Dil Se

Dil Se
Dil Se

DVD cover
Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Bharat Shah
Mani Ratnam
Ram Gopal Varma
Shekhar Kapur
Written by Tigmanshu Dhulia
Mani Ratnam
Starring Shahrukh Khan
Manisha Koirala
Preity Zinta
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Editing by Suresh Urs
Distributed by Madras Talkies
Eros International
Release date(s) 21 August 1998
Running time 158 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR12 crore (US$2.43 million)[1]
Box office INR17.5 crore (US$3.55 million)[2] (All India Gross)

Dil Se (Hindi: दिल से, translation: From the Heart) is a 1998 Hindi film directed by Mani Ratnam. The film stars Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, and Preity Zinta. Mani Ratnam also co-wrote the screenplay for the film. It is the third in Ratnam's trilogy of terror films that depict human relationships against a background of Indian politics, after Roja and Bombay.[3][4]

Dil Se was shot in Himachal, Kashmir, Assam, Delhi, Kerala, and other parts of India and Bhutan over a period of 55 days. The film is considered an example of Indian Parallel Cinema. The highly stylized film won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others. Despite being a flop at the Indian box office, the film was a success overseas earning $975,000 (USA) and £537,930 in the UK,[5] becoming the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts.[6][7]



Amarkant "Amar" Varma (Shahrukh Khan), an All-India Radio program executive living in Delhi, India, is dispatched to the troubled North-Eastern region of India to report from there on the situation pertaining to the approaching 50th Anniversary of Indian independence. There, he interviews a terrorist leader on his group's motivation and ethics. He then comes across Meghna (Manisha Koirala) at a railway station and chats up with her. He excuses himself for a while, offering to get her a cup of tea, only to find her gone already on a train with three mysterious men. A few weeks after that meeting, he spots her again in a street and confronts her, but she resists and pretends not to recognise him. Amar then resorts to stalking and seeks her our near her place of dwelling and tells her he loves her "dil se" (English equivalent : from the heart). To discourage him, Meghna tells him that she is married, and leaves. Amar feels embarrassed for flirting with a married woman, and sincerely wishes to apologize to her. He arranges a meeting with her to do so, but she brings two mysterious men with her, who subsequently take Amar away and beat him. This harsh experience invigorates Amar to find Meghna again. After somehow finding out her plans to visit Ladakh, he follows her with the convenient excuse of reporting on the local festivities and she gives him the slip there too.

As Amar heads home, he finds her on the same bus. He starts flirting with her and mocking her for having her supposed husbands beat him up. Then a security guard intercepts them and asks Amar his purpose for visiting Ladakh, and Amar tells him he was reporting on the festivities there. When it is Meghna's turn to answer, she tells him that she and Amar are together. The bus breaks down and the passengers are forced to walk a two-day journey to their destination. Amar nearly loses Meghna again but manages to get hold of her and confronts her, angered about the fact she had used him, before proceeding to accuse her of being a morally loose tease. She tells him her name and that the two men who beat him up were her brothers. Amar tries to aggressively force himself up on Meghna, which causes her a painful anxiety attack.

During the pair's two day walk they have a whirlwind adventure through the desert. Though the two fall for each other, Meghna slips away and leaves Amar to return to the safety of Delhi alone. Upon his return, he finds that his family wants him to meet Preeti Nair (Preity Zinta), a potential bride. Amar and Preeti both agree to get married. Then Meghna shows up in Delhi out of nowhere at Amar's house, on the day he is to be engaged to Preeti, and asks for a place to stay. Amar and his family let her stay at their house, and Amar arranges for a job for her at the radio station.

It is later revealed that Meghna is a member of the terrorist/revolutionist group who are in to Delhi to assassinate the prime minister on the Republic Day parade. Amar finds out about the plan and confronts her, when she escapes. Amar continues to pursue her, despite getting arrested by the police and getting beaten up repeatedly by her men. In the end, he finds Meghna and pleads her to not carry out the attack. She warns him to stay away from her, as she is afraid that he might activate the bomb in her vest. He then whispers in her ear, "If you won't come with me, take me with you." Meghna's intense inner struggle subsides; she embraces Amar and the bomb gets detonated, killing them both.


  • Shahrukh Khan as Amarkant "Amar" Varma
  • Manisha Koirala as Meghna
  • Preity Zinta as Preeti Nair
  • Raghuvir Yadav as Shukla
  • Zohra Segal as Grandmother
  • Arundathi Nag
  • Sabyasachi Chakravarthy
  • Piyush Mishra as CBI investigation officer
  • Aditya Srivastava
  • Krishnakanth
  • Ken Philip
  • Sanjay Mishra
  • Mita Vasisht as Mita
  • Malaika Arora as dancer on train
  • Gajraj Rao as CBI investigation officer


Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta during the song "Jiya Jale". Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton argue that the songs and locations in the film fill a sexual void with their exoticism.

Dil Se said to be a journey through the 7 shades of love that are defined in ancient Arabic literature. Those shades are defined as attraction, infatuation, love, reverence, worship, obsession, and death. The character played by Shahrukh Khan passes through each shade during the course of the film.[8]

The film is a dramatisation of the attraction between a character from the heart of India and another from a peripheral state and a representation of opposites in the eyes of the law and society.[9] Dil Se is described as a film "structured through deferment and unfulfilled teasing promises." [10] Rediff.com said about the film, "The entire feel of the film is appropriately poetic, with a few romantic exchanges standing out quite memorably. Tigmanshu Dhulia has handled the film's dialogues adroitly. Amid moonlit desert dunes, there is a particularly stirring conversation between the leading pair. In a somewhat big-bad-wolf-ian moment, Amar reveals his love for Meghna's eyes -- because he can't see the world hidden behind them, and his hate for the same, stunning eyes -- because he can't see the world hidden behind them."[11]

Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton in their book Terror and the postcolonial (2009) believe that the songs and their exotic locations in the film were very important in masking the impossible reconciliation between a terrorist and an uptight government agent by evoking pure fantasy.[10] They argue that this is a phenomenon called the "liminal space of dreaming" in that the terrorist woman cannot fulfil her heterosexual desire so the songs fill the void of this desire by "their sumptuousness and exotic locales" in the Ladakh region.[10]

Release and reception

Dil Se was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival The film went on to win the Netpac Award for Special Mention at the Berlin International Film Festival, two National Film Awards, and six Filmfare Awards. The film was a box office flop in India.[2] The intense political agenda of the film with the trials of the Assamese on the India-China border, the love story and the fact that it coincided with the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations were cited for its flop at the time.[12] Interestingly, however, it became a major success overseas, particularly amongst the South Asian diaspora in the west.[13] It became the first Indian film to enter the top 10 in the United Kingdom box office charts.[6] Even two months after its release in September 1998 the film was still screened on five screens, five times per day with an average of 3000 spectators a day for each screen alone in the 14-screen Cineworld complex in Feltham, West London.[12]


The film has won the following awards:

1999 Berlin International Film Festival (Germany) - Netpac Award - Special Mention - Mani Ratnam

1999 National Film Awards (India)

1999 Filmfare Awards (India)

1999 Star Screen Awards (India)


Dil Se
Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman
Released 1998
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn
Genre World Music
Label Venus
Producer A.R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Dil Se
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Planet Bollywood 9.5/10 stars [14]

The soundtrack features 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman. Raja Sen of Rediff called it, "Rahman's finest soundtrack, by far."[11] The song "Chaiyya Chaiyya" became especially popular, and was featured as one of the top 10 songs of all-time in an international poll conducted by BBC World Service.[15] The song has been featured in the film Inside Man, in the musical Bombay Dreams, and in the television shows Smith and CSI: Miami.[16]

The soundtrack was recorded in several other languages. The Tamil version of the track "Chaiyya Chaiyya", entitled "Thaiyya Thaiyya", was sung by Palghat Sriram, although Sukhwinder Singh, who sang the Hindi version was credited as the singer.[17] Malayalam lyrics for the song "Jiya Jale" were penned by Gireesh Puthenchery while the Punjabi part of "Thayya Thayya" was penned by Tejpaul Kour.[citation needed]

Hindi (Dil Se)

The lyrics are by Gulzar.

Title Singer(s) Duration
"Chaiyya Chaiyya" Sukhwinder Singh, Sapna Awasti 6:54
"Jiya Jale" Lata Mangeshkar, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:07
"Dil Se Re" A. R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama, Febi Mani 6:44
"Ae Ajnabi" Udit Narayan, Mahalakshmi Iyer 5:48
"Thayya Thayya" Sukhwinder Singh 4:35
"Satrangi Re" Sonu Nigam, Kavita Krishnamurthy 7:25

Tamil (Uyire)

The lyrics are by Vairamuthu.

Title Singer(s) Duration
"Thaiyya Thaiyya" Sukhwinder Singh, Malgudi Subha 6:55
"Nenjinile Nenjinile" S. Janaki, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:09
"Sandhosha Kanneere" A.R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama, Febi Mani 6:42
"Poongkaatrilae" Unni Menon, Swarnalatha 5:45
"Thaiyya Thaiyya" Hariharan, Srinivas, Malgudi Subha 4:19
"En Uyire" Srinivas, Sujatha 7:26

Telugu (Prematho)

The lyrics are by Sirivennela Sitaramasastri.

Title Singer(s) Duration
"Thaiyya Thaiyya" Sukhwinder Singh, Malgudi Subha 6:52
"Innalilla Leduley" K. S. Chitra, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:06
"Ninnaeley" A.R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama, Febi Mani 6:37
"O Priyathamma" Mano, Swarnalatha 7:25
"Chaiyya Chaiyya" Sukhwinder Singh 4:17
"Ooristhu Ooguthu" Srinivas, Sujatha 5:42


  1. ^ "IBOS network". IBOS network. 1998-08-21. http://www.ibosnetwork.com/asp/filmbodetails.asp?id=Dil+Se. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Boxofficeindia.com". Boxofficeindia.com. http://boxofficeindia.com/showProd.php?itemCat=204&catName=MTk5OA==. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  3. ^ Ciecko, Anne Tereska (2006). Contemporary Asian cinema: popular culture in a global frame. Berg Publishers. p. 142. ISBN 9781845202378. http://books.google.com/books?id=9_PmysZli1cC&pg=PA142. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Pat Padua. "FROM THE HEART - The Films of Mani Ratnam". cinescene.com. http://www.cinescene.com/names/maniratnam.html. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  5. ^ "Dil Se - Starring Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta, Raghuvir Yadav, Mita Vashisht, Zora Sehgal. Dil Se's box office, news, reviews, video, pictures, and music soundtrack". Ibosnetwork.com. 1998-08-21. http://www.ibosnetwork.com/asp/filmbodetails.asp?id=Dil+Se. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  6. ^ a b Aftab, Kaleem (October 2002). "Brown: the new black! Bollywood in Britain". Critical Quarterly (Blackwell Synergy) 44 (3): 88–98. doi:10.1111/1467-8705.00435. "The first Bollywood film to enter the UK top 10, Dil Se was nevertheless a flop in India. Such factors attest to the crucial role of the NRI audience in the commercial fate of Bollywood produce." 
  7. ^ Cary Rajinder Sawhney (2006). "Dil Se..". British Film Institute. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/review/5. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  8. ^ "Dil Se... A Mani Ratnam film". http://www.rage-india.com/dilse/love.htm. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005). Contemporary world cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780748617999. http://books.google.com/books?id=qOXoeyesZOIC&pg=PA172. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c Boehmer, Elleke; Morton, Stephen (October 2009). Terror and the postcolonial. John Wiley and Sons. p. 350. ISBN 9781405191548. http://books.google.com/books?id=o9LOzKeFtMwC&pg=PA350. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Weekend Watch: Dil Se". Rediff.com. 21 October 2005. http://in.rediff.com/movies/2005/oct/21dilse.htm. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Dudrah, Rajinder Kumar (2006). Bollywood: sociology goes to the movies. Sage. p. 34. ISBN 9780761934615. http://books.google.com/books?id=zd9g09JZxLwC&pg=PA34. Retrieved 3 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Meyer, Michael (2009). Word & image in colonial and postcolonial literatures and cultures. Rodopi. p. 230. ISBN 9789042027435. http://books.google.com/books?id=xDj68ypOf4kC&pg=PA230. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Dil Se - music review by M. Ali Ikram". Planet Bollywood. http://www.planetbollywood.com/displayReview.php?id=042106033740. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  15. ^ The Worlds Top TenBBC World Service
  16. ^ "Dil Se Soundtrack". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Dil-Se-R-Rahman/dp/B000K9KWA4. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  17. ^ K. Pradeep. "Musical notes". The Hindu. http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mp/2007/09/08/stories/2007090851230300.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 

External links

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