It was 2001 when the norm of Hindi films was a specific order of films. Garish sets and loud dialogues were the staple platter every film had. And out of the blue came a film that trapped the urban sensibilities of the audiences, at a time when mainstream cinema was oblivious to it. Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai is cult for reason. Koimoi’s reader Debarupa Bhattacharjee writes to us about why it still scores as the coolest movie ever made.
I still remember watching the first promo of Dil Chahta Hai when I was in seventh standard and I also remember telling my elder brother – “This film looks so different, it doesn’t look like Bollywood stuff.” It being ‘different’ from the other Bollywood movies of its times is definitely the first thing that strikes you about this movie that went on to achieve cult status in the years to come. In an era when every second filmmaker vouches for the uniqueness and originality of his/her movie, Dil Chahta Hai is actually one of the very few movies which lived up to the claim of being charmingly different, amazingly fresh and unabashedly honest in its portrayal of the story of three best friends.
The plot is simple – the story of coming of age of three friends through the various experiences that they go through in their lives. What is unique, however, is the way in which each one of the characters has been dealt with and how each of their individual stories has been merged into the main plot of the movie. One of the very first scenes – The “I hate economics” scene where the guys randomly start throwing colours at each other sets the tone and gives you a feel of the movie – it’s vibrancy, it’s nonchalant buoyancy and most importantly, it’s connection with the youth.
The camaraderie shared among the three protagonists of the Dil Chahta Hai is so real that as you watch the movie, you start feeling that they are your own friends and that is what connects the youth to this movie the most. The three characters are strikingly different from each other, yet something keeps them together. The devilish charm of Aakash, the ever-so-confused attitude of Sameer and the maturity and restraint of Sid were brought out impeccably by the three lead actors, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna respectively. A whole lot of credit goes to them as well as to the first time director, Farhan Akhtar for making the moments in the movie believable and realistic, which was actually the harder thing to do considering the trend of Bollywood movies at that time.
In fact, it’s not just the characters, everything in the movie – right from the music to the dialogues to the costumes, each aspect that goes on to making a film, makes it the most epic youth movie of Indian Cinema. Every frame seems to resonate with the sound of freshness and novelty throughout the movie. Whether it’s the trend-setting hair styles (it brought in the trend of Spikes), or the simple yet chic costumes, or the urban-friendly sets, Dil Chahta Hai was way cooler than what we as loyal viewers of the Indian films were accustomed to watch. The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are so contemporary that even today, thirteen years after the movie released, each song from the album whether it’s the title song, or “Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe”, or “Woh Ladki Hai Kahan” can be a part of any current album and they would still sound hipper than most of the songs that are topping the charts presently. The songs, just like the movie, are timeless.
Dil Chahta Hai is about moments, some rib-ticklingly humorous, some understatedly moving and some unintentionally remarkable. There is not a single dull moment in the movie, it is extremely difficult to pick out favourites but here are a few of the moments from the movie that stood out for me:
Be A Man Yaar!
The ‘Be a Man’ scene where Saif is being thrashed by his gf over the phone. A nervous Saif somehow mananges to blurt out “Hi Priya! haan main, magar woh, suno toh, lekin main, kabse ke .. Main Akash ke yahan.. hello” and boom! She disconnects the call in a rage. It is then that Aamir comes to his rescue and tells him that he needs to be a man-“Are usne teri khuddari ko lalkara hai yaar, kya kar raha hai, mard ban, be a man!” However, only when Saif rushes out from the house after the inspiring speech by Aamir, Aamir tells Akshaye “Pitega Saala” and poor Saif does get slapped by his gf but yeah, thank God they broke up!
Akshaye Runs To Get His Colours To Paint Dimple’s Portrait
The scene where Akshaye asks Dimple Kapadia if he could paint her portrait, she agrees and the excitement and enthusiasm with which the otherwise silent and sober Akshaye runs to get his colours and painting brushes, match that of a little kid who has just won a race. And we so knew that this boy was madly in love!
Hum Dost The, Hai Aur Hamesha Rahenge
Every single moment in the title song of the movie is special and echoes the main themes of the movie that is friendship, laughter and life. Whether it’s the Aamir’s pretending-to-eat-the-fish moment, the chemistry among the characters in the car, three of them mocking their shadows in the sand, the Chandora Fort where Aamir says “Hum dost the, hai aur hamesha rahenge”, this song is a movie in itself. Goa never looked more appealing before so much so that I am sure lots of youngsters must have booked their tickets for Goa right after watching this movie.
The Climax Scene
Just before the climax scene, Aamir is driving and stops at a traffic signal in front of a college. He sees some youngsters and then suddenly he sees a vision of Akshaye, Saif and himself talking and laughing just like old times. Then, the imaginary Aamir looks at the real Aamir and smiles. Simple scene it is but the way Aamir emoted is brilliant on many levels. His eyes express so many emotions, one of them being the realization that he is incomplete without Sid and Sameer, and we too realize how much we want the trio to get back together again.
The Patch-Up Hug
The scene where the characters of Aamir and Akshaye meet after a long time, and forgetting all their past differences finally hug is a scene which still gives me goose bumps. No over-the-top dialogues, no melodrama, just pure class of these two fine actors makes this scene memorable. Don’t forget the theme music of Dil Chahta Hai in the background!
Although it lost a number of awards to another outstanding movie of that year, Lagaan, it did manage to win the National Award for Best Hindi Feature Film and was nominated for thirteen filmfare awards out of which it managed to win seven. But even more than the awards, Dil Chahta Hai’s strength lies in being a trendsetter for youth-oriented movies. Even after thirteen years, it is still considered to be the benchmark of youth-centric movies for its unparalleled freshness and contemporary appeal. No matter how many times we watch and re-watch it, we still end up saying-“Dil Chahta Hai more”.
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