It is kind of poetic that as the box office goes “mantal” over Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara‘s continued super successful screenings, this weekend marks ten years since Dil Chahta Hai released. 2001 was a landmark year for me. I finished school, left my sleepy, small hometown behind and moved to Calcutta to attend college and stay on my own. I clearly remember the Sunday afternoon when my new friends and me crammed into a yellow cab and went to a theatre (pre-multiplex days) and caught this ‘Aamir Khan movie which was creating some good buzz’. And that started it all. My love affair with Hindi cinema and cinema at large.
Here was a movie that for the first time spoke to me in a language that I understood and related to. No histrionics, no over-the-top dialogue delivery. Just reality as we knew it – sometime sweet and sometime bitter. It was about love in a contemporary, fast changing urban India. Above all it was about friendship that sours, falters and yet stands by you when the going gets tough.
It made watching Hindi movies cool.
It also started the trend of giving importance to the ‘look’ of a character. Hairstyles and clothes became essential to storytelling in Bollywood. And of course, it introduced boys to the famous goatee and every boy I knew experimented with it in varying degrees of success.
It introduced us to driving down to Goa on a whim – be it in a Merc convertible or in your dodgy Scorpio, as long as you can round up friends and a few cases of beer.
It was a brilliant coming of age movie and it also marked the coming of age of Hindi cinema. Hindi cinema has never felt, sounded or looked the same since.
Farhan Akhtar redefined cool. And what a time to do so – just as me and so many of my peers were stepping out in search of our dreams and voices. If there is a movie to our generation, Dil Chahta Hai has to be it.
And for that and so much more, it still remains my best loved Hindi movie of all times.
It is difficult to list just two favourite scenes from DCH but I will still try. The first one, because of the sheer intensity and magic of Aamir Khan (sigh).
and the second because even now, Saif Ali Khan cracks me up with his straight faced “Hum cake khane ke liye kahi bhi ja sakte hain”.
Everyone has a DCH story….what is your favourite story/memory?