|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||India Talkies
|21 August 1998|
|Budget||₹11 crore (US$1.7 million)|
|Box office||₹28.26 crore (US$4.4 million)|
Dil Se (translation: From the Heart) is a 1998 Bollywood, romantic thriller film in the backdrop of Insurgency in Northeast India, written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and produced by Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, and Shekhar Kapur. 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 after Roja and Bombay. An example of Parallel Cinema, the film won the Netpac Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.
The film was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival. Noted for its non linear screenplay, the 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 six 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 Northeast India. On his way there, during a rainy night, Amar stops at Haflong train station to catch Baraks Valley express, as the train runs late, Amar meets a mysterious woman by herself who asks him for a cup of tea. When he returns with the tea, he watches her board the next train with three male passengers. Later, Amar spots the same woman in Silchar. He attempts to talk to her but she says she cannot recall meeting him before. As part of his news reporting assignment, for the occasion of fifty years of Indian Independence, Amar interviews many citizens of Barak Valley, 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 Liberationists do not wish to enter into any dialogue with the government, and further justify their resistance in Utthar Purv.
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 reaches her home, and learns from the locals, that she is a Kashmiri. Amar then goes to the post office where he initially spotted her and bribes the PCO owner into giving him her contact details, and learns that she is into telephoning to Ladakh. Subsequently, Amar travels to Leh, and while recording the Sindhu Darshan Festival, a suicide bomber is chased to death by the military, at this juncture Amar spots the woman again. (It is later revealed that the suicide bomber, is part of the terrorist group, and that the woman is associated with him). The woman boards the bus, while Amar claims to the military, that he is here reporting on the festival, the woman uses Amar to her advantage, purporting in front of the military personnel 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. En route Amar forces the woman to reveal her name, and finds out that she is Meghna. 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 Liberationists group which plans multiple suicide attacks 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) from Kerala, a potential bride for him. Amar agrees to marry Preeti because he does not hope to meet Meghna again. On his date with Preeti, Amar spots one of Meghna's associates, Kim who banished him earlier. Amar chases him down to Connaught Place, however by the time local cops interfere, the man kills himself with cyanide, and the cops handle the situation to CBI.
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). Based on eyewitness claims of the Connaught Place incident, Amar is now a prime suspect of the CBI (Piyush Mishra). At this juncture Amar follows Meghna and questions her motives, and she reveals to Amar, that, her name is actually Moina, and 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 Moina's brother (Aditya Srivastava) and the terrorists and as Amar fights back the terrorists receive a call from Moina on their mobile. Amar grabs the mobile and pleads Moina to stop all this and marry him. Moina 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 Moina'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 Moina is ready for the suicide attack. Amar escapes from the CBI and tries to hold Moina back. Amar expresses his love and desire to be with her, embraces her and pleads her to live with him. Moina now realises how deeply she is in love with Amar, and cannot let go. As they embrace, the explosive vest worn by Moina explodes, killing them both.
Sameer Chanda, and Wasiq Khan were the production and art designers for the film. The principal photography took place in Himachal, Leh, Assam, New Delhi, Kerala, and Bhutan over a period of 55 days. Tigmanshu Dhulia was the casting director. Pia Benegal and Manish Malhotra were the costume designers, Simran Bagga was Mani Rathnam's first choice for the role that Preity Zinta eventually accepted. The soundtrack "Chaiyya Chaiyya" was shot between Malaika Arora and Shah Rukh Khan on top of the Nilgiri Express, en route Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri, the train is particularly painted in brown for the song sequence. The travelling scenes, other crucial scenes were shot between Manisha Koirala and Shah Rukh Khan near Alchi Monastery, during the Sindhu Darshan Festival in Leh. The longest soundtrack of the film "Satrangi Re" with the lead pair was shot near Thikse Monastery, the mystical Basgo Monastery ruins, and Pangong lake near Pangong Tso in Ladakh. The soundtrack of "Jiya Jale" was shot between Priety Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan near Athirappilly Falls, Alappuzha backwaters, Periyar National Park, and Periyar Lake in Kerala. Several action sequences in the film choreographed by Allan Amin were shot near Connaught Place, New Delhi, Rajpath and Old Delhi.
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. Authors Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti of Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance also compared Khan's romance in the film to the trajectory of love in ancient Arabic literature, believing the lyrics in two of the songs to have delivered an "apocalyptic fatalism".
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 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 became a major factor for its success overseas, particularly amongst the South Asian diaspora in the west.
The film 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 a colossal hit.
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"||Srinivas & 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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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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