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Dil Se (1998)

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, more...
Director: Mani Rathnam, Mani Rathnam
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Studio: Eros
Genre: Foreign, India, Musicals
Running Time: 163 min.
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Mani Rathnam, who has proven with films like Bombay (1995) and Iruvar (1998) that it was possible in India to make quality films that could also be box-office hits, chose the 50th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence as the backdrop for this film about the clash between love and ideology. Amar Kant Varma is the son of a deceased army officer and he lives with his family in Delhi. As a program executive for All India Radio, he travels all over the country to interview common people to mark the anniversary. On one of these trips, he meets a mysterious girl named Meghna at a train station, but loses sight of her before he can get to know her. He sees her again in another town and reminds her of their meeting. Meghna doesn't seem to recognize him. Although she doesn't really want him, he follows her all the way to Ladakh. After two days together, she leaves him to join a group of insurgents on a mission. Amar is heart-broken and marries a girl of his mother's choice. In the meantime, Meghna is chosen to be the main person on a suicide mission targeting the Republic Day Parade. She finds Amar and their destinies entwine. Director Ratnam uses the two characters as symbols for two distinct parts of India at odds with each other -- the big states on the one hand, and the border areas with minority populations on the other. The latter are angry at the central government for having neglected them, which have resulted in a recession. Dil Se, a good example of the energy and imagination of the "Bollywood" movies (referring to Bombay, the "Hollywood of India") from one of the masters of the genre was screened as part of the International Forum of Young Cinema at the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999. ~ Gönül Dönmez-Colin, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

good start, bad ending by joymonkey August 22, 2006 - 10:44 AM PDT
This movie had promise, but SRK gets stuck in a movie with a bad screenplay. I did like the tension throughout the movie and the lead characters having chemistry as they traveled together. However, what annoyed me is that doe-eyed, deer in headlights look the female lead kept giving whenever she was indecisive between her politics and her personal life. I'd have to agree, this movie has some of the best songs and unfortunately the worst ending ever in all of film.

Political drama, not romance by krisalm May 31, 2004 - 1:25 PM PDT
1 out of 4 members found this review helpful
This movie is more about politics and terrorism more romance. The violence and strong insinuation of rape were a little shocking, although I would agree that the film does a good job of remaining objective rather than taking sides and judging the characters. The songs were highly forgettable and it has to have one of the worst endings of any film I've ever seen.

Almost a classic by kamapuaa December 15, 2003 - 8:43 PM PST
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
This movie is a couple large errors away from being the best Bollywood movie ever.

Ignore the marketing-supplied descriptions about the "seven shades of love." Dil Se is the story of a simple cliched love story, coming in head-on collision with the serious and ugly issues of Indian terrorism.

This movie works very well on very many different levels. Although there's only 5 music videos, the music is excellent and these are some of the most famous Bollywood songs ever - including the "Chaiya" video where they dance on the roof of a train as it makes its way through the forest. The depiction of terrorism was remarkably even-handed - as opposed to the cartoon bad guys of most movies, this movie shows their motivations and outlook as well. The drama, as the plot reaches the climax, is ugly, but draws your attention. Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta, & even Johnny Lever are great.

That said, there were also some major missteps. First, the aforementioned videos just don't belong in the movie. They had nothing to do with, or even contradicted, the rest of the plot - for instance, people who don't get along, suddenly start doing a sexy dance together. It interrupts the flow of the movie and just isn't necessary.

The other problem with this movie was Shah Rukh Khan's role. His character represents an India that's maddeningly cocky, self-assured, and ignorant. Yet while everybody else is playing in a movie that most closely resembles The Terrorist, he's playing a character scarcely removed from his typical goofy romantic lead in a masala romance. It takes away from the drama of the movie when it's not a clash of two worlds, but the clace of a world with the cartoon universe of masala romances.

The ending will make you drop your jaw. The plot is smarter than the aforementioned "The Terrorist." The music is great. So I'd definitely recommend this movie. Still, I think Mani Ratnam's best movie is "Bombay," which Greencine unfortunately doesn't carry.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.18)
44 Votes
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Bollywood Favorites
Favorites from the Indian film industry - you gotta love the random dances, the bad guys with mustachios, and the hyper-driven melodrama! Green Cine's Bollywood selection is limited, but all these picture are worth watching.
The Director of Asoka.
Santosh Sivan and the people who have worked in his movies.

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