The iconic film Dil Se completes 20 today. The Shah Rukh Khan–Manisha Koirala–Preity Zinta starrer is considered quite significant for its theme, direction, performances and of course music. On this special occasion, we bring to you 10 facts and trivia about the film that’ll surely surprise and amaze you about this film.
1. Chaiyya Chaiyya – A Revenge Saga
That Dil Se‘s iconic song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ was used in the Hollywood film Inside Man is common knowledge. But what many aren’t aware of is the Backstreet Boys connection to the whole affair. As mentioned in the book ‘Conversations With Mani Ratnam‘ by Baradwaj Rangan, it is revealed that Mani Ratnam’s next after Dil Se was a film called Alaipayuthey. It had a scene where the protagonist is listening to a song on his headphones. Mani Ratnam shot the portion by using a song from Backstreet Boys and even used the song during editing as it suited the scene well. Alaipayuthey’s music was with HMV who also had the rights for Backstreet Boys. Mani’s team went through HMV for permission to use the song. But the parent company quoted an insane figure of Rs. 1 crore. Mani Ratnam promptly decided to drop the Backstreet Boys song and composed an original piece. Years later, the same parent company asked for permission to use ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ for free. HMV was ready to grant the permission for free of cost. But Mani Ratnam, who had not forgotten the Backstreet Boys experience, quoted the same figure that was asked from him – Rs. 1 crore – to the said music company. And they agreed to cough up the amount!
2. When SRK worked with RGV
Mani Ratnam already had a banner by then, called Madras Talkies. For Dil Se, he came up with a new production house called India Talkies and he partnered with two other stalwart filmmakers – Shekhar Kapur and Ram Gopal Varma. Sadly, Dil Se was the first and last film of India Talkies.
3. Language is no barrier
Dil Se was the first film of Mani Ratnam in Hindi but he didn’t feel less in control. The Hindi dialogue writer Tigmanshu Dhulia was present on the sets throughout the shoot. It was first written in Tamil by Sujatha and then they were translated in English. The next step was Tigmanshu translating the dialogues in Hindi and also making them sharper. Mani had full trust in his ‘friend’ Tigmanshu and said, “With Tigmanshu, the Hindi dialogues were in safe hands.” He also trusted Shah Rukh Khan to add relevant inputs since he was from Delhi and hence his Hindi was quite good.
4. When SRK bumped into Ramadhir Singh
Tigmanshu Dhulia also has a cameo in the film in a scene set in the post office. He went on to become a prolific filmmaker and also acted in a few films. But as an actor, he became known thanks to the Gangs Of Wasseypur series in which he played the evil and shrewd Ramadhir Singh.
5. “SRK…fantastic to work with”
Mani Ratnam was all praise for his lead actor. He says, “He was fantastic to work with. He is with you all through. He’ll do anything for the film. He’ll do the most dangerous things. If you tell he needs to be on a hill, he’ll be there – he’ll climb up and start doing his movements. You have to keep him in control.”
6. 2 major challenges: SRK’s enthusiasm and pink tea
Ask Mani Ratnam about the most challenging aspects of making Dil Se and he says, “Keeping Shah Rukh’s enthusiasm in control.” The other problem he faced was the Pink Tea in Ladakh, as the milk used for the tea is of yak, which has the distinct colour. Surprisingly, these two aspects proved to be challenging for Mani Ratnam and not the language or weather conditions!
7. SRK and Kajol in an as Mast
After Iruvar, Mani Ratnam was all set to make Alaipayuthey as a Hindi film. He says, “(For Alaipayuthey), I met Shah Rukh. I told him the story. We even spoke to Kajol. I was looking at a film about a man and a woman before and after marriage – and Shah Rukh and Kajol looked like people you could easily do that film with.” He even registered the title of the film – Mast. The director-producer even completed the film’s recce but didn’t shoot as he was not happy with the script. So he moved on to Dil Se. After finishing Dil Se, he cracked the script of Alaipayuthey and made it non-linear. However, he ended up making it as a Tamil film. Alaipayuthey was later remade in Hindi as Saathiya in 2002. SRK managed to make up to this Hindi remake but in a special appearance. Meanwhile, a year after Dil Se, Mast became the title of co-producer Ram Gopal Varma’s directorial starring Urmila Matondkar and Aftab Shivdasani.
8. A love triangle literally and geographically
The three protagonists of Dil Se were from three different parts of India. While Meghna aka Moina (Manisha Koirala) is from the North East, Amar (Shah Rukh Khan) is a resident of Delhi in the North. Preeti (Preity Zinta) meanwhile hails from the South. Baradwaj Rangan rightly points out, “They form a literal cartographic triangle, apart from the love triangle they are enmeshed in.”
9. Jiah Khan in Dil Se?
Did Jiah Khan play the role of the young Manisha Koirala as claimed by IMDb? In fact, a lot of websites and news agencies mentioned about this bit when the young actress ended her life in 2013. The truth, however, is that it was not Jiah but Priya Parulekar who played the said role.
10. A rare film based in the North East
Dil Se was one of the very rare films, then and even today, that is based in North East (but shot in Ooty and Dalhousie) and has a character from that region. Prior to Dil Se, one significant film in this regard was the Dev Anand-Sharmila Tagore 1972 starrer Yeh Gulistan Hamara. But it got into problems thanks to the song ‘Mera Naam Aao’ which was considered particularly offensive to the Ao Naga community in Nagaland and was subsequently removed. Dil Se thankfully sensitively handled this aspect, though it showed about insurgency prevalent there and didn’t actually focus on the general life of the citizens.