Dil Se (1998)

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Amar (Shahrukh Khan) is on a terrorist interview assignment for All-India Radio somewhere in a northern territory, where he keeps bumping into Meghna (Manisha Koirala), which she says is not even her real name. Despite repeated attempts to get close to Meghna, all Amar really finds himself in is trouble, and after being ditched by Meghna, Amar quickly returns to his family in Delhi, to be engaged to the frank and outspoken Preity (Preity Zinta). The audience then learns that Meghna is a terrorist.

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta

Manisha’s character waxes and wanes between acting human and acting for her terrorist cause, but with no real pattern or logic to her actions. One minute she will feel guilty about using Shahrukh in order that she may be incognito in Delhi, while the next minute she doesn’t bat an eyelid when he’s arrested or in danger. Her breakdown scenes seem extremely forced into the script, and the only reason why these scenes prove even somewhat effective is because Manisha is and remains a phenomenal actress. The sequence where she tries to cry but the tears won’t come out is mind-blowing, and no other actress could have portrayed this scene as well. Her action at the very end (one that supposedly proves her love for him) seems to come out of the blue. One moment Meghna is telling her group leader how confident she feels about their terrorist plan, and the next moment she gives up the whole terrorist thing by making her final “act of love” to be with Amar.
Shahrukh’s character talks forever about how much he loves Manisha, but his “love” really has no reason to be anything more than infatuation and intrigue. Not once do you have reason to suspect otherwise. Again, Shahrukh does the best one can do with his role, but the redundancy and ignorant nature of the part work against him. The chase sequence towards the end shows a new, diversely intense side to Mr. Khan’s acting.
Preity Zinta, too, acts really well for a new-comer, and gives an excellent performance. One may say that she even resembles the late actress, Divya Bharti. She is one of those new-comers who not only has the looks, but talent too.
It seems to be that the only reason why this film should be a hit is due to the formidable acting of Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. One very sadly has to face disappointment, as this is not what can be expected from a director like Mani Ratnam, who has given hit films like Bombay.

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