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Dil Chahta Hai
  AKA: The Heart Wants
 
  Year: 2001  
  Director: Farhan Akhtar  
  Cast: Aamir Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Dimple Kapadia, Sonali Kulkarni, Suhasini Mulay, Ayub Khan  
The Skinny : A tremendous script and an excellent ensemble cast (especially Akshaye Khanna and Aamir Khan), allow director Farhan Akhtar's debut film to rise above similar-themed romantic dramas. Dil Chahta Hai is emotionally involving, intelligent and a triumph of character development over forced melodrama.
Review
by LunaSea:
     With a 2001 film slate that featured many blockbusters, it's refreshing that a simple story like Dil Chahta Hai could be one of the most compelling films of the yea. Bollywood is clearly evolving, and there are signs of box office decline and lack of creativity. There's also a growing interest in expanding the market, with UK and US distribution becoming more important than ever. However, the most important thing is that India is changing as well. The new generation is bending many traditions in Indian society, economy and culture. At the heart of Dil Chahta Hai is this new generation's way of life, more specifically their problems, successes and failures.
     Sareem (Saif Ali Khan), Aakash (Aamir Khan) and Sid (Akshaye Khanna) have been inseparable friends for over a decade. In their mid twenties, they're coming to an important part of their life as they have to make crucial decisions which will shape their future. They certainly don't have financial problems since they come from upper-class families. Instead, their problems are of a sentimental nature: each one, in their own way, can't find a stable relationship. Sareem is the big (and goofy) romantic of the group, and every week he falls in love with a new woman. He lacks the maturity for a serious relationship, and his emotional instability is a result of that. Aakash is the joker, but he doesn't believe in love. Seeing how his buddies deal with women, and their subsequent results, he's come to believe that true love doesn't exist. Aakash goes from one relationship to the other, not taking anything seriously, and seems afraid and unwilling to grow up.
     There's also Siddarth - or Sid - an artist trying to make sense of his life. He finds a good friend in Tara (Dimple Kapadia), who's fifteen years older but shares something in common with him: a passion for painting. It's not the only thing they share in common, as they're both coming off of difficult relationships. Their love story is dangerous from the beginning, and eventually doomed because of their age difference. Much like real life, a simple altercation drives Aakash and Sid apart, and the film follows their attempts to rebuild their friendship while also trying to find their soulmates.
     Much of the appeal of Dil Chahta Hai comes from the script, which was the deserving winner of a FilmFare Award. Every character is carefully drawn, and while they may seem like clichés, it's the performances that make them real. Aakash's change is particularly effective. The film remarkably depicts how people can quickly grow up when facing reality. Of course there's some melodrama, and it doesn't really pull punches (it wouldn't be Bollywood if it didn't). But, it doesn't feel like the director is cheating you. Despite some incredibly emotional scenes, the film doesn't feel too manipulative, as the scenes represent things we've all experienced and can relate to.
     The cast is fantastic, from Aamir Khan's virtuoso turn - he gradually changes from silly to serious in an equally convincing manner - to Akshaye Khanna's understated portrayal of Sid. Also notable is also Preity Zinta, whose role demands a little more than the usual "crying beauty queen." Almost overshadowed by the story are the film's songs, editing and cinematography, which are all excellent. Director Akhtar had to follow in the footsteps of his father, legendary lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar, and the result is memorable. Dil Chahta Hai is affecting, funny, intelligent and realistic. (LunaSea 2002)
Awards: 2002 FilmFare Awards
Best Film by Critics
Best Supporting Actor (Akshaye Khanna)
Best Comedian (Saif Ali Khan)
Best Screenplay (Farhan Akhtar)
Best Editing (A. Sreekar Prasad)
Best Choreography (Farah Khan)
Availability: Soven Entertainment DVD (India/US)
2-Disc Special Edition
Region All
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Hindi Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English & French Subtitles
 

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