SPOILER ALERT: It is really good
Movies are not just good times, it is the pillar of a generation and defines a time in the perception of the society. Bollywood has slowly walked the path of evolution along the mainlanes of growth and crossroads of change.
Bollywood most definitely hit a lull in the final stretches of 20th century. The movie goers were given a high dosage of fake blood, below par direction, and poorly motivated acting on a daily basis. Dil Chahta Hai was released in 2001, when Indian cinema was at its lowest of lows. The stylistic approach of a Bollywood movie got predictable and the inspiration and character arcs became dragged. The era could have been defined as the quite before the storm (in a good way!).
Like every movie, Bollywood itself experienced the comeuppance. The darkness of cinematography in the brightness of movies like ' Hello Brother' proved to be the necessary evil for the acceptance of a new wave in the industry.
At this very moment, enters the young, brash and creative mind of a curly haired, hoarse voiced and genuinely enthusiastic film-maker named Farhan Akhtar. He was not your everyday Director. Akhtar didn't look like one neither did he act like one, but he epitomized the millennial of a country even before we knew they existed. He was the voice of future and the change for the present. Akhtar was the bridge between generations and a welcome break from Sooraj Barjatiya's 5 hour musicals (good ol' 90's).
HOW DOES A MOVIE BECOME A CULT?
Some motion picture follows the formula and succeeds, and once in every lifetime comes a movie that rewrites the formula. We call it 'era defining'. Seventeen years later, it sure feels like a cult.
Farhan Akhtar entered the scene as the director and writer with 'Dil Chahta Hai' in 2001. Dil Chahta hai has been monumental in defining one generation and inspiring another generation towards a whole new outlook in cinematography and life. It introduced the youth to the mass and to itself.
Dil Chahta Hai is the coming of age portrayal of three friends dealing with love, heartbreak and the responsibilities that come with growing up. It is funny, revealing and resembles everyone of us. His writing delves into the character arc of the story as a whole instead of building up each character exclusively. The movie is fast paced with short and clean shots. Akash, played by Aamir Khan starts of as the guy who - 'jokes too much, parties too much and cares too less'. He is rich but like everyone in their mid 20s, he doesn't know what his future holds. Sameer, played by Saif Ali Khan is the best friend everyone deserves. He is funny, vulnerable and always confused. Finally, Sid, was the role written for Abhishek Bachan but played by Akshaye Khanna, indulges into the creative mind of a friend and how love and affection can be perceived as wrong by even the closest ones. Preity Zinta's portrayal of Shalini can most definitely be concurred as one of the most likable character in Indian Movie. The movie is a journey from Akash asking Shalini to marry her to them getting married in the most unconventional way.
The story was simple but the movie was iconic. The movie changed how a generation was portrayed. Dil Chahta hai has the highest of high rewatchable coefficient because of all the classic one liners & back and forth. The movie has reached the status of - 'it's on TV, let me cancel my plans'. If you thought let me watch Aamir Khan get punched by Ayub Khan before I get back to my work . Trust me, you will be wondering 2 hours later, how is Ayub Khan getting punched and I am still here!
Dil Chahta Hai is the coming of age for Bollywood.
The greatness of Dil Chahta Hai can be correlated to its classic scenes more than the movie as a whole.
THE DEFINITIVE REWATCHABLE MOVIE MOMENT RANKING
Akash meets Shalini and gets punched by her fiance.
Sameer's watch stops working and Sameer and Aakash's conversation with Sameer's girlfriend right before their break up.
Sameer going out on Brunch with Pooja and her boyfriend and their hilarious interaction.
Akash going to opera with Shalini and him fighting through his feelings for her.
Aakash punches Rohit because why not.
WHO WON THE MOVIE?
Aamir khan was few weeks removed from Lagaan and this movie installed him as the most versatile actor in Bollywood. Saif re-energized his career and revamped it for the next two decades on the back of Dil Chahta Hai. Aamir Khan's soul patch was also a trend that lasted more than anyone ever predicted, making it a clear winner. The slick and clean fashion sensibility of the movie surely drove the Indian youth for years. Everything being said, Farhan Akhtar won the movie for his refreshing storytelling and unique writing. His writing had the visual implications in Bollywood similar to Micheal Mann or Ridley Scott.
UNWANTED INFORMATION THAT GOOGLE TOLD ME.
Aakshaye Khanna was starred for Aamir's role. The movie was writen with Hrithik Roshan in mind for Saif Ali Khan's role. Hrithik said no to Dil Chahta hai to do Yaadein (Slow Clap worthy). Farhan Akhtar has suggested making an all girls sequel in the future. Asad Dadarkar, the man who played Subodh in the film, was actually Farhan's close friend and Akash's character was loosely based on him (mind-blown!).
Was the story told through the prism of the richest of riches? Yes. Did it tell the story of every millennial coated with a lot of laugh and soul searching? Yes and Yes. Dil Chahta Hai reassured everyone that friends go away but they are never too far away and the happiness lies in the smallest of details with the closest of people.
The boys going on a drive in their Mercedes is not different from you taking a walk down the street with your friends. The movie is all about living in the moment and not the space.
Dil Chahta Hai sells you the visual brilliance but lets you buy-in on the emotional journey.