20 years of Dil Se

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All the recent articles online on Dil Se inspired me to re-watch it. The movie completed 20 years and I can recall the first time I watched it when it released. It was in boarding school and some of the impressions left then echo even today.

Though you are all waiting with bated breath to read my rant about the movie, let me start with what I loved.

  • The music. It is magic. I watched the movie with subtitles and oh-my-god, the lyrics blew me away. There is more meaning in every line than a whole movie in today’s times. I can’t get “Dil Se Re” out of my mind. It will be playing on loop till my partner throws me out of the house. And then I will take shelter at a friend’s place till he/she loses patience too. Totally worth it.
  • Manisha Koirala is brilliant. She balances out SRK’s hamming and how. Such a tricky, complex character played so well. She is suitably mysterious in the 1st half and torn between love and loyalty in the 2nd half.
  • Preity Zinta is a great contrast to Manisha’s character and her feistiness is adorable. Asking the guy you are meeting for arranged marriage if he is a virgin is bold by every standard.
  • There was an article online that talked about North Indian arrogance which is complete oblivious to the minorities in far flung states in the country. Even the song Jiya Jale is significant because Preity’s character is a Mallu whose engagement is North Indian style. From a demure bride with henna she is transported to Kerala as a seductress. Wow.
  • The cast. Piyush Mishra, Aditya Srivastava, Mita Vashisht, Raghubir Yadav etc.
  • Watching SRK and Manisha argue in the last scene was my favourite. Both sides of the coin are represented and of course, there is no middle path or compromise possible.

What I absolutely hated:

  • SRK. I get it. He is happy, exuberant, optimistic to balance out Manisha’s character. But tone it down a little, dude. People have called it his best role till date but I disagree. At the same time, I can’t think of another actor who would have done justice to this role. Can you?
  • As a kid, I watched the movie surrounded by my hostel mates. Most of them were SRK’s fans and loved him in it. Even at 14/15 years of age, I knew it was infatuation/attraction and not love that SRK felt for Manisha. There is no such thing at love at first sight. Bollywood movies where the hero stalks, molests and tries to rape the actress onscreen in the name of “love” makes me cringe. “No. No. Just no. Oh god, No”; I want to scream.

Let me decode this for the men

  • No means No
  • Maybe means No
  • If you make a move and she ignores it, it means No
  • If you make a move and she starts avoiding you, it means No
  • Being forced into it means No
  • Being made to feel like she has no option means No
  • If it is half hearted it means No
  • If you have to beg/plead/threaten, it means No
  • Only Yes means Yes. A clear, resounding, leaving-no-room-for-doubt, enthusiastic Yes is the only YES.

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