English release poster
|Directed by||Mani Ratnam|
|Produced by||Mani Ratnam|
Ram Gopal Varma
|Screenplay by||Mani Ratnam|
|Story by||Mani Ratnam|
|Starring||Shah Rukh Khan|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||Suresh Urs|
|Distributed by||Eros International|
|21 August 1998|
|Box office||₹28.5 crore|
Dil Se.. (lit. From the Heart..) is a 1998 Indian romantic thriller film set in the backdrop of the insurgency in Northeast India, written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and produced by Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, and Shekhar Kapur. The film stars Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in the lead roles, while Preity Zinta makes her film debut in a supporting role. Written by Ratnam and Tigmanshu Dhulia, the film is an example of parallel cinema and is noted as the final installment of Ratnam's thematic trilogy that consists of Roja (1992) and Bombay (1995).
The film was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival. Noted for its aspects nonlinear storytelling, the film won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others. The film was a success overseas earning $975,000 in the United States and £537,930 in the United Kingdom, becoming the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts, and it was also a hit in Japan. The film won two National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards, while also receiving a special mention at the Netpac Awards. The film's soundtrack album, composed by A. R. Rahman, sold six million units in India.
Amarkant Varma (Shahrukh Khan) is a program executive for All India Radio, dispatched from New Delhi to cover festivities in Assam. At Haflong train station, as he waits for the Barak Valley Express, he asks someone for a match, who turns out to be woman (Manisha Koirala), who in turn asks him for a cup of tea. When he returns with the tea, he watches her boarding the next train with three men.
Later, Amar spots the same woman in Lumding. 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 Assam, and an extremist chief (Gautam Bora), who claims that the reason behind human rights violations and poverty in the region is the Indian Government, that the Liberationists do not wish to enter into any dialogue with the government, and further justifies their resistance in Utthar Purv (Northeast India).
Amar again spots her making a phone call at a post office. At this juncture, she tells him to leave her alone and that she is married. Amar wishes to apologize to her, but later two men beat him unconscious.
Amar 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 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, and Amar spots the woman again on a bus and boards the same bus. While military officals question each passenger, the woman tells that Amar is her husband.
The bus breaks down mid-way and the passengers are required to walk to a nearby village. En route Amar forces the woman to reveal her name: Meghna. The two end up traveling together and recuperate. In the morning, Amar wakes to find Meghna gone.
Amar returns to his home in Delhi, where his family has found Preeti Nair (Preity Zinta) from Kerala as a potential bride for him. Amar agrees to marry Preeti because he has no hope that he will ever 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, where the man kills himself with a cyanide pill after being stopped by local police. Because of the extremist nature of the situation, the police relinquish the incident to the CBI.
Much to Amar's surprise, Meghna shows at his house and asks Amar to help her get a job as an office assistant at All India Radio office. Meghna actually arrives in Delhi 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 of the army and seeks liberation through her suicide attack on the Indian army and the President of India during 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 associate (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 with 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 mother is also being questioned and that Moina's location is at Sunder Nagar. The CBI suspects that Amar is part of the terrorist group and arrests him.
Amar claims to the CBI that he is not in cahoots with the terrorists, but in love with Moina 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. When she is still indecisive, he tells her he will even die with her if she does not wish to stop her suicide attempt. He embraces her and continues to plead with her to live with him. As they embrace, the explosive vest worn by Moina explodes, killing them both.
- Shahrukh Khan as Amarkant Varma
- Manisha Koirala as Moina/Meghna
- Preity Zinta as Preeti Nair
- Mita Vasisht as Mita
- Arundhati Rao as Kanval Dev Burman – AIR station director
- Raghuvir Yadav as Shukla ji – AIR manager
- Zohra Sehgal as Amar's Grandmother
- Janagaraj as Taxi Driver
- Gautam Bora as terrorist Leader
- Sabyasachi Chakrabarty as terrorist
- Aditya Srivastava as terrorist
- Sanjay Mishra as terrorist
- Anupam Shyam as terrorist
- Shabbir Masani as terrorist
- Krisn Kant as Kim terrorist
- Manjit Bawa as terrorist
- Sheeba Chaddha as tara didi (meghna's sister)
- Piyush Mishra as CBI investigation officer
- Gajraj Rao as CBI investigation officer
- Priya Parulekar as Young Moina
- Vanitha Malik as amar's mother
- Tigmanshu Dhulia as cameo appearance as man at the post office
- Sameer Chanda as cameo appearance Tuba music shop dealer
- Shaad Ali as cameo as citizen of Silchar
- Wasiq Khan as cameo
- Pia Benegal as cameo
- Chintu Mohapatra as cameo
- Karan Nath as cameo
- Hemant Mishra as cameo
- B. M. Shah as cameo
- R. K. Nair as Preeti's father
- Alka as Preeti's Mother
- Rajiv Gupta as Sub inspector
- Avtar Sahani as Army general
- Lakshmi Rattan as Hazarika army official
- Suhail Nayyar as child artist
- Jessica as child artist
- Subhadeep Sanyal as child artist
- Malaika Arora in the item number "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
Sameer Chanda, and Wasiq Khan were the production and art designers for Dil Se. The principal photography took place in Himachal Pradesh, 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 was Mani Rathnam's first choice for the role that Preity Zinta eventually accepted. The song "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 song 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 song "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 seven shades of love that are defined in ancient Arabic literature. Those shades are defined as an 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 dramatization 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 memorable. 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 hate for Meghna's eyes – because he can't see the world is hidden behind them and his love 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
Though Dil Se received a poor box office response in India, it found success overseas. It 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 was officially dubbed and released in Tamil as Uyire and became popular in Tamil Nadu. An unofficial Telugu dubbed version was also released but it couldn't earn any single attention.
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 across all screens in the 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 was included in Time Magazine's "Best of Bollywood" list in 2010. Dil Se was also a hit in Japan.
The film has won the following awards:
|Award||Category||Recipients and Nominees||Results||Notes|
|1999 Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)||Netpac Award||Mani Ratnam||Won||Special Mention|
|1999 National Film Awards (India)||Best Cinematography||Santosh Sivan||Won||Silver Lotus Award|
|Best Audiography||H. Sridhar||Silver Lotus Award|
|1999 Filmfare Awards (India)||Best Female Debut||Preity Zinta||Won|
|Best Music Direction||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"|
|Best Actress||Manisha Koirala||Nominated|
|1999 Star Screen Awards (India)||Best Male Playback||Sukhwinder Singh for "Chaiyya Chaiyya"||Won|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||8 July 1998|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
The soundtrack features six songs composed by A. R. Rahman. Raja Sen of Rediff called it, "Rahman's finest soundtrack, by far." The soundtrack album sold six million units in India. The song "Chaiyya Chaiyya", based on Sufi music and Urdu poetry, became especially popular and the song has been featured in the film Inside Man, in the musical Bombay Dreams, and in the television shows Smith and CSI: Miami. 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 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.||"Ae Ajnabi"||Udit Narayan & Mahalakshmi Iyer||5:48|
|5.||"Thayya Thayya (Remix)"||Sukhwinder Singh||4:18|
|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 & Palakkad Sriram||6:55|
|2.||"Nenjinile Nenjinile"||S. Janaki, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus||5:09|
|3.||"Sandhosha Kanneere"||A. R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Febi Mani, Anupama||6:42|
|4.||"Poongkaatrilae"||Unni Menon & Swarnalatha||5:45|
|5.||"Thayya Thayya (Remix)"||Srinivas, Sukhwinder Singh & 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, Sowmya Raoh, Dominique Cerejo & Kavita Paudwal||6:43|
|4.||"O Priyatama"||Mano & Swarnalatha||5:44|
|5.||"Chaiyya Chaiyya (Remix)"||Sukhwinder Singh||4:17|
|6.||"Ooristhu Ooguthu"||Srinivas & Sujatha Mohan||7:25|
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The first Bollywood film to enter the UK top 10, Dil Se / Uyire 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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