Two decades down the line, why is Dil Se one of parallel cinema’s most beautiful offerings?

Loving someone deeply makes you feel vulnerable. Love someone deeply and your heart is bound to get broken into pieces. Love ends up intoxicating the mind. It makes you feel miserable. The beginning of love is unpredictable, while the end of it is sad, but all that happens in between makes the experience worthwhile and pretty much unforgettable.

Mani Ratnam’s 1998 romantic thriller ‘Dil Se’, a film starring Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, and Preity Zinta brings to light the extent of fragility and emotional turmoil one goes through when one falls in love. The film, shot across picturesque locations such as Assam, Leh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Bhutan, explores the seven stages of love mentioned in ancient Arabic literature.

These are:

  • Hub (attraction)
  • Uns (infatuation)
  • Ishq (love)
  • Akidat (trust)
  • Ibadat (worship)
  • Junooniyat (obsession and madness)
  • Maut (death)

Shahrukh Khan’s character Amar goes through all these stages after he meets Meghna (Manisha Koirala). At a time when Bollywood films focused excessively on foreign locations and baseless romance, Dil Se ‘dared’ to throw light on an issue as sensitive as the insurgency in India’s Northeast. The film is painted with a multitude of human emotions, right from love, innocence, and fragility to pain, anguish, and vulnerability.

What makes the film stand out?

A simple and innocent love story:

No exaggeration, no fancy outfits, no heavy piles of makeup, no fancy locations, just pure romance. The film has countless traces of innocence. Amar meets a mysterious woman on a rainy night at the Haflong railway station to catch the Barak Valley Express. She asks him to bring a cup of tea, but when he returns with two cups of tea, Amar witnesses the woman boarding a train along with 2-3 male passengers.

Amar meets Meghna yet again, this time in Assam. The rest of the story deals with various encounters between the two characters that end up bringing them closer to a point where they find it hard to live without each other. Amar returns to Delhi after completing the assignment, but as luck would have it, their paths cross again.

The film, with its tight and gripping storyline, doesn’t go off-track even once. Making a film showcasing the seven stages of love mentioned in the Arabic literature came as a breath of fresh air at a time when Bollywood producers were busy producing masala romantic and action films.

Soulful Music:

Dil Se’s music has undoubtedly been one of the prime reasons behind the film’s growing popularity in recent years. The soulful compositions of A.R. Rahman, backed by heart-warming lyrics by Gulzar sahib sound like poetry in motion. Right from ‘Chaiyya-Chaiyya’ to ‘Ae Ajnabee’ and ‘ Satrangi Re’, the film’s soundtrack is ornamented by a wide range of emotions.

The Song ‘ Chaiyya-Chaiyya’, sung by Sapna Awasthi and Sukhwinder Singh, has been filmed on a moving train and talks about a male lover’s love for his partner. The song borrows a lot of words from the Urdu language in order to paint a colorful imagery. Some of the lines from the song are as follows:

Woh yaar hai jo khushboo ki tarah,
Woh jiski zubaan Urdu ki tarah
Meri shaam raat, meri kainaat
Woh yaar mera saiyaa saiyaa

Other songs such as Jiya Jaley, Ae Ajnabee, and Satrangi Re were no less popular and became superhits overnight.

Another major feature of the soundtrack is that the songs blend effortlessly into the film. No song looks out of place. All of these songs are popular till date. The beauty of Dil Se’s music album has grown by leaps and bounds over all these years and is expected to grow even further in the times to come.

Poetry in Motion:

I remember Sabyasachi Chatterjee telling Manisha Koirala’s character

‘Ishq mein nasha hota hai, yeh hamaare liye nahi hai’

This is one of the countless dialogues that sound pleasing to the ears. Tigmanshu Dhulia has handled the dialogues with perfection. The sheer rawness of the dialogues adds significantly to the beauty. Most of the dialogues sound like poetry to the ears.

Tackling a Sensitive Issue to Perfection:

At a time when producers and directors shied away from throwing light on sensitive issues such as terrorism and political instability in India’s northeast, Dil Se broke all the barriers and threw ample light on the reasons behind the insurgency. The atrocities inflicted by the army on the citizens were also portrayed skillfully.

Despite having a tight and gripping storyline, great music, and excellent performances, the film failed to garner positive reviews in India. Most people disliked the film simply because ‘Ladki toh terrorist thi”. Two decades down the line, the film remains one of parallel cinema’s finest offerings.

Talent Drain: Cricketers are Becoming ‘Guns for Hire’

With the advent of T20 cricket, playing for the country seems to have taken a backseat. There used to be a time when donning national colours and scoring big hundreds used to be a cricketer’s biggest priority. It was a time when failing at the international level marked an end of a cricketer’s career. But today, even if you aren’t a top cricketer with piles of runs behind your back, you can still make it big and earn a living by plying your trade in overseas T20 leagues. The thrills and spills of the Indian Premier League, the BBL (Australia), the Vitality Blast (UK), and the CPL (West Indies) offer cricketers with a host of opportunities to showcase their talent and earn big bucks.

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Over Dependency on Kohli Not the Only Worry Engulfing the Men in Blue…

An all-round show from Sam Curran, followed by some late resurgence from Ben Stokes snatched away a well-deserved Indian victory at Edgbaston. Well, a target of 194 wasn’t a big one, certainly not for the table-toppers.

A major reason behind the loss was the Indian batting line-up’s over-dependence on Kohli. It goes without saying that for almost half a decade now, the Indian batting lineup has been reliant on Virat Kohli. India’s miraculous home season in 2016-2017 coincided with Kohli’s dream run with the willow in hand. He has scored six double centuries in just a year and a half.

However, five out of Kohli’s six double tons have been scored on the slow turning tracks of the Indian Subcontinent. A solitary double century also came against a largely-depleted West Indian pace attack on the flatbeds of Antigua in 2016.

Kohli, undoubtedly, is a world-class player, with 57 international centuries already under his belt, but the team’s over-reliance on the star right-hander has been a grave concern in the recent past.  The recently-concluded Birmingham test also sheds light on the batting line-up’s over-dependence on Kohli, wherein 149 runs out of a total tally of 274 runs in the first innings were scored by the Indian skipper himself. That’s more than 54% of the total runs scored during the first innings.

The problems don’t end here. There are quite a few chinks in the armour that need to be addressed before the test at Lord’s begins on August 9.

  • Who Bats Where?

This, in all fairness, is the biggest question that needs to be answered before the 2nd test. There certainly isn’t a dearth of options, but with several batsmen struggling to score on the seaming tracks of England, the playing XI might undergo a significant transformation before the second test. Dhawan might be seen vacating the opening slot for Lokesh Rahul. Pujara, on the other hand, is most likely to replace Ajinkya Rahane, who is witnessing a significant dip in form.  If that happens, then Cheteshwar Pujara would come in at three, followed by Virat Kohli in at four. We might also see Karun Nair coming in at five, followed by Dinesh Karthik the glovesman and Hardik Pandya, the seaming all-rounder. Ashwin can bat at eight to add depth to the batting order. India’s batting order is quite similar to a  jigsaw puzzle wherein, you don’t know which piece will go where.

  • Would Rahane Make Way for Pujara?

Virat Kohli’s call to drop Cheteshwar Pujara from the starting XI was met coldly by most cricket Pandits. Harsha Bhogle, in one of his tweets featured on Cricbuzz, he threw light on Pujara’s poor run in county cricket this year but reiterated that, given Pujara’s stature in long-form cricket,  he’d be surprised if Pujara doesn’t get to play in the five-match series. With a solid technique and an array of classical strokes under his kitty, Pujara will be India’s best bet to bat at three. The fact that he has played a fair amount of county cricket over the years for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Yorkshire also adds weight to Pujara’s credentials.

  • Handling Lokesh Rahul
    An elegant batting technique, a hunger to succeed at the highest level, and classical strokeplay, KL Rahul has every single attribute one needs to succeed in all three formats of the game. At 25, the Karnataka batsman has showcased his class and caliber, but only in patches. The fact that Shikhar Dhawan’s exploits in all forms of the game have made him pretty much an automatic choice has perhaps gone against Rahul.  Batting at three in the 1st test at Edgbaston, he was dismissed cheaply in both the innings. The 25-year-old’s dismissals in both the innings had less to do with a slump in form, and more to do with his insecure place in the batting order. For the Indians to come good at Lord’s, they need to send Rahul up the order. Getting him to open the batting by dropping Dhawan is perhaps the best thing the Indian think-tank can do. Sending him to open the batting would allow Rahul to take his own sweet time to get his eye in.
  • Who Would Sit Out?
    An easy call this. Given Rahane’s poor form, he’d possibly sit out of the playing XI to make way for Pujara. Dhawan, on the other hand, might also be dropped with Lokesh Rahul taking his place as an opener. With Dhawan warming the bench, Karun Nair might find a place in the playing XI.

    As far as the bowling lineup is concerned, Umesh Yadav is most likely to be dropped to make way for Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. The likes of Ishant, Shami, and Ashwin are expected to retain their places in the playing XI.

  • Probable XI
    KL Rahul
    M. Vijay
    Cheteshwar Pujara
    Virat Kohli (c)
    Karun Nair
    Dinesh Karthik (w)
    Hardik Pandya
    R. Ashwin
    Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
    M. Shami
    Ishant Sharma




The Last Leaf by O Henry is an Epitome of Never-ending Hope and Optimism

I remember watching the film ‘Lootera’ starring actors Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. The fact that the film was inspired by a short story was a good enough reason for me to go and watch the film on the big screen. The film was an Indianised adaptation of a short story written by O Henry,. It also had a host of heart-warming moments. By the time the movie ended, I was in tears, with a feeling of melancholy holding me tightly in its grip. I must confess I was deeply moved by Sonakshi Sinha’s character named Pakhi, a young Bengali girl suffering from Tuberculosis. The experience had triggered my emotions to quite an extent.

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