Thursday, October 8

Dil Chahta Hai - Perfection Ko Improve Karna Mushqil Hota Hai.

Movie - DIL CHAHTA HAI (Hindi)
Director - Farhan Akhtar
Producer - Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar
Cast - Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Preity Zinta, Sonali Kulkarni, Ayub Khan Samantha Tremayne, Suhasini Mulay, Rajat Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia.
Music & Background Score- Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy
Cinematography - Ravi K Chandran
Editing - A Sreekar Prasad
Production Design - Suzanne Caplan Merwanji
Art Direction - Yunus Pathan
Casting & First Assistant Director - Zoya Akhtar
Sound Design - Nakul Kamte
Choreography - Farah Khan
Story - Farhan Akhtar, Kassim Jagmagia
Screenplay, Dialogue - Farhan Akhtar
Lyrics - Javed Akhtar
Release Date - 24 July 2001

Warning - This is going to be a fairly long post, as I am writing about one of my all time favourite movies and I'm bound to get over-indulgent. So read, only if you are extremely patient. :P

Dil Chahta Hai, in all ways is a movie which revolutionized Hindi, or maybe Indian Cinema. This coming-of-age movie of 3 young guys, made by the son of India's most prolific writer, completely changed the way Hindi movies were made. It was fresh, urban, cool, witty, emotional, energetic and realistic at the same time. Filmmakers began to ape the style with which this movie was made and a whole new genre of movies for the urban young crowd was born in the country. The movie boasts of a cult status now and was a trendsetter of sorts, when it released in 2001. The whole look, the cinematography, the production design, sound design, hair styles, costumes, characters, dialogues, etc. were all so real and extremely unique, and was completely new to our kind of cinema, at that point of time. I would count this movie among the most influential movies made in Indian Cinema just by considering the amount of freshness it brought in all the departments of filmmaking. 

Dil Chahta Hai, is the story of three individuals - Akash, Sameer and Sid. Quoting from the movie's synopsis, even though each and every one of us know the story already - 'Akash is a non-believer. He thinks the concept of love is created to ruin perfectly healthy relationships. Sameer is a believer. He wants to be in love. He loves being in love. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't quite grasped the concept of it just yet. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he is out there persevering, believing that he will find that 'special her', as long as he keeps searching. Siddharth is mature, sensitive and understanding. Siddharth aka Sid knows the true meaning of the word love. He feels it everyday, every hour, every minute. For his friends, his acquaintances, for the stray dog living outside his gate, for the tree that's just been planted next door. He has reached modern day enlightenment. DIL CHAHTA HAI is a film about these three distinct characters, their individual relationships and the effect that those relationships have on the three of them.'

DCH is a character driven film. So, it is very important that the characters are appealing to the audience. Farhan Akhtar creates three characters, who are drastically different at the core, but at the same time, very similar in a lot of things. You can find a bit of Akash, Sameer or Sid, or maybe all three of them in yourself. The urban youth can absolutely relate to these three characters. Even the female leads, Shalini, Pooja and Tara, are strong characters, fleshed out effectively. Shalini, is the cute, effervescent and beautiful girl. Pooja is more of a normal, girl-next-door types. Tara, is a divorced lady who works in an interior designing firm. Unlike usual Hindi films, this movie doesnt appear as it follows a particular story. The movie progresses through the characters and their interactions and situations, something which was completely new to our kind of cinema. There is no melodrama, no villains, no comedians, no elaborate dance sequences, no cliched dialogues and no family drama. Just real characters, real situations and extremely real dialogues.

Farhan Akhtar, son of screenwriter/lyricist Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani became one of India's most promising directors with this single film. With his very first movie, he proved that he is an amazing writer-director. He had started work on the script of Dil Chahta Hai in 1998 and the film went through a lot of changes, especially in the cast. Aamir was considered for the role of Sid, but he chose Akash. Hrithik Roshan was offered Akash, but he turned it down. Abhishek Bachchan was also offered Sid, and he also turned it down. And finally the current cast was fixed and the film was shot on a single schedule over a period of 108 days. The film was also the first venture of Excel Entertainment, a production house jointly owned by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani. Farhan created his own brand of cinema and inspired many other prominent filmmakers to make films in his style. (Karan Johar wrote the script of Kal Ho Naa Ho, keeping in mind that he also wanted to make a cool and fresh film like DCH). The freshness in writing, treatment, screenplay, dialogues and characterisation became Farhan's signature skills. The dialogues of this film are now famous quotes. And the best thing is that the film doesnt appear like it is scripted. Everything is so natural and the presence of a written script is never felt by the audience and that is perhaps, the biggest achievement of Farhan Akhtar in this movie. 

Aamir Khan had already given a humongous hit through his own production Lagaan, in 2001. The movie went on to be nominated even for the Oscar awards. But this movie was a drastic change for him from the villager avtar. His boyish charm as Akash works wonders in the movie. He is quite sarcastic, bratty, mischievous and is not very serious about his relationships. He is a person who doesnt believe in love. And when he falls in love finally, he doesnt know how to express it. His character goes through a range of emotions in the movie. and he gets to mouth some of  the best and the wittiest lines in the movie. His dialogue to Saif, 'Arre usne teri khuddari ko lalkara hai yaar. Kya kar raha hai, mard ban!! Be a man!!' is legendary stuff. His dialogues from the movie are often quoted by most young guys even today. The shot where he cries, after he calls Sid's house by mistake, towards the pre-climax portion is just enough to show how good his performance in the movie is.

Saif Ali Khan turned into an 'actor' through this movie. People never took him seriously as he was just another star-kid who didnt know to act. He was just considered as the girly sidekick of Akshay Kumar in random action movies. But when he did this extremely comic role of Sameer, people sat up and noticed him. DCH was the turning point in Saif's career and if it had not happened, Saif would not have become the national award winning actor he is today. As Farhan puts it, Saif was a bundle of nerves in this flick. He is this eternally confused fellow who keeps falling in love with each girl he meets. He won almost every award for his brilliant acting in the movie and began the second phase of his career. His comic timing is perfect in the scene where he reacts to his bossy girlfriend over the phone. Thank God Farhan chose him as Sameer. Otherwise we would never have got an Omkara or even a Hum Tum from him. 

Sid is the most mature among the three. He is a person who lives in his own world. His relationships with his friends, his mother and the person whom he loves, is all very delicate. Akshaye Khanna is perfectly cast as Sid and he proved yet again that he is a very underrated actor. He was able to bring in the sensitivity and the maturity of the character very effectively. His interactions with his immature friends make you feel a sense of respect towards him. The shot where he runs excitedly towards his house to gather his brushes to make a portrait of Dimple, is a wonderful moment in the film. An actor who can bring out so much emotion even while running like that, really has got immense talent in him. 

The female leads are also equally interesting. Preity looked stunningly fresh as Shalini and had the lengthiest role among the three female leads. She is absolutely gorgeous in both her looks and the way she portrays her character. Her interactions with Aamir are a delight to watch. The song 'Jaane Kyun' which is more of an argument between both of them, is one of the highlights of the movie. Preity brought all her characteristic bubbliness (I think that word was invented specially for Preity Zinta) into this movie. Sonali Kulkarni as Pooja is decent. She does a good job in the very little screen time that she gets. You can just remain in awe of Dimple Kapadia while watching her portrayal of Tara Jaiswal. I think I neednt say anything more about her. She is absolutely brilliant in the movie, through which she made an impressive comeback.  The supporting actors, Suhasini Mulay, Ayub Khan, Rajat Kapoor and Samantha were good in their respective roles, the most impressive being Suhasini Mulay who played Sid's mom. 

The music of the film was spectacular. It was completely fresh and original and Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy made a grand entry into Hindi film music through the soundtrack of this movie. (Though they had done Mission Kashmir earlier, it wasnt as successful). The whole sound of the movie was fresh. S-E-L achieved through this movie, what Rahman had achieved through Roja and Rangeela - creating their own brand of sound/music. They won the Filmfare RD Burman award for fresh music talent and several other awards for 2001, including the Screen award for best music. The album had 8 chartbuster tracks which are still played repeatedly on FM stations and TV channels. Udit Narayan won a National Award for best male playback singer for his singing in 'Jaane Kyun'. The lyrics by Farhan's father Javed Akhtar further added to the appeal of the music. Can anybody other than Javed Saab come up with words like 'chamkile din'? The song 'Tanhayee' and its lyrics is a milestone in Hindi film music. Its one of the best sad songs ever made in our country. It is not only a sad song, it is a very angry sad song. The music of the movie is still extremely popular and will remain popular in the years to come. And the background score is nothing short of marvelous. It has to be experienced, not explained. 

The choreography by Farah Khan was another highlight of the movie. The funky dance in 'Koi Kahe' where the 3 guys are just having loads of fun, the wonderfully simplistic picturisation of 'Jaane Kyun', the laid-back, fun atmosphere in 'Dil Chahta Hai' and the ethereal world in 'Kaisi Hai Yeh Rut' are all done brilliantly. But the best of the lot is of course, 'Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan' where Farah Khan started her habit of paying tribute to Bollywood, for the first time. She spoofs the 60s, 70s and 80s of Hindi Cinema in a completely unique and funny way through the immensely peppy song, which went on to become a chartbuster. The famous flying step of that song, is still very famous. The song fetched Farah Khan almost all the awards for Best Choreography that year. The picturisation of 'Tanhayee' also deserves special mention. The frames where Aamir stands still and the rest of the crowd moves rapidly, was a completely new thing for the Indian screen. People are still curious about how those particular shots were taken. 

The cinematography, again, was completely fresh. (I'm getting tired using the term 'fresh' in this post umpteen number of times. Each and every department of this movie was so fresh, that you cant help but use the word again and again.) Cinematography was done by Ravi K Chandran who is now one of the most prolific cinematographers in the country. Back then, Dil Chahta Hai was his major break in Hindi cinema. (He had already won a Filmfare award for his work in Virasat and done impressive work in the Tamil film Kandukondain Kandukondain). He has given us a frame which would be remembered for a long long time in this movie, the one which was shot on the old fort in Goa. It is such a spectacular frame and its the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Dil Chahta Hai. He has given a complete cool look for the movie by going in for more blues and greens. The lighting patterns and the angles were all totally in sync with the whole look and the design of the movie. 

Editing by veteran Sreekar Prasad also contributed a lot to the film. The movie went on smoothly and felt as if we are right there in between the characters. There was no lag anywhere, even though the movie is around 3 hours long. The jump cuts in the title song was a completely innovative touch. Another key aspect in the success of the movie is its production design and art direction by Suzanne Caplan Merwanji and Yunus Pathan respectively. The spaces where each character lived- be it Akash's room with a big sketch of himself on the wall, Sameer's  dark blue room or Sid's art room, each of these things added more value to the film. 

The look of the characters was also an important factor in the success of the movie. The make up was done by one person for all the members of the cast, unlike other movies where each star has his/her own make up person, and that reflected on the way they looked. The actors looked very stylized, urban and trendy. Aamir's spiked hair and goatee became a nation-wide rage. Preity's curly hair was the most 'in' and trendy hairstyle then. The costumes and hair styling too were done by the same individuals for all the stars. 

This was one of the very first movies in India to be done in sync sound, that is live sound recording, instead of dubbing the dialogues. And that, has helped in giving the scenes a much more real and spontaneous impact rather than actors recreating the same mood later on when they come for dubbing. And the sound designer Nakul Kamte has done a tremendous job in capturing the little nuances in dialogue delivery by the actors while recording it on the spot.

I have written so much about this film, that many of you would be sleeping by now. Its ok, as I had warned that only people with a lot of patience can read the entire post. I saw this movie for the first time in a pirated video cassette, in 2001, when I was studying in 9th. (I wasnt allowed to go for movies with friends during that period, and my family hardly went for any Hindi movie then). Almost quarter of the movie was missing, and I didnt follow Hindi very well then, but still I loved it. I have watched this movie umpteen number of times over these 8 years (of course, I learned Hindi by that time) and suddenly felt like watching it again yesterday and re-lived the experience once again. I had also done a script breakdown of this movie for a college assignment where I had to watch this movie around 10 times just to write the first draft of the assignment. But still, I'm not tired of this movie and I'm sure this movie is there on the favourites list of every young guy or girl who has seen it. The last scene of the movie, where the friends reunite, still gives me goose-pimples, and I'm pretty sure many others would be feeling the same too. And it is pretty evident that Goa became a much more happening tourist spot among our youth, after this movie got released. If you search Google or YouTube, you can find innumerable people posing like they were Akash, Sameer and Sid, either in stills or on video. The movie makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you feel nostalgic and brings back some beautiful memories. Now, what more could Farhan Akhtar ask for, when he made his first film?? I think I'll conclude with a line that Akash says in the film, "Perfection ko improve karna mushqil hota hai."


  1. Trendsetter ! ! ! There is no point in me writing comments on a movie which has a blockbuster stamp all over it.

    Great Review. I hate long reviews but when it comes good movies like these it helps me revisit all the beautiful scenes and enjoy it with out even seeing it.

    The DVD of DCH will be in my collection forever and is a movie that I can show any genaration and I can guarantee that they wont be bored.....thats what a true block buster is all about.

  2. Exactly.. The special features disc is truly a collector's item.. The making of the movie is so much fun to watch.

  3. i was checkin other reviews of the movie as well, and guess what!!
    Taran Adarsh gave 2 stars for Dil Chahta Hai!! Isnt that the most ridiculous thing a critic can do?

  4. yeah....I remember that. India fm is such a great site but how can they give Dhoom 2 4.5 stars and DCH 2.....How many times have I gone for a Hindi movie after reading Taran's review and came back dissapointed ? ? ? the way Saw Sid and this time Taran Chathichilla....a nice movie and the leads have done a great job.

  5. the thing with him is that he is mostly able to predict what the mass audience would end up liking. he gives good reviews for movies like kambakth ishq and they turn out to be the worst movies ever, but hits nonetheless.

  6. yeah Vivek....dont ever think about posting a review on Kambakth Ishq in this blog be avoided on screen, on DVD in every possible way...

    Which company's DVD do you have for DCH ?

  7. sony bmg.. bought it when they released it for 69 bucks.. i didnt want the moser baer one.. and i rented out the old 399 bucks dvd from a video shop and copied the special features disc..

  8. and i usually write only after i watch the movies.. even old ones.. so i dont see any chance of me watching kambakth ishq again.. one time itself was a torture!!

  9. 3 or 4 companies has released this movie. I think T-series is releasing a collectors edition disc for DCH soon....hope it will have some extra features than what we have seen.

  10. i wanted to ask you.. i saw dvd rips of passenger, currency and colours online.. have these movies released on dvd? and when would kaminey release?

  11. Original DVD rips of Passenger & currency is not possible....Passenger is by central and is expected to release only after Central's Kadha Samvidhanam, Ivar passenger might release in a month.

    Currency is coming soon for sure.

    Colours DVD rip is possible as the overseas right was for 150 days and it has released is the next release of Moser Baer and they are just giving Kaanakanmani a few days run..... will release in a week sor sure as the orders were taken 1 week before kaanakanmani released....

    Will keep u posted on its release....

  12. thanks.. i think currency was an interesting movie.. from wat i heard from the very few ppl who saw it. and i'm waiting for passenger dvd.. its a great movie to have in ur collection..

  13. yeah lets hope it comes out soon on DVD.

    The release dates keep changing and I will post a link here for a company who has send a advertisement for their upcoming releases in next 6 months...this add was send a 40 days back so the movies advertised should come out in next 140 days....which will never happen and after seeing the link you will know why....

  14. If all these movies come out in next 140 days t will be a visual treat for movie lovers....what do u say ? Shall we skip it in theatres ?

  15. haha.. athu kalakki.. palery manikyam and bodyguard also.. wonderful.. gulmohar itself hasnt come out so far..

  16. Looks like Mr.Vivek is on a vacation......2-3 days since he posted some reviews.

    It might even be that he wrote such a long review for DCH and got

    Lets wait and see....

  17. hehe.. not like that.. i'm in chennai now.. and i dont hav regular access to comps and net now.. so reviews will be less frequent from now on.. but music review of ajab prem ki ghazab kahani is coming by tomoro mostly..

  18. KAMINEY has released on DVD.

    That was one great movie. Before you buy the DVD let me tell you that you are just going to be irritated for the first 15 minutes...guess what ?

    Must watch advertisements ( can't skip it) of Moser Baer, Cinthol, Godrej.....etc....etc...

  19. y no new reviews........!!!!!

    or hav u lost interst in ritin reviews.....

  20. i'm out of station.. so no frequent access to net.. besides i havnt seen any new movie.. new reviews will be comin up from friday onwards..

  21. Post removed by author ?

    What did u write Mr.Vivek for you to feel uncomfortable and delete it ?

  22. i made a spelling mistake there... so deleted it..

  23. Read the review ..Its amazing ..I was feeling sleepy and borring..Read it like a story and enjoyed a lot.. Congrats...

  24. amazing movie.....ive seen it atleast 5 times and still feel its awsome.......

  25. Well DCH has just opened my eyes on One fact, that I wasnt aware of - "You are younger to me by atleast 2 years"***

    **Conditions Applied:
    You should have sat in Classes I to IX exactly a year. :)

    And mind you, the way I saw DCh was the same as you said, the only difference is that I had Lagaan's Viedo Cassette also with me and I thought of watching just bcos Lagaan was 3 hours long :).

  26. :) :)
    I was so sad that I had to watch both Lagaan and DCH on video cassettes.. Lagaan I got a terrible camera print, but the excitement was no less than watching it in a theatre.. But i still missed the whole experience of watching it in a theatre..

  27. Your Smile says it all :).

    But I forgot to add one thing - You are much more mature for your age. I am keenly looking forward to the first movie frm VR productions (I am just watching Nayakan, though streaming is bit slow here)

    I too agree. Pirated videos of Lagaan and DCH were not that good. That is why now I collect only the original Movie VCDs/DVDs. I would really love to see your collection. There are bound to be some good ones that I missed.

  28. hehe.. Nayakan is just a juvenile attempt at making a comedy.. temme wat u feel about it though..

    I hav a huge collection of movies and I myself havnt seen half of them.. lol.. I kept watching my fav movies again and again all this while. Now i've stopped that and am slowly covering all the ones that i've missed so far..

  29. Hi!!! I am not sure that you would be even reading this.... I started following your blog a few months back, after a friend of mine recommended your movie reviews :-) Today I was bored and thought I will take a look at what you had to say about older movies and came across this one about one of my all time favorite hindi movies! Just wanted to tell you that I absolutely loved it and made me relive everything that I had felt when i first watched the movie and then every other time that I have watched it afterward :-)And I did read the whole thing and also went back to watch a lot of my favorite scenes from the movie :-) So a big thank you :-)The first time I watched it was in theatre... Watched it twice ;-) now own a CD and keep watching it once in a while :-) Thank you so much for that trip down the memory lane :-)