When an actor turns director, the expectations from his film escalate to an all-time high [Atul Agnihotri]. And if the actor turned director has also been an apprentice to someone who understands the craft so thoroughly [in this case, Pankuj Parashar], you obviously view the film with a magnifying glass.
Actor Atul Agnihotri makes his directorial debut with DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA and the thoughts at the conclusion of the film are mixed.
Laced with romance and emotions, DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA satisfies [partly] those who crave for emotional films and tear-jerkers. But there're shortcomings - the scripting and slow narrative figure prominently on the list!
In a nutshell, DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA doesn't break any new ground. The ingredients are blended in such a way that the final concoction, although familiar, has its moments. But, yes, the outcome could've been superior!
Rishabh [Salman Khan] runs an advertising agency, while Pari [Preity Zinta], his wife, is a doctor. They seem destined to live happily ever after, but fate intervenes. Pari meets with a fatal accident and passes away.
Suddenly, Rishabh is all alone. He is devastated. He cannot handle the void in his life. The four walls that once symbolized their love now become a fortress of trapped memories for him.
What stops him from being sucked into a whirlpool of depression is but one slender thread - he has still to fulfill Pari's wish to build a charitable hospital.
Life takes an unexpected turn when Rishabh meets Dhani [Bhumika Chawla]. Rishabh and Dhani are drawn to each other. It is at a later stage that Rishabh learns the truth about Dhani?
Inspired from actress-turned-filmmaker Bonnie Hunt's RETURN TO ME [2000; starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver], DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA could've been an ideal date movie coupled with an emotional saga.
The starting point of the film is interesting. The sequences between Salman and Preity are appealing and the terrific chemistry between the two actors makes the viewer thirst for more. Frankly, the first 30 minutes appeal the most and are the mainstay of the enterprise.
But with Preity's departure, the narrative starts going downhill. The grip is surely missing!
The post-interval portions appeal in parts, unlike the first half when the plusses overpower the minuses. The second half picks up, drops, picks up again and drops with amazing regularity.
The narrative has one major flaw and the writers [Purnendu Shekhar, Aloke Upadhyaya] cannot be pardoned for it. The premise of the film stands on the fact that Salman won't forgive the person who has had the heart transplant. What's more, Salman voices the fact on several occasions, adding that he'd want to spend his life with memories of Preity. Even the doctors avoid revealing the identity of the patient till everything unfolds in the climax.
But when Salman gets to know the truth [in the end], he does a complete somersault and accepts Bhumika instantaneously. This aspect comes as a complete jolt and raises one pertinent question. Does Salman accept Bhumika because he really loves her or because he sympathizes with her, since she's on the deathbed? This aspect should've been better explained.
The post-interval portions also suffer because of the erratic pace and some unwanted scenes. The track involving Aasif Sheikh's romance stands out like a sore thumb. It serves no purpose in moving the story ahead.
Even otherwise, from the writing point of view, the film lacks the meat in the latter reels. There should've been several impactful sequences between Salman and Bhumika that the viewer would carry home. The screenplay is clearly undernourished!
Director Atul Agnihotri's choice of the subject is right and to be fair to him, he has extracted wonderful performances from at least two actors [Salman, Preity], but he should've ensured that the writing is of superior quality. The emotional moments - especially those involving Salman - are the best part of the enterprise.
The music is again mediocre. Despite topnotch names at the helm of affairs [A.R. Rahman, Himesh Reshammiya], the tunes are ordinary. 'Mere Sone Sone Yaar - Balle Balle' and 'Bindiya Chamakne Lagi' are tuneful, but the absence of a chartbusting score is sorely felt. The background music [Vikey Goswami] is lackluster. Cinematography [Stephen Fernandes, Kishore Kapadia] is of standard.
DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA will be most remembered for Salman Khan's genuinely captivating performance. The actor proves to be an expert tour guide through this familiar terrain and carries the film on his broad shoulders. His emotional breakdown sequences are fantastic; it's reassuring the viewer that the actor is taking a step forward with every film.
Yes, some old-fashioned, archaic-thinkers may argue that heroes don't cry and seeing the actor break down would disappoint his fans. But that's all crap. It's time to accept that our heroes are also human!
Preity Zinta is full of life and so endearing. Her scenes with Salman are a highpoint. Bhumika Chawla is strictly okay. She needs to concentrate on her outfits and make-up. The film has a number of character actors, but only Rati Agnihotri and Delnaaz Paul stand out. Riya Sen needs to work hard on her dialogue delivery and accent.
On the whole, DIL NE JISE APNA KAHAA has its moments, but not enough to have a lingering effect. At the box-office, there are several factors that go against it -
* Its slow start at the ticket window would give heartache to its investors.
* There has been an overdose of Salman Khan starrers in the recent past [this is his fourth release in last two-and-a-half months, after GARV, MUJHSE SHAADI KAROGI and PHIR MILENGE]. This over-exposure will only prove harmful.
* And most important, the hype associated with a biggie is clearly missing. Ideally, the film should've been released after a couple of weeks, with added hype and fanfare.
As things stand today, the film will have to rely solely on word of mouth [from ladies] to salvage its position on the box-office charts.