Some movies are sheer experience. They force their way into your insulated world and rattle your soul until they leave a very sublime satisfaction at its bottom. Dil Se wasn’t just a cinematic experience for many, but was much ahead of its time.
Dil Se is simply a gift for a generation which is reading Fifty Shades of Grey for satiating its desire to find a vicarious feeling of love through novels, movies and dramas. In that sense, watching Dil Se not only levitates you out of your mundane world but also debilitate one’s cynicism about finding love in a world ridden with technology and gadgets.
It has been 18 years since Dil Se starring Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in lead roles released. Yet, it’s relevance in terms of capturing reality and heartbreak simultaneously on the screen doesn’t falter a bit.
No Hindi movie has shown the intensity of being in love as immaculately as Dil Se has. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that no other movie was bold enough to explore the concept of love in its various aspects.
The idea of love in most Hindi movies is often confined by the limitation of script, commercial calculation and the mindset of masses. Even the most celebrated romantic tales on screen including Mughal-E-Azam, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Silsila are rusted with melodrama, larger-than-life elements and songs and dance.
Mani Ratnam chose a sensitive subject of insurgency in northeast as the backdrop of the story. His earlier movies including Roja and Bombay were also infused with elements of politics, terrorism and love. However, in Dil Se, he brings two individuals from different parts of the country and the consequence – a tumultuous ride and fall of emotions. The undercurrent of emotion runs all along the movie.
Amar ( Shah Rukh Khan), an All India Radio (AIR) reporter has grown up in Delhi. His lifestyle and ideologies are very modern. On the other hand, Meghna ( Manisha Koirala) has a different perspective. The use of concepts including repression, anger, rebellion, sedition are also used deftly in the movie. The concepts are very contemporary.
The story is more relevant today in face of recurrent crisis of terrorism and rebellion in Kashmir and other parts of the world including Syria. At a closer look, Dil Se was also a story of a warm understanding between two strangers who had nothing in common and belonged to vastly different backgrounds. The values of compassion and human bonding are more real. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s dialogues made both the characters more real. They were not only earthy but were also devoid of ostentatious display of emotions.
One can not talk about Dil Se without mentioning its music and lyrics. The combination of A R Rahman and Gulzar was magical. The use of Urdu poetry came alive in breathtaking landscapes of Ladakh, northeast and Delhi. The haunting background music gave soul to the story.
Dil Se could have easily fallen into mediocrity. The fact that you can’t compartmentalize it into either a terrorism movie or a love story tells a great deal about it.
Above all, Dil Se was an honest effort to make a brilliant piece of cinema. And it still urges you to rediscover it. And can make you lost in the labyrinth of its surreal emotions of love, longing and life. All actors were natural in their performance. Dialogues were real, short and crisp. Shah Rukh’s flamboyance still carried an innocence in those days. ( unlike his later roles that were not too far from over-acting). Manisha’s portrayal of vulnerability and strength remains unmatched.
Dil Se was a commercial failure in domestic market.But would it have done well if it were released today ? Considering that the audience is showering its love on real stories, there are possibilities.