Intro to Bollywood, Movie #5: Dil Chahta Hai

You know when you watch something and it’s rabid love? Yeah, that’s my relationship with Dil Chahta Hai. Well, that’s what it was when I first saw it.

Dil Chahta Hai is a 2001 bromance and romance starring Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna and Aamir Khan. It tells the story of three friends, their relationships with each other as well as with the women in their lives.

The movie starts off at a hospital where Sid (Akshaye Khanna) is being informed that his loved one needs a liver transplant.  He calls Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) for some support who then calls their third friend, Akash (Aamir Khan), to join them at the hospital. He, however, refuses and it’s clear that his relationship with Sid is on shaky ground. Sid and Sameer catch up on each other’s lives then we are taken back to their college graduation party.

This is where we get to know more about the characters. Akash is a playboy who hits on an engaged girl, Sameer is a henpecked boyfriend who appears to fall for every woman he meets and Sid is more of the introspective, arty type.

The beginning of the movie is quite loosely plotted and we spend a bit of time just enjoying the guys and their bromance. We watch them get up to no good both at home and in Goa. Then we are introduced to our first romance.

Sid is walking home when he comes across a new neighbor moving her stuff into her home. Her bags are heavy and he offers his help. Her name is Tara and she’s a beautiful older woman with a troubled life. She’s interested in his paintings and being the sensitive type, it’s no surprise that he eventually falls for her.

As he falls for her, he and his friends are still having their happy-go-lucky lives with Sameer falling in and out of love with various women and Akash being his usual playboy self till things come to a head when Akash thoughtlessly offends Sid. The friends part ways and so do the story lines.

Since Akash has yet to find focus since graduation, his father sends him to manage the Australian office. That’s where he meets Shalini, the girl he’d hit on at the graduation party, and his love story begins. Like the typical hero, he doesn’t believe in love and believes that relationships should only have a two week lifespan. As previously mentioned, she’s already engaged and planning her wedding so this story deals with the complications of a reluctant hero falling for an unavailable woman. Anyone who’s seen a few Bollywood movies knows this isn’t exactly original but Akash is fun so this one is entertaining.

The third story involves the always in love Sameer and the woman his parents arrange for him to marry. He dates a lot and has never considered getting married this way so when his parents spring it on him, he makes no promises. His love interest, Pooja, also has no interest in the union since she already has a boyfriend. When they meet, she informs him of her status and they agree to refuse the match. Even though Sameer agrees, he once again has fallen in love but now, must figure out a way of stealing her away from her boyfriend.

The rest of the movie deals with exploring these three romances and eventually, healing the broken bromance between the boys.

Aamir Khan is one of my favorite actors and watching him play a recent college grad in his 30s was a bit jarring but then again, he recently played a college student in 3 Idiots at the age of 44 so I guess it could have been worse. The other guys, though younger, also both looked too old for their roles but it was easy to get over this minor issue.  All actors performed well in their roles, although Saif was the weakest (with the weakest plot) and the same can be said of their female counterparts and once again, Saif’s was the weakest.

The movie is a very urban film so one looking for sarees and castles will be better served looking elsewhere. But I think this story is very relatable to an international audience because although it’s very Indian, it’s also within that young, global culture that city dwellers all over the world share.

For me, it’s just an entertaining, humorous, somewhat touching film. While I raved about how I just loved my Sid, my sister was going on and on about Akash. So given that there are three heroes, there’s probably at least one person you’ll fall for or relate to.

The songs were well placed and directed and I particularly enjoyed the songs for Akash’s segments (Tanhayee and Jaane Kyon).

This is a movie well worth watching and recommended to anyone interested in a fun movie about friendship, romance and unselfish love with a dash (or two dashes) of comedy.

2 Comments

  • This is definitely one of my all time favourite Bollywood films, and mostly because of the bromance. It also doesn’t hurt that Aamir Khan is my favourite Bollywood actor. I also liked how even though at the beginning I found Akash completely irritating, but by the end I was wholeheartedly cheering for him. I also love the scene (and the music) where he realizes he loves her. It’s completely cheesy, but I love it all the same.

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