Dil Se..

Dil Se

Directed by Mani Ratnam
Produced by Mani Ratnam
Ram Gopal Varma
Shekhar Kapur
Bharat Shah
Written by Tigmanshu Dhulia (Hindi)
Sujatha (Tamil)
Screenplay by Mani Ratnam
Story by Mani Ratnam
Starring Shahrukh Khan
Manisha Koirala
Preity Zinta
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Santosh Sivan
Edited by Suresh Urs
India Talkies
Varma Corporation
Distributed by India Talkies
Eros International
Release dates
21 August 1998
Running time
158 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 11 crore (equivalent to 35 crore or US$5.2 million in 2016)[1]
Box office 28.58 crore (equivalent to 90 crore or US$13 million in 2016)[2]

Dil Se (translation: From the Heart) is a 1998 Indian romantic war-thriller film in the backdrop of insurgency in Northeast India, written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and produced by Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, and Shekhar Kapur. The film stars Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in lead roles while Preity Zinta (in her film debut) appears in a supporting role. Mani Ratnam also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Tigmanshu Dhulia. It is the third in Ratnam's trilogy of terror films after Roja and Bombay.[3] An example of parallel cinema tackling difficult subjects, to be found in director Ratnam's wider body of work as well, the film won the Netpac Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

The film was screened at the Era New Horizons Film Festival and the Helsinki International Film Festival. Noted for its non linear screenplay, the film won awards for cinematography, audiography, choreography, and music, among others. 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. The film won two National Film Awards, and six Filmfare Awards.[6][7]


Amarkant Varma (Shahrukh Khan) is a Program executive for All India Radio, dispatched from New Delhi to cover festivities in Assam. On his way there, during a rainy night, Amar stops at Haflong train station to catch Barak Valley Express, he tries to have a smoke but he doesn't have any matches or a lighter.

He starts asking the mysterious figure at the other end of the platform for a light, addressing it as 'bhaisaab'. The mysterious figure doesn't respond to him so he walks up to the end of the platform and ask again. A strong gust of wind blows the shawl off the person revealing it to be a female. He finds her very attractive and tries to strike up a conversation, but she ignores him for a bit and then asks him for a cup of tea. When he returns with the tea, he sees her board the next train with three male passengers.

Later, Amar spots the same woman in Silchar. He attempts to talk to her but she says she cannot recall meeting him before. As part of his news reporting assignment, for the occasion of fifty years of Indian Independence, Amar interviews many citizens of Barak Valley, and an extremist leader, who claim that the reason behind human rights violations and poverty in the region is due to Indian Government, and that the Liberationists do not wish to enter into any dialogue with the government, and further justify their resistance in Utthar Purv.

A few weeks later, Amar describes his encounter with the woman, over the radio, which she hears. He again spots her at a post office (It is later revealed that she is corresponding to her terrorist group in New Dehli, planning a suicide attack.) At this juncture, she tells him to leave her; but he follows her to the house and tells her that he is in love with her, but she resists and tells Amar that she is married. Amar wishes to apologise to her, but she arrives with two men (who Amar believes are her brothers) who beat him unconscious.

During the beating, Amar learns that the men are presumably her brothers and that she had lied about her being married. He reaches her home, and learns from the locals that she has left the place. Amar then goes to the post office where he initially spotted her and bribes the PCO owner into giving him her contact details, and learns that she is telephoning to Ladakh. Subsequently, Amar travels to Leh, and while recording the Sindhu Darshan Festival, a suicide bomber is chased to death by the military, and Amar spots the woman again. (It is later revealed that the woman is associated with him). The woman boards the bus, and while Amar claims to the military, that he is here reporting on the festival, the woman uses Amar to her advantage, purporting in front of the military personnel that she is with her husband.

The bus takes off. After some travel, the bus breaks down and the passengers are required to walk to the nearby village. En route Amar forces the woman to reveal her name: Meghna (Manisha Koirala). The two end up travelling together and recuperate. Next day, Amar wakes to find Meghna gone (It is later revealed that Meghna is part of a Liberationists group which plans multiple suicide attacks in New Delhi at the upcoming Republic Day celebration).

Amar returns to his home in Delhi, where his family has found in Preeti Nair (Preity Zinta) from Kerala, a potential bride for him. Amar agrees to marry Preeti because he does not hope to meet Meghna again. On his date with Preeti, Amar spots one of Meghna's associates, Kim, who banished him earlier. Amar chases him down to Connaught Place, where the man kills himself with cyanide, and the police relinquish the situation to the CBI.

Much to Amar's surprise, Meghna is in Delhi with her group, and requests Amar to help her get an employment as an office assistant at Amar's All India Radio office. (It is later revealed that Meghna actually arrives to Delhi along with her terrorist group and stays in Amar's residence to escape from the CBI inquiry operation). Based on eyewitness claims of the Connaught Place incident, Amar is now a prime suspect of the CBI (Piyush Mishra). At this juncture Amar follows Meghna and questions her motives, and she reveals to Amar, that her name is actually Moina, and as a child, she had been a rape victim of the army and seeks liberation through her suicide attack on the Indian army and the President of India during the Republic Day. Now the CBI convinces the Army general of India to grant permission to conduct security checks of all the Army convoys and tankers participating in the parade.

Amar is again assaulted by Moina's associate (Aditya Srivastava) and the terrorists and as Amar fights back the terrorists receive a call from Moina on their mobile. Amar grabs the mobile and pleads Moina to stop all this and marry him. Moina reveals that it is too late, and presumes Amar is being killed. But Amar returns home, only to find out from Preeti that Amar's mother is also being questioned and that Moina's location is at Sunder Nagar. The CBI also misconstrue that Amar is part of the terrorist group and arrest him.

Amar claims to the CBI that he is not in cahoots with the terrorists, but in love with Moina and that he has interviewed one of the extremist leaders and wants to prevent them from perpetrating the attack. The CBI rejects Amar's claims and sedates him for further interrogation. The next day Moina is ready for the suicide attack. Amar escapes from the CBI and tries to hold Moina back. Amar expresses his love and desire to be with her, embraces her and pleads her to live with him. As they embrace, the explosive vest worn by Moina explodes, killing them both.


  • Preity Zinta as Preeti Nair
  • Malaika Arora in the item number "Chaiyya Chaiyya"
  • Vanitha Malik as school teacher
  • Tigmanshu Dhulia cameo appearance as man at the post office
  • Sameer Chanda cameo appearance Tuba music shop dealer
  • Shaad Ali cameo as citizen of Silchar
  • Wasiq Khan cameo
  • Pia Benegal cameo
  • Chintu Mohapatra cameo
  • Babu Bhai cameo
  • Hemant Mishra cameo
  • B. M. Shah cameo
  • R. K. Nair as Preeti's Father
  • Alka as Preeti's Mother
  • Rajeev Gupta as Sub Inspector
  • Avtar Sahani as Army General
  • Lakshmi Rattan as Hazarika Army official
  • Lavanya child artist
  • Jessica child artist
  • Ishitha child artist
  • Shubhdeep child artist


Sameer Chanda, and Wasiq Khan were the production and art designers for the film.[5][8] The principal photography took place in Himachal Pradesh, Leh, Assam, New Delhi, Kerala, and Bhutan over a period of 55 days.[5][8] Tigmanshu Dhulia was the casting director. Pia Benegal and Manish Malhotra were the costume designers, Simran Bagga was Mani Rathnam's first choice for the role that Preity Zinta eventually accepted.[9] The soundtrack "Chaiyya Chaiyya" was shot between Malaika Arora and Shah Rukh Khan on top of the Nilgiri Express, en route Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri, the train is particularly painted in brown for the song sequence.[10] The travelling scenes, other crucial scenes were shot between Manisha Koirala and Shah Rukh Khan near Alchi Monastery, during the Sindhu Darshan Festival in Leh.[10] The longest soundtrack of the film "Satrangi Re" with the lead pair was shot near Thikse Monastery, the mystical Basgo Monastery ruins, and Pangong lake near Pangong Tso in Ladakh.[10] The soundtrack of "Jiya Jale" was shot between Priety Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan near Athirappilly Falls, Alappuzha backwaters, Periyar National Park, and Periyar Lake in Kerala.[10] Several action sequences in the film choreographed by Allan Amin were shot near Connaught Place, New Delhi, Rajpath and Old Delhi.[5][10]


Dil Se is 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.[11] Authors Sangita Gopal and Sujata Moorti of Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance also compared Khan's romance in the film to the trajectory of love in ancient Arabic literature, believing the lyrics in two of the songs to have delivered an "apocalyptic fatalism".[12]

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.[13] Dil Se is described as a film "structured through deferment and unfulfilled teasing promises." [14] 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. 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."[15]

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.[14] They argue that this is a phenomenon called the "liminal space of dreaming" in that the terrorist woman cannot fulfill her sexual desire so the songs fill the void of this desire by "their sumptuousness and exotic locales" in the Ladakh region.[14]

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 at the Berlin International Film Festival, two National Film Awards, and six Filmfare Awards. 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 became a major factor for its success overseas, particularly amongst the South Asian diaspora in the west.[16][17]

The film 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.[16] Deepa Deosthalee wrote a positive review to the film, calling it "A picture perfect ode to love" and praising the direction, writing and performances.[18]


The film has won the following awards:

1999 Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)

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
Planet Bollywood[19]
All Music[20]

The soundtrack features 6 songs composed by A. R. Rahman. Raja Sen of Rediff called it, "Rahman's finest soundtrack, by far."[15] 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.[21] The song has been featured in the film Inside Man, in the musical Bombay Dreams, and in the television shows Smith and CSI: Miami.[22] This soundtrack is described as a landmark album in Indian music, with each and every song becoming a colossal hit. The song Ae Ajnabi from Srinjoy Bhattacharya's album Ajnabee was used in this film. Srinjoy sold the rights to AR Rahman.

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.[23] Malayalam lyrics for the song "Jiya Jale" were penned by Gireesh Puthenchery while the Punjabi part of "Thayya Thayya" was penned by Tejpaul Kour.

Pink Floyd bass guitarist Guy Pratt for post Roger Waters albums Delicate Sound of Thunder, The Division Bell and Pulse played bass on title song Dil Se Re.[24]

The background score was also very much appreciated and said to have contributed largely to the film.

Hindi (Dil Se)

All lyrics written by Gulzar; all music composed by A. R. Rahman.

No. TitleSinger(s) Length
1. "Chaiyya Chaiyya"  Sukhwinder Singh & Sapna Awasthi 6:54
2. "Jiya Jale"  Lata Mangeshkar, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:07
3. "Dil Se Re"  A. R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Anupama & Febi Mani 6:44
4. "E Ajnabi"  Udit Narayan & Mahalakshmi Iyer 5:48
5. "Thayya Thayya (Remix)"  Sukhwinder Singh 4:35
6. "Satrangi Re"  Sonu Nigam & Kavita Krishnamurthy 7:25

Tamil (Uyire)

All lyrics written by Vairamuthu; all music composed by A. R. Rahman.

No. TitleSinger(s) Length
1. "Thaiyya Thaiyya"  Sukhwinder Singh , Malgudi Subha & Palakkad Sriram 6:55
2. "Nenjinile Nenjinile"  S. Janaki, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:09
3. "Sandhosha Kanneere"  A. R. Rahman, Anuradha Sriram, Febi, Anupama 6:42
4. "Poongkaatrilae"  Unni Menon & Swarnalatha 5:45
5. "Thayya Thayya (Remix)"  Srinivas & Sukhwinder Singh 4:19
6. "En Uyire"  Srinivas & Sujatha 7:26

Telugu (Premato)

All lyrics written by Sitarama Sastry; all music composed by A. R. Rahman.

No. TitleSinger(s) Length
1. "Thaiyya Thaiyya"  Sukhwinder Singh & Malgudi Subha 6:52
2. "Innaalilaa Ledule"  K. S. Chithra, M. G. Sreekumar & Chorus 5:06
3. "Ninnele"  A.R. Rahman, Sowmya Raoh, Dominique Cerejo & Kavita Paudwal 6:37
4. "O Priyatama"  Mano & Swarnalatha 7:25
5. "Chaiyya Chaiyya (Remix)"  Sukhwinder Singh 4:17
6. "Ooristhu Ooguthu"  Srinivas & Sujatha 5:42


  1. "Dil Se Budget". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  2. "Dil Se Box office". Box Office India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  3. Ciecko, Anne Tereska (2006). Contemporary Asian cinema: popular culture in a global frame. Berg Publishers. p. 142. ISBN 9781845202378. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  4. Pat Padua. "FROM THE HEART - The Films of Mani Ratnam". cinescene.com. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "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. 21 August 1998. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  6. 1 2 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. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  8. 1 2 "Making movies with Mani Ratnam". rediff.com.
  9. "Simran explains it all". minnoviyam.star.track. Oct 1998. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 "Movie > Dil Se - Movies and Locations - Filmapia - Reel Sites. Real Sights.". filmapia.com.
  11. "Dil Se... A Mani Ratnam film". Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  12. Gopal & Moorti 2008, p. 166.
  13. Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005). Contemporary world cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia. Edinburgh University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780748617999. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  14. 1 2 3 Boehmer, Elleke; Morton, Stephen (October 2009). Terror and the postcolonial. John Wiley and Sons. p. 350. ISBN 9781405191548. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  15. 1 2 "Weekend Watch: Dil Se". Rediff.com. 21 October 2005. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  16. 1 2 Dudrah, Rajinder Kumar (2006). Bollywood: sociology goes to the movies. Sage. p. 34. ISBN 9780761934615. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  17. Meyer, Michael (2009). Word & image in colonial and postcolonial literatures and cultures. Rodopi. p. 230. ISBN 9789042027435. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
  18. Deosthalee, Deepa (22 August 1998). "A picture perfect ode to love, Dil Se". The Indian Express. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
  19. "Dil Se - music review by M. Ali Ikram". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  20. "Dil Se - music review by Bhaskar Gupta". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  21. "The Worlds Top Ten - BBC World Service". bbc.co.uk.
  22. "Dil Se Soundtrack". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-06-30.
  23. K. Pradeep. "Musical notes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
  24. "Dil Se Soundtrack at arrahman.com". arrahman.com. Retrieved 2013-06-14.


External links

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