Trip on Dil Chahta Hai
Everybody hurts and, sometimes, everybody cries.
Everybody also loves.
Believe that, and you have the reason for Dil Chahta Hai.
Akash loves himself.
Sameer believes he's in love with every girl he meets.
Siddharth loves loving.
Shalini thinks love rocks.
Puja loves someone she thinks she loves.
Tara loves her work, her daughter.
Saif Ali Khan: The most undersketched character in the film -- Sameer. It's to his credit that he rises above it. And thanks to his radiant screen presence and his almost perfect sense of comic timing, Sameer is a riot.
Akshaye Khanna: Sid is most interesting. With a character rich in shades and depths, Akshaye uses his voice and expression to optimum effect. He's a surprise. A pleasant one. His Sanjeev Kumar-like moving of the jaw to emote to best effect notwithstanding.
(A drawback, though. I had a hard time believing the three of them were college students.)
Sonali Kulkarni: Honestly, she hasn't much to do. Pooja's pretty much on the periphery. Why, the man she loves is better etched than her. So there's no real establishing of her character. A jarring note: Wonder why she was made up to the nines at all times in the film.
Preity Zinta: is beautiful and vibrant, wavering between endearingly naive and confused. That's Shalini down pat. The Troilus And Cressida opera sequence where she explains what love is to Akash is good stuff -- moving and wholly spontaneous.
Dimple Kapadia: A strikingly commanding presence. She's at her element, playing up and playing down Tara when needed. Now, if only she took care of her teeth.
The character artistes, especially Suhasini Mulay (as Sid's mom), Rajat Kapoor (as Shalini's Mahesh-uncle), and Ayub Khan (as Shalini's fiance Rohit), turn in competent performances.
Aamir Khan: Nope, haven't forgotten him. No way you can escape him, when he walks away with 'the' role in the film. Probably explains his cat-that-licked-the-whole-tin-of-cream look, you think?!
Facetiousness apart, here's a new Aamir. He's turns on (and off) expressions on a mobile face with consummate ease. Not very many actors dare to do so many close-ups that there are in Dil Chahta Hai AND come out trumps. Aamir does.
He was commanding in Lagaan alright. Here's another class performance.
Dil Chahta Hai:
Is a pep-up. Right from the clothes (Aamir, Saif and Akshaye's college wear) to the sets -- bright reds, deep blues, and rich greens. And from the art deco furniture to Sid's paintings.
Ravi Chandran's camera is so delightfully unobtrusive he makes it look like a piece of cake: Gliding slickly over the Opera House on the sun-dappled Sydney Harbour, focusing with brooding intensity on the many close-up sequences, and artistically playing up Sid in his studio.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music's super woofer quality. Right from the titletrack (though the picturisation didn't quite match its rhythm, I thought), Koi kahen and Tanhayee to the the hilariously-picturised Woh ladki hai kahaan: where director Farhan Akhtar cocks a snook at the Hindi song-and-dance routine.
Hmm. Farhan Akhtar. Has to be said -- it's an impressive debut. The film being his own script, he has developed his characters very well. Which is a lot more than most directors can say these days.
He weaves three stories seamlessly into one composite whole -- especially in the second half of the film. If he falters, it's the melodramatic manner in which he unites Akash and Shalini.
Slick and witty, Dil Chahta Hai is an entertainer. Soppy, too. But good fun!
'I believe in love:' Aamir Khan
'It was a mad unit!': Preity Zinta
'Sameer's closest to me:' Saif Ali Khan
'I didn't want Dil Chahta Hai to end:' Akshaye Khanna
Dimple: The Dil Chahta Hai suprise
My son, Farhan
The story in pictures
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on Dil Chahta Hai
Dil Chahta Hai music review