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Raja Sen | August 19, 2005 15:17 IST

Dil Chahta Hai 

The Film:

There's not a lot one can say about Dil Chahta Hai, Farhan Akhtar's delightful directorial debut. We've all seen it, we have our favourite moments from the film, and most of us like it considerably. After a week rife with Aamir-critiques for the Ketan Mehta debacle, I decided to revisit the actor's last film, and am superbly glad I made that decision.

Dil Chahta Hai looks even better in hindsight, four years after it was made, than it initially did in theatres.

Dil Chahta HaiThe DVD makes us realise how the film bucked several new trends. It brought to the forefront Ravi K Chandran, arguably Bollywood's best (Black, Paheli) cinematographer today; Saif Ali Khan, a then written-off actor who picked up the National Award a couple of weeks ago; an unapologetically urban, very real script; and a fresh and witty male-bonding film, something we certainly don't see enough of.

Which movie would you recommend?

The film is about three buddies. Sid (Akshaye Khanna, in the role of his career) is a quiet artist, a geek whose jaw drops as he watches Speed, a comfortably spaced out dreamer decidedly in love with an older woman (Dimple, for god's sake, we'd all be in love!) and unwavering in his beliefs. Saif, the film's revelation, plays Sameer, a dude with the coolest t-shirts in town and a compulsive need to be 'in love', a tag he optimistically attaches to each of his passing flings. He usually ends up falling flat on his bum, but this is the man who makes this film special.

Then, there's Aamir. Akash is the filmi-est and more obvious of the trio, a detached loner with a sarcastic streak and a goatee that frustrated mothers across the country. The leader of the pack, he's not into the whole idea of love, but ends up falling head over heels over Preity Zinta in full Bollywood ishtyle. Some might complain that this is the plot's sell-out story arc, but it's undeniably this that made the film a hit. And Aamir takes a cardboard character and infuses him with depth and verve, a then 36-year-old actor playing a college-boy with super panache.

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A trendsetting film in terms of look and feel, and a triumph for art direction, Dil Chahta Hai stands as Farhan Akhtar's thoughtfully crafted labour of love. A film that, even for the most serious of movie critics, often emerges on the 'guilty pleasure' list. And yes, worth several repeats.

The Extras:

Why, Farhan, why? This is no place for kanjoosi, man.

Okay, lets start with what we have:

A longish making-of featurette, which is interesting enough. This has interviews with the entire cast and crew (Dimple is conspicuous by her absence), and most of them have something to say, despite constantly repeated assertions of the film's freshness. A decent behind-the-scenes look at the process.

Deleted scenes: 3. Count 'em, three scenes. An interesting conversation bit with Dimple and Akshaye; a slightly too dramatic conversation bit with Dimple and Akshaye; and the gem of the disc -- a poignant by-the-sea discussion between Saif and Akshaye, probably the first shot showing the characters realising they are, inevitably, growing up.

Dil Chahta HaiBut that's it.

All right, a couple of trailers for the film. But where's the commentary track? I mean, isn't that a basic feature now? Shouldn't we get to hear Farhan hem and haw over something he should be proud of? We demand insights. In fact, there should be a separate commentary track with all three actors giggling about the scenes they shot, and how realistic the paint-fight in the beginning of the film was.

And with a film that's this much fun, it's criminal to not have outtakes. A clever cast, a great script: we need to see all the improvisation, all the stuff that wasn't safe for theatres, the on-set bloopers, all the laughs.

Well, maybe for the 10th anniversary DVD, eh, Farhan? Pretty please?

Which movie would you recommend?



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