sound intellectual, libertine indulgences, ‘complicated’ relationship statuses, fragile bro-ism between big-town brats and ambitious small-towners – despite its humble production quality, the film makes an honest attempt at presenting the dark underbelly of DU life.

‘Yeh hai Dilli’ moment: You can watch the entire film here; you’ll know why it made the list!

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