The hero’s lover is brutally raped by two politicians .When he tries to act against them, he is arrested on fake charges and imprisoned for 5 years.He is even declared mentally unfit by the court and face brutal treatment in the mental asylum where his right hand and leg gets paralyzed. When he finally gets out , he waits patiently for the right time to revenge . He plans the jail break of his four friends from jail. He even acts as friends with the people who spoiled his life. When he finally gets a chance, he sends his four people to his enemy with a tape that first greets him as ‘Panicker Chettan’ but then immediately changes the tone and says- ‘Did you think that I forgot everything ?”.. A revenge thriller cannot be scripted any better.
New Delhi released in 1987 at a time when Mammootty had a series of flops, his movies had no takers in theaters and when even filmmakers hesitated to work with him .But it became a phenomenal success .Today New Delhi is regarded as one of the best action thrillers ever made in Malayalam. Its G.Krishnamoorthy not only gave Mammootty a new lease of life but his top-notch performance earned him the superstar status and even kept him in close race for that year’s national award as well.
Veteran director Fazil was once asked who is the better actor among Mammootty and Mohanlal and his response was Mammootty .His reason was this – ‘Mohanlal is a born actor. To stay at the top along with Mohanlal all these years does need something special and that’s what makes Mammootty a better actor’. Fazil is right. Mohanlal is the natural actor in the eyes of many directors but its amazing that Mammootty had been able to construct a career graph that’s in par with the former. Rajavinte Makan made Mohanlal superstar in 1986 and Mammootty immediately followed him in 1987 through New Delhi. In 1989 Mohanlal’s stunning performance in Kireedam was tipped over by Mammootty’s iconic Chandu Chekavar. This has continued over years and still the two are at top together.
Powerful Dialogue delivery and emotional sequences had always been Mammootty’s strengths and New Delhi is a prime example where these assets are in immense display. Mammootty is at his best in the scenes where he breaks down when he couldn’t stop Thyagarajan from shooting Suresh Gopi , when he finally opens up to Sumalatha later and in the Climax when he yells repeatedly his newspaper’s headline -‘Cabinet Minister Shankar shot dead, details are here’.
Despite Mammootty’s towering performance, New Delhi still did not end up as a complete one-man show. Sumalatha, Suresh Gopi and Thyagrajan all excelled in their characters.In fact , Thyagarajan’s Salem Vishnu became so popular that he made a movie in Tamil later on how the character ended up in jail. Shyam’s brilliant background score added to the thrills throughout the movie. Dennis Joseph should be a proud man to be able to write scripts for both Mohanlal’s Rajavinte Makan and Mammootty’s New Delhi which established them as the stars in the industry. Finally the man who is in charge of the proceedings is none other than the master of action thrillers – Joshy.
What fascinates me about New Delhi after all these years is the way its makers created a hugely successful action thriller with a hero who was old,crippled, did not do a single stunt and even had shades of gray. G.K is such a powerful character that when I heard the news on plans of a sequel to New Delhi few months back, I was excited. If the new makers could handle the character with the same deftness Joshy and Dennis Joseph did in 1987, it would be a treat to watch G.K back on screen again.