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1997 l U l 180 Mins l Rating:
Rahul (Shahrukh Khan) is a dancer and the director of a successful music and dance troupe. He believes that Nisha (Karisma Kapoor), one of his dancers, is his best friend; Nisha acts like his pal, but is secretly in love with him. Nisha injures her foot and Rahul needs a new dancer. He hires Pooja (Madhuri Dixit). She and Rahul are increasingly attracted to each other, but they act as if it were not happening. Pooja, unknown to Rahul, is already engaged to Ajay (Akshay Kumar), the son of family friends who raised her when her parents were killed. A romance with another man would be scandalous, and be a disappointment to her auntie and uncle, who want to see her marry their son. She tries to keep her distance from Rahul and Rahul, puzzled by her mixed signals, does not push matters. Nisha, however, her senses sharpened by jealousy, sees it all. Rather than try to stop the affair, however...
Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Shahrukh Khan, Karisma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Farida Jalal, Deven Verma, Aruna Irani, Akshay Kumar, Hemlata, Suresh Menon, Murad Ali, Yash Chopra, Rajesh Tandon, Balvinder Singh Suri
by Avinash Ramchandani, Planet Bollywood
Everything boils down to this. After twenty-seven years of Yash Raj Films, two years after the mega-success Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Yash Chopra’s son, Aditya Chopra’s, first directional venture, Dil To Pagal Hai releases. Expectations are high, as this is the first film that Madhuri Dixit acts with Karisma Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan alongside. This is also the first film Shah Rukh Khan acts with Yash Chopra as director after the mega-success Darr.
To start off the music is released and within a month the songs have hit the number one position on the charts and are breaking records all over the world. The music director, Uttam Singh, relatively unknown before this album released (except for a few albums in the eighties), reached a high with his compositions. Anand Bakshi’s mastered the lyrics one more time.
Nothing could have gone wrong, right? Well, maybe.
The story is fairly simple, and may be the only thing lacking in the movie. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), a director, starts with describing a new play that his performing team is going to put on "Maya", translated as "illusion". The lone female dancer in his team is Nisha (Karisma Kapoor). Nisha, madly in love with Rahul, once tells him about her love. As Rahul starts making this play with Nisha in the lead as "Maya", she gets injured, and the real "Maya", Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) arrives. Pooja is arranged to marry Ajay (Akshay Kumar), a businessman from London. Pooja takes the part as Maya hesitantly. From there, the story rolls to the finale quite peacefully.
Shah Rukh Khan dominates the movie. His role as Rahul is played valiantly and may be deserving of an award. Karisma Kapoor dominates her role also. Her talents, shown off again after Raja Hindustani, may make her a mainstay in the film industry. Madhuri Dixit, as Pooja, shows off her talent as an actress, and this role may bring her back into the numero uno spot, as it was left up for grabs because many big name female character films flopped this year.
The music sounds even better in the film than on cassette. The choreography and technical aspects of the direction during the songs show off the real beauty of Yash Raj Films. Yash Chopra’s direction stresses his experience and delicate handling of the movie. Many other directors destroy films at their endings, especially films with weak scripts. The dialogues by Aditya Chopra showed off his young talents. The handling of the dialogues by Yash Chopra may make the dialogues better than they actually were, but they worked well in the context of the movie.
So why not ten out of ten points? There was something missing from this film. Every time I come out of a film feeling special or enlightened, I give it a 10. But this film didn’t make me feel that way. I felt indifferent. That magic that Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or Lamhe had after watching them wasn’t there. A feeling that I am satisfied with what I expected from this film is just not there. Were my expectations too high? Maybe—but those expectations were for this movie to be perfect, a ten out of ten-point movie—even without the emotional attachment of Lamhe or DDLJ. There were two flaws with the movie, one being that the story is weak, and two being that after the movie was finished I felt as if I saw a theatrical performance rather than a real movie. It felt as though the actors actually acted for me and they would go home to their families and live their normal life. Of course that is what is true in real life—Shah Rukh, Karisma, Madhuri and even Akshay have their own lives—but that is not what I realize after most movies are over.
But still this movie is worth at least one watching. Shah Rukh, Madhuri (though a bit chubby), Karisma, and even Akshay do a good job and Yash Chopra’s potentially award winning direction are just a few reasons to go watch it.