Excel Entertainment's DIL CHAHTA HAI, written-directed by Farhan Akhtar, tells the story of three friends ? Akash (Aamir Khan), Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna).
Akash is a non-believer. He thinks the concept of love is created to ruin perfectly healthy relationships.
Sameer is a believer. He wants to be in love. He loves being in love. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't quite grasped the concept of it just yet. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, he is out there persevering, believing that he will find that 'special her', as long as he keeps searching.
Siddharth is mature, sensitive and understanding. Siddharth aka Sid knows the true meaning of the word ? love. He feels it everyday, every hour, every minute. For his friends, his acquaintances, for the stray dog living outside his gate, for the tree that's just been planted next door. He has reached modern day enlightenment.
DIL CHAHTA HAI is a film about these three distinct characters, their individual relationships and the effect that those relationships have on the three of them.
You expect the moon from DIL CHAHTA HAI as far as entertainment goes and there are three vital reasons behind it:
One, the film stars some of the best names in the business, who have been accredited for their acting prowess.
Two, the film marks the debut of Farhan Akhtar, son of Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, two accomplished writers.
Three, the promotion of the film and the hype it has generated makes it a keenly anticipated film.
So does DIL CHAHTA HAI meet the high expectations? Yes and no!
Let's begin with the uppers?
* The storyline is diverse from the run-of-the-mill fares we've been subjected to since time immemorial.
* The performances of the three lead stars are marvellous. More about this later.
* The music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is refreshingly different. The makers have experimented with a new sound and it works.
* The initial reels are full of light moments and keep the viewer in splits with witty one-liners.
* The look of the film deserves special mention. Technically too, the product is first-rate.
Now the downers?
* The biggest flaw of the film is that it has been treated like an English film. To be honest, it is too western for the Indian masses to digest. Moreover, in the post-interval portions, the story moves on three different tracks, which are alien to each other.
* The second drawback is the length and the pace of the film. The story has been stretched excessively in the second half and what adds to the problems is the lethargic pace of the narration.
* Besides the above-mentioned flaws, the film suffers in the scripting department. The storyline is new, but it has its limitations. It might appeal to a select few in metros; universal acceptance is ruled out.
* The story just doesn't budge in the first half. Actually, the director has concentrated more on incidents/individual sequences to move the narration ahead. The story actually gains momentum at the interval point.
Even otherwise, there are portions where you feel that the script should've been coherent. To cite instances:
From the word 'go', Aamir is projected to be gregarious by nature, but the time he takes to come to terms with the fact that he has indeed fallen in love and the time he takes to convey his feelings to Preity Zinta, contradicts his basic nature.
Akshaye is shown falling in love with a woman elder to him, which may appeal to the elite only.
As a director, Farhan Akhtar makes a brilliant debut. The light sequences in the first half or the interval point when Akshaye slaps Aamir and even some emotional moments in the second half have been shot remarkably.
But as the script writer, he should've known that presenting an English film in the garb of a Hindi film may not catch the fancy of an average Indian cinegoer. The film has an urban look and feel to it and only a faction of cinegoers would take to this kind of a script.
Shankar-Ehsan-Loy's music is pleasing to the ears. What uplifts the score is the picturisation of the songs (Farah Khan), which gels well with the mood of the film. The pick of the lot are 'Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe', 'Jaane Kyon Log Pyaar Karte Hain' and the title track. 'Tanhai' is a gem lyrically and even its picturisation is noteworthy.
Ravi Chandran's cinematography deserves the highest marks. The locales of Sydney and Goa have been shot to perfection. Dialogues are witty, funny and heart-rending.
DIL CHAHTA HAI is a landmark film for Aamir Khan, who proves his supremacy yet again. The actor goes through this difficult role with precision and bolsters the fact that he is the best actor amongst the current lot.
Saif Ali Khan delivers his career-best performance. His scenes with his girl-friend (Suchitra Pillai) in the initial reels and later with Sonali Kulkarni's fianc?re hilarious. Not once do you feel that Saif is overawed by the presence of two powerful actors, for his work is excellent.
Akshaye Khanna conveys a lot through his expressions and that's where he triumphs. An actor par excellence, Akshaye essays this complex character with flourish. The scene with Aamir at the interval point indicates that the guy is amongst the best performers we have today.
Preity Zinta looks hep and emotes with utmost conviction, showing a marked improvement over her previous performances. Sonali Kulkarni is wasted in an insignificant role. Dimple Kapadia is just about okay. Ayub Khan gives a good account of himself. Suhasini Mulay, as Akshaye's mother, is natural.
On the whole, DIL CHAHTA HAI will find patronage and flavour from the youth in Mumbai city and Overseas (in the U.S. and U.K. mainly!), but the film will find the going tough elsewhere in India.