|Directed by||Mani Ratnam|
|Produced by||Bharat Shah
Ram Gopal Varma
|Written by||Tigmanshu Dhulia
|Screenplay by||Mani Ratnam|
|Story by||Mani Ratnam|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||Suresh Urs|
|Distributed by||Madras Talkies
|Release dates||21 August 1998|
|Running time||158 mins|
|Budget||120 million (US$1.9 million)|
|Box office||175 million (US$2.8 million) (All India Gross)|
Dil Se (translation: From the Heart) is a 1998 Bollywood, romantic thriller film in the backdrop of terrorism, directed by Mani Ratnam. The film stars Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in lead roles while Preity Zinta (in her film debut) appears in a supporting role. Mani Ratnam also co-wrote the screenplay for the film. It is the third in Ratnam's trilogy of terror films that depict human relationships against a background of Indian politics and military, after Roja and Bombay.
Noted for its non linear screenplay, Dil Se was shot in Himachal, Kashmir, Assam, Delhi, Kerala, and other parts of India and Bhutan over a period of 55 days. The film is considered an example of Indian Parallel Cinema. The highly stylized film won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others. The film was a success overseas earning $975,000 (USA) and £537,930 in the UK, becoming the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts. The film won two National Film Awards, and seven Filmfare Awards.
Amar Kant Varma (Shahrukh Khan) is a Program Executive for All India Radio. He is dispatched from New Delhi to cover festivities in the northeastern parts of India, and Kashmir. In the midst of rain storm, on his way to board Baraks Valley Express, he comes across a beautiful woman (Manisha Koirala) and is instantly attracted to the stranger. He tries to talk to her at the railway station, but she does not seem to respond, however when he asks if he can get anything for her she says she would like a cup of tea. As Amar goes to get her tea, her train arrives and she boards with three men.
Later, Amar spots the same woman in the town. He attempts to talk to her but she says she cannot recall meeting him before. As part of his news reporting assignment, Amar interviews many citizens of Kashmir, and an extremist leader, who claim that the reason behind human rights violations, and poverty in the region is due to Indian Government, and that the terrorists do not wish to enter into any dialogue with the government, and further justify their Insurgency attacks and Kashmiri resistance in the region.
A few weeks later, Amar describes his encounter with the woman live at his program recording session over the Radio. Later, he again spots her at a post office (It is later revealed that she is corresponding to her terrorist group in New Delhi, and are planning a suicide attack). At this juncture, she tells him to leave her alone. However he follows her to the house and tells her that he is in love with her, but she resists and tells Amar that she is married. Amar feels embarrassed and wishes to apologise to her, however she arrives with two men (who Amar believes are her husbands) who take Amar away and beat him unconscious.
During the beating, Amar learns that the men are presumably her brothers and that, the woman had lied about her being married. This motivates him to pursue the woman – he then goes to the post office where he initially spotted her and bribes the PCO owner into giving him her contact details. He reaches her home, and learns from the locals, that she is a Kashmiri, and is visiting Ladakh. Amar follows the woman, and spots the woman at a local Festival, Amar claims that he is here as part of his assignment, reporting on the festivals. While shooting at the Festival, a suicide bomber is chased to death by the military. (It is later revealed that the suicide bomber, is part of the terrorist group, and that the woman is associated with him). At this juncture, the woman boards the bus and uses Amar to her advantage, purporting in front of the military personnel that her name is Meghna and that she is with her husband, the radio reporter.
The bus takes off. After reaching a terrain, the bus breaks down and the passengers are stranded to walk to the nearby village. Amar angrily confronts Meghna for having him beaten up with her family – Amar eventually forces himself onto Meghna, causing her to have an anxiety attack. (It is later revealed that she actually suffers from Rape trauma syndrome). The two end up travelling together and recuperate. However, Next day, Amar wakes up only to find Meghna having left. (It is later revealed that Meghna is part of a Kashmir Liberation extremist group which plans a suicide attack in New Delhi at the upcoming Republic Day celebration).
Amar travels back to his home in Delhi. He learns to his surprise that his family has found in Preeti Nair (Preity Zinta) a potential bride for him. Amar agrees to marry Preeti because he does not hope to meet Meghna again. Much to Amar's surprise, Meghna is in Delhi with her group, and requests Amar to help her get an employment as an office assistant at Amar's All India Radio office. (It is later revealed that Meghna actually arrives to Delhi along with her terrorist group and stays in Amar's residence to escape from the CBI inquiry operation).
On his date with Preeti Amar spots one of Meghna's associates who banished him earlier. Amar chases him down to Connaught Place, however by the time local cops interfere, the man kills himself with cyanide. (It is later revealed that the man is also associated with Meghna's terrorist group). Based on eyewitness claims at the Connaught Place incident, Amar is now a prime suspect for the CBI (Piyush Mishra). At this juncture Amar follows Meghna and questions her motives, and she reveals to Amar, that, as a child, she had been a rape victim in the Kunan Poshpora incident and that her soul seeks liberation through her suicide attack on the Indian army and the President of India during the Republic Day. Now the CBI convinces the Army general of India to grant permission to conduct security checks of all the Army convoys and tankers participating in the parade.
Amar is again assaulted by Meghna's brother (Aditya Srivastava) and the terrorists and as Amar fights back the terrorists receive a call from Meghna on their mobile. Amar grabs the mobile and pleads Meghna to stop all this and marry him. Meghna reveals that it is too late, and presumes Amar is being killed. But Amar returns home, only to find out from Preeti that Amar's mom is also being questioned and that Meghna's location is at Sunder Nagar. The CBI also misconstrue that Amar is part of the terrorist group and the investigators arrest Amar at his residence.
Amar claims to the CBI that he is not in cahoots with the terrorists, but in love with Meghna and that he has interviewed one of the extremist leaders and wants to prevent them from perpetrating the attack. The CBI rejects Amar's claims and sedates him for further interrogation. The next day Meghna is ready for the suicide attack. Amar escapes from the CBI and tries to hold Meghna back. Amar expresses his love and desire to be with her, embraces her and pleads her to live with him. Meghna now realises how deeply she is in love with Amar. As they embrace the bomb explodes and they both die, suggesting liberation.
- Shahrukh Khan as Amarkant "Amar" Varma
- Manisha Koirala as Meghna
- Preity Zinta as Preeti Nair
- Raghuvir Yadav as Shukla
- Zohra Sehgal as Grandmother
- Aditya Srivastava as Meghna's brother
- Arundathi Nag as AIR Station Chief
- Sabyasachi Chakrabarty Group member
- Piyush Mishra as CBI investigation officer
- Mita Vasisht as Mita
- Malaika Arora in the item number "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
- Sanjai Mishra as Group Member
- Gajraj Rao as CBI investigation officer
- Priya Parulekar as Young Meghna
Dil Se is said to be a journey through the 7 shades of love that are defined in ancient Arabic literature. Those shades are defined as attraction, infatuation, love, reverence, worship, obsession, and death. The character played by Shahrukh Khan passes through each shade during the course of the film.
The film is a dramatisation of the attraction between a character from the heart of India and another from a peripheral state and a representation of opposites in the eyes of the law and society. Dil Se is described as a film "structured through deferment and unfulfilled teasing promises."  Rediff.com said about the film, "The entire feel of the film is appropriately poetic, with a few romantic exchanges standing out quite memorably. Tigmanshu Dhulia has handled the film's dialogues adroitly. Amid moonlit desert dunes, there is a particularly stirring conversation between the leading pair. Amar reveals his love for Meghna's eyes -- because he can't see the world hidden behind them, and his hate for the same, stunning eyes -- because he can't see the world hidden behind them."
Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton in their book Terror and the postcolonial (2009) believe that the songs and their exotic locations in the film were very important in masking the impossible reconciliation between a terrorist and an uptight government agent by evoking pure fantasy. They argue that this is a phenomenon called the "liminal space of dreaming" in that the terrorist woman cannot fulfill her sexual desire so the songs fill the void of this desire by "their sumptuousness and exotic locales" in the Ladakh region.
Release and reception
Dil Se was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival The film went on to win the Netpac Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, two National Film Awards, and six Filmfare Awards. The film was a box office flop in India. The intense political agenda of the film with the trials of the Assamese on the India-China border, the love story and the fact that it coincided with the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations were cited for its failure at the time. Interestingly, however, it became a major success overseas, particularly amongst the South Asian diaspora in the west. It became the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts. Even two months after its release in September 1998 the film was still screened on five screens, five times per day with an average of 3000 spectators a day for each screen alone in the 14-screen Cineworld complex in Feltham, West London.
Deepa Deosthalee wrote a positive review to the film, calling it "A picture perfect ode to love" and praising the direction, writing and performances.
The film has won the following awards:
1999 Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)
1999 National Film Awards (India)
- Silver Lotus Award - Cinematography - Santosh Sivan
- Silver Lotus Award - Best Audiography - H. Sridhar
1999 Filmfare Awards (India)
- Best Female Debut - Preity Zinta
- Best Music Director - A. R. Rahman
- Best Lyricist - Gulzar for "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
- Best Male Playback - Sukhwinder Singh for "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
- Best Cinematographer - Santosh Sivan
- Best Choreography - Farah Khan for "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
1999 Star Screen Awards (India)
|Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The soundtrack features 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman. Raja Sen of Rediff called it, "Rahman's finest soundtrack, by far." The song "Chaiyya Chaiyya" became especially popular, and was featured as one of the top 10 songs of all-time in an international poll conducted by BBC World Service. The song has been featured in the film Inside Man, in the musical Bombay Dreams, and in the television shows Smith and CSI: Miami. This soundtrack is described as a landmark album in Indian music, with each and every song becoming colossal hits.
The soundtrack was recorded in several other languages. The Tamil version of the track "Chaiyya Chaiyya", entitled "Thaiyya Thaiyya", was sung by Palghat Sriram, although Sukhwinder Singh, who sang the Hindi version was credited as the singer. Malayalam lyrics for the song "Jiya Jale" were penned by Gireesh Puthenchery while the Punjabi part of "Thayya Thayya" was penned by Tejpaul Kour.
The background score was also very much appreciated and said to have contributed largely to the film.
Hindi (Dil Se)
|1.||"Chaiyya Chaiyya"||Sukhwinder Singh & Sapna Awasthi||6:54|
|2.||"Jiya Jale"||Lata Mangeshkar, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus||5:07|
|3.||"Dil Se Re"||A. R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama & Febi Mani||6:44|
|4.||"E Ajnabi"||Udit Narayan & Mahalakshmi Iyer||5:48|
|5.||"Thayya Thayya (Remix)"||Sukhwinder Singh||4:35|
|6.||"Satrangi Re"||Sonu Nigam & Kavita Krishnamurthy||7:25|
All lyrics written by Vairamuthu, all music composed by A. R. Rahman.
|1.||"Thaiyya Thaiyya"||Sukhwinder Singh & Malgudi Subha||6:55|
|2.||"Nenjinile Nenjinile"||S. Janaki, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus||5:09|
|3.||"Sandhosha Kanneere"||A. R. Rahman, Sowmya Raoh, Dominique Cerejo & Kavita Paudwal||6:42|
|4.||"Poongkaatrilae"||Unni Menon & Swarnalatha||5:45|
|5.||"Thayya Thayya (Remix)"||Hariharan||4:19|
|6.||"En Uyire"||Karthik & Sujatha Mohan||7:26|
All lyrics written by Sitarama Sastry, all music composed by A. R. Rahman.
|1.||"Thaiyya Thaiyya"||Sukhwinder Singh & Malgudi Subha||6:52|
|2.||"Innaalilaa Ledule"||K. S. Chithra, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus||5:06|
|3.||"Ninnele"||A.R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama & Febi Mani||6:37|
|4.||"O Priyatama"||Mano & Swarnalatha||7:25|
|5.||"Chaiyya Chaiyya (Remix)"||Sukhwinder Singh||4:17|
|6.||"Ooristhu Ooguthu"||Srinivas & Sujatha Mohan||5:42|
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- Ciecko, Anne Tereska (2006). Contemporary Asian cinema: popular culture in a global frame. Berg Publishers. p. 142. ISBN 9781845202378. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
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- Aftab, Kaleem (October 2002). "Brown: the new black! Bollywood in Britain". Critical Quarterly (Blackwell Synergy) 44 (3): 88–98. doi:10.1111/1467-8705.00435. "The first Bollywood film to enter the UK top 10, Dil Se was nevertheless a flop in India. Such factors attest to the crucial role of the NRI audience in the commercial fate of Bollywood produce."
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- Meyer, Michael (2009). Word & image in colonial and postcolonial literatures and cultures. Rodopi. p. 230. ISBN 9789042027435. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Deosthalee, Deepa (22 August 1998). "A picture perfect ode to love, Dil Se". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
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- "Dil Se - music review by Bhaskar Gupta". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- The Worlds Top Ten — BBC World Service
- "Dil Se Soundtrack". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
- K. Pradeep. "Musical notes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- "Dil Se Soundtrack at arrahman.com". arrahman.com. Retrieved 2013-06-14.