“Life is all memory except for the one present moment that goes by so quick you can hardly catch it going” said Tennesse Williams. Dil Chahta Hai (दिल चाहता है) was released 10 years ago in 2001 when me and my friends were (finally!) at the end of our college days and our futures looked bright and happy. Colored by that lens, Dil Chahta Hai, or DCH as we came to call it, became the definitive movie for a lot of us. I watched DCH again recently and it was quite a different experience, though I could clearly see why DCH had felt like our movie in the past.
Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna play three rich kids caught in that carerfree twilight zone between college and real life. Aaamir is a prankster who is aloof of love. Saif is innocent and confused about love. Akshaye is the serious type and has fallen in love with an older woman. After a memorable Goa trip, the trio have a spat and Aamir moves away to Australia. Real life catches up with him and he discovers love in Preity Zinta, but is not able to express it. Predictably, his friends return to help him in the act.
Dil Chahta Hai was the debut for director (and now actor) Farhan Akhtar. Though dealing with a standard story, it is told remarkably well with flashbacks. Acting and cinematography are good, but the best memories from this movie are its music. Songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, spun around the poignant poetry of Javed Akhtar. Though Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe gets all the airplay, I personally love the depth of the lyrics in Dil Chahta Hai and Tanhayee. I only need to listen to the title track to open the dam of memories of carefree college days. Chamkeele Din indeed! 😐 In the 10 years since DCH, what has not really aged well is the length of the movie. At 3 hours, it now seems tortuously slow and unnecessarily long drawn out. Farhan should probably create a shorter director’s cut edition sometime. In the year of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a quarter-life-crisis-movie by Farhan’s sister, Dil Chahta Hai still remains a good movie to recollect those times! 😀