Twenty Years of Dil To Pagal Hay!
We waited with much anticipation for Yash Chopra movies just like we waited for a birth of a child in the family. There was lots of excitement because it was laced with fantasy. A life a common man can only dream of, a dream that begins to unravel when the lights go off in the theaters. The uber rich people, the lavish homes, poets and dreamers - passionate about love, exotic locales yet exhibiting great family values.
In 1997, Yash Chopra's super-starrer Dil To Paagal Hay made it to the screens and boy were we entranced, once again!
DTPH was the maestro's way of softening the blurry lines between liking a person and loving a person. The premise: that someone somewhere is made for you!
So Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), a director of musicals, Nisha (Karisma Kapoor), his lead dancer, and Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), an amateur dancer that replaces Nisha when she fractures her foot. The movie continues with Rahul and Pooja, celestically the chosen ones for each other, coming together. As the play progresses, their feet match each their steps and pepsinate into each other's hearts and minds. There is jealousy from Nisha, there is apprehension from Pooja, there is insistence from Rahul and then there is lots of heartache and yearning.
Chopra, Bollywood's legendary romantic, encapsulates beautifully the nuances of a man and woman as besties and the difference between friendship and love. Rahul and Nisha are fated by destiny and hooked by love. Their attraction for each other is what great tales of passion and success are made of!
Karishma Kapoor, picked up the role after Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar and Kajol, had turned it down, is simply superb. She gives her heartache a quiet elegance and grace.
Where DTPH lacks is in the pace of the plot. Unlike his many movies, where the peripheral characters were finely etched out in the mosaic of his movies, here the characters are sketchy and inconsistent. Rahul, the cynic, is constantly opposing romantic love and marriage but spends the first half yearning for an ethereal fictional creation.
We are so illusioned by love yet we seem to be quite anxious in the company of it, because we are so fearful of heartache. However, we tend to forget that each step we take towards getting attached to somebody, we also are disjoined from our true being, thus, is love a lie that we tell ourselves or is it a fantasy that we happily get into because real life is too intimidating?