Madhuri Dixit & Aamir Khan: Unforgettable in Dil

[The word is that Ghajini is releasing November 28 and not December 12, so it seems like we shall not, after all, have an Aamir Khan and a Shah Rukh Khan film releasing the same day. Aamir and SRK were present at Katrina Kaif's birthday party recently.]

Saw Dil (1990) last night, starring Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher, Saeed Jaffry, and others, directed by Indra Kumar, and with music by Anand-Milind. Ms. Dixit became a household name a couple of years prior to this, with the song Ek Do Teen in Tezaab (1988) taking over every music chart in India that mattered. But her fine performance in Dil (for which she won her first Filmfare Best Actress award), coupled with fine performances by everyone in the film, made this one for the ages. It also meant Madhuri has since 1990 been in my dil (for what it's worth), atop my list of favorite actresses.

1. Hazari Prasad (Anupam Kher) used to worship money. Quite literally. All he wanted was to marry his son to a wealthy man's daughter. And he was miserly to the extent that he did justice to the popular term that is often used to describe the miserly, kanjoos makkhi choos (the term is associated with exactly this kind of behavior, to refer to a person so miserly that he/she would consume a beverage despite a fly having fallen in it).

2. Hazari Prasad's son Raja (Aamir Khan) was a 'decent' player, if that makes sense.

Loved his thought process when approaching harmless (here is more background on the Rakhi). If this were filmed in the U.S., there would be an approach with the term 'sister' holding more significance to the haseenas in sororities ;)

3. Raja threw a birthday party at his home. The home resembled a discotheque (Raja really made the discotheque his own, as noted in point two in my review of Love Love Love (1989), remember?). This was also where parts of the song Papa Kehte Hain from Qayaamat Se Qayaamat Tak (1988) played, followed by some Billboard hits.

The expenses associated with the party were not appreciated by Raja's father, of course. This frame makes it for Raja was whistling the Ek Do Teen tune (noted above), which served as a perfect introduction to Madhuri Dixit.

4. Madhu (Madhuri Dixit) was a new student at the college. She was beautiful but vain. And she never quite got along with Raja.

Raja would get the better of her every once in a while, but she would always rebound with a stronger response. The film spent close to 45 minutes developing their animosity, and this turned out to be one of its biggest strengths. Raja played blind to get attention... some help from his Dev Anand look-alike friend...

...but Madhu was aggressive in her responses (oh dear)...

...and even posted a challenge to a fighting champion of the college on behalf of Raja.

She really wanted to see him get knocked out...

...but Raja surprised her and himself en route to showing up to the fight and winning. There was an important backdrop to this that was one of the more memorable moments in the film.

Following a dance sequence (Madhu practicing to the ever-popular Oye Oye from Tridev (1989)) in which Madhuri looked better than she did at any point in Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), this bit of dialogue led to a song.

This is partly why I liked the pairing of Aamir and Madhuri. Their expressions so effortlessly lit up the screen. They really were fantastic together.

5. In the mean time, Mr. Prasad convinced Mr. Mehra (Madhu's father) -- a very wealthy businessman -- that he was as successful a businessperson. The amount of time spent on developing their friendship was about right. Of course, Raj and Madhu didn't want any part of this, because they hated each other.

6. But things changed when they went camping to Ooty, singing the classic Bombay Se Aaya Mera Dost aboard the college bus. This was when things got slightly out of hand. Raja changed the signs outside the restrooms, and Madhu responded by crying rape the same night, an act that got Raja expelled. Well, almost. A rather well-executed sequence followed, in which Raja said something to Madhu that made her really like him (no, it did not have anything to do with love).

She withdrew her charge, but Raja ignored her until she came forth at a cocktail with this (loved the initiative!):

Following which this song formalized their love (vocals by Anuradha Paudwal and Udit Narayan):

This bit really reminded me of Aamir as DJ in Rang De Basanti (2006), with the red bike and all.

7. So Raja and Madhu were about to get engaged at a formal event for the purpose, which was when Mr. Mehra discovered Mr. Prasad had lied to him about his businesses and status. The engagement was called off, but Raja and Madhu were not about to deny themselves of their love.

8. Madhu's father got Raja arrested, so she committed a crime to get imprisoned and be with Raja.

If you are a fan of tight slaps to the face, there is plenty to appreciate in Dil. I counted at least six, not one out of place. There was an inspector named Ghalib, who true to his name, loved poetry and supported Raja and Madhu. Then there was a lovely song from behind bars.

9. One of the more dramatic wedding ceremonies ever witnessed in Indian cinema (see background of picture for a hint)...

...led to Raja and Madhu being disowned by their families. The song Hum Ne Ghar Choda Hai, with vocals by Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam followed:

10. Did I mention Madhu and Raja were absolutely in love, and that they looked very very much in place opposite each other? Five stars for amazing chemistry.

11. Honorable mention to the city of Bombay (as always). If you have driven by a stretch of roadway I have mentioned often, you know where this is...

...and I visited this place with my mom (Kala Niketan the saree store about a five-minute drive from our Bombay home) so frequently as a child, it's not even funny. I always gave in to the slightest of value propositions. For Colaba, the bribe was Rhythm House (see point 9 in my review of Taxi Driver (1954)). For here, the saving grace was a Dollops ice-cream (noted in this post) store next door...

12. Madhu, we love you too! Such grace. No wonder she's been emblematic of the grace and elegance that is expected of the Bhaartiya naari (Indian woman) in real life for so very long. Stunning.

13. For fear of revealing too much, here is just a song from that point through the climax (discussed below). Beautifully done all-round, O Priya Priya has vocals by Anuradha Paudwal and Suresh Wadkar.

14. In point five of my initial review of Jaane Tu, I had said that several portions in the film reminded me of sequences in some Aamir Khan films. This was perhaps the most obvious. Yes, Dil contained an airport climax too. What's more, the distance traveled and the time constraints in Jaane Tu were about the same as in Dil. Raja -- at least he rode a bike and not a horse -- was seen going from Nariman Point (part of Queen's Necklace, and the answer to the stall location in point 11 above)...

...(where a cop alerted his colleagues)... a dash at the airport. See a resemblance?

Did Raja's shamelessly greedy father succeed in destroying their love? Did Madhu's father convince her to marry a longtime family friend's son? What was Madhu doing in the arms of another man when Raja went to visit her? Why did Raja agree to marry another woman? For answers to these questions and more, watch Dil. You shall not be disappointed.

At its core, Dil is a masala film that elevates the romance of two college-going lovers to a rivalry of two families. The approach to this plot, excellent performances throughout, and a remarkably well-integrated soundtrack (from the opening credits onward), made this an excellent film! This one is not only right up there with Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin (1991) and Raja Hindustani (1995) as one of Aamir's best romantic films after his debut, it is my favorite from the lot.

Movie Rating: 4.25/5 (excellent!)

My classification: PG

Music Rating: 4/5 (excellent!)

On a personal note:
Recall seeing this in June of 1990, amid the excitement that accompanied the World Cup of soccer that month.

And I do wish Madhuri and Aamir would do more films together (they did one more together, Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin). I really liked this pairing as good as (if not better than) Aamir and Juhi, which is saying a lot. Dil was significant to their careers as well. Madhuri earned her first Filmfare Best Actress award for her performance (as noted above), and Aamir his first big hit after Qayaamat Se Qayaamat Tak.


Nicki said...

Thanks for this! I loooove Dil. It was actually the first Aamir Khan movie I've seen. I have to rewatch Dil now.

memsaab said...

Both Madhuri and Juhi were unfortunate to be heroines during a very barren leading men period. Aamir was about the only worthy candidate for both of them! (and SRK towards the end...)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I think this is one of the few movies that properly exploited both Anupam's comic AND evil genious. And Saeed Jaffery I ADORE< no matter what he does :)
I somehow never liked this movie as much as I ought....Madhuri was fair enough, but I wasnt sure what made this movie special from Amir's pt of view...

theBollywoodFan said...

Nicki: Interesting this was the first Aamir film you saw! It really is a very good movie, and its completeness still works for me!

Memsaab: Agree with your comment. Perhaps only Salman Khan and to some extent, Sanjay Dutt, were in the same league (at least at the time). Of course, I'm basing my opinion on Saajan, Khalnayak and Hum Aap Ke Hain Kaun! =)

Shweta: Anupam Kher was fantastic in this, and the film does play to his strengths. I found it interesting watching Dil after all these years, and knowing the outcome of course, that I really liked Anupam Kher in the first half, and hated him in the second. Must attribute that to his acting!

For me, Dil worked from Aamir's standpoint because of his amazing chemistry with Madhuri. More importantly, for the industry, Dil worked for Aamir for it helped rid him of the one-film-wonder tag. Who knows where he'd have ended up if Dil weren't a success?

After Dil, his more well-known films were Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin in '91 and Jo Jeeta Woh Sikandar in '92. In both, he was fantastic. Dil and these two were the most successful films those three consecutive years. And each time, he lost out on a Filmfare. Hard to blame him for not showing up ever since.

theBollywoodFan said...

PS: Thank you for your comments :)

bollyviewer said...

Oooo Aamir and Madhuri - I dont think I had ever anticipated any movie as much as this! And being a kid in pre-cable days, it was a while before I managed to see it. :-( Watched this, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin and Jo Jita Wohi Sikander about the same time and was in heaven! :-) Your review brings all those happy memories back. Dont know what I'd think of any of these movies now, though.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Bollyviewer: I'd encourage you to try to see it again. Had a similar concern when I saw it this past weekend, but was surprised at how much fun it was. Especially the first half, which was really entertaining. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Compared to Maine Pyar Kiya, which I absolutely loved back in the day (and still do), which seems a little silly (although it's still mostly good) with the woman singing 'I looooove you' in the background. Remember that? That sounded great and hot as an eight year old. Not quite as much now, LOL =)

You just reminded me of when cable arrived. There was this game show on Star Plus called 'The Crystal Maze' that was my favorite during those days! But nothing quite beat He-Man ATMOTU on Doordarshan every Sunday at 9 (or was it 9:30?)...aah, the memories. Great to find someone who can relate! Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Nawab theBollywood Fan! I was watching this 2 days ago and was wondering if you'd done a post on it ever! WOW! I've been having internet access issues for a couple weeks and what a treat to jump online and see this. I am screen capping my disc now and LOVED this film! I plan to do a write up of it soon too. I also thought the ending was tres JTYJN! This movie was so great for me of course due to the heavy emphasis on the 'tight slap to the face" and Anupan's resulting vendetta over it! I especially loved Madhuri stabbing heself with the bottle and Amir's steely stare when he and Madhuri circled the marital fire. EXCELLENT! A 4/5 for me, only a lower score for the fact that Madhuri's dancing skills weren't used.

All the best!

p.s. I especially loved the song "O Priya Priya"

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji! What a coincidence with the timing of the viewing!
Really glad you liked the film. Also glad you enjoyed the emphasis on the tight slaps to the face -- more than the Saeed to Anupam one, I enjoyed the one delivered by Madhuri. What a creative way to get imprisoned!

And O Priya Priya is quite a remarkable song -- it's worth being a favorite. Aamir and Madhuri were fantastic...such a shame they didn't do more together.

Dil has surprisingly retained its value over the years, and I'm glad I finally revisited it. Look forward to your write up!

Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Adab Nawab! Yes it was a bollywood style coincidence! Across many states and the Mother Ganga, I mean the mother Mississippi, 2 people watching the same movie at the same time without knowing it! I was thinking "theBollywoodFan!" during that airport scene due to the said similarity to JTYJN, thus was happy to see you already got the point telepathically. Vay! Yes so many slaps throughout! Shocking! I also LOVED the scene where Aamir was to kiss Madhuri in the boxing/mixed martial arts ring and instead left her without one. That was excellent!
All the best dost!

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji: Across the mother Mississippi indeed! Aap ne hamein yaad kiya, us ka shukriya; you thought of me, thanks! :). There was a reason I recommended it (what with those tight slaps and all), but I didn't want to spoil the fun, and am glad you discovered it!

That scene in the ring was excellent, agreed. Everyone did well, and the delivery of the dialogue was fitting. Now, if you enjoyed the boxing/fighting bit, Ghulam starring Rani and Aamir is for you. ;)

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Adad! Yes, thanks again for the recommendation and for keeping quiet about those tight slaps. I've added Ghulam to my list. The title sounds great already.
All the best,

theBollywoodFan said...

Hope you enjoy Ghulam. It was a kick-butt film back in the day (about a decade ago), and the last time I saw it -- about two years ago -- it was still very good!

Anonymous said...

Have U notived that Madhuri Dixit gets so many slaps in her films. If we aggregated all of the slaps from all her films, she's had so many!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Anonymous: That's an interesting thought. I haven't paid too much attention to Madhuri specifically. But there are at least a few memorable ones she's been part of that I can remember right away, LOL...I'll be paying more attention to the Madhuri movies I see from now on! Thanks! :)

siddhu said...

Thanks a lot! I've never read such a good movie review!
I watched the film yesterday and I really love it! Espiacally the song "O Priya Priya"


theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Siddhu, and thank you for your visit and comment! Really glad you liked Dil, it is one of my favorites! :) Do visit again. Cheers!

The Comic Project said...

Very nice...Wasn't this also the same film where a new song was released a few weeks later? "Dum Duma Dum" or something? This was Indra Kumar's time I think, he made quite a few hit films but lost his touch in 2000+..(?)

theBollywoodFan said...

TCP: I did not know that about Dum Duma Dum! You might find a recent Aamir interview (second paragraph in this post) interesting. Indra Kumar appears and talks about the evolution of Aamir's dancing skills in the film, and how being opposite Madhuri almost helped him.

Indra Kumar certainly had a better run (for good reason) in the 1990s, after which he's lost form. After 2000, the only one I've thoroughly enjoyed was Dhamaal (2007), starring Sanjay Dutt, Javed Jaffrey and others including Prem Chopra. A very fun and relatively clean comedy (albeit some portions are not very original).

Silvia said...

Hi Bollywoodfan :)
I am from Bulgaria and I saw DIl when I was like 10 year old (in 1994), now I have 25 years, and I have seen hundreds of movies and there is not any so romantic and magic like Dil. This is the BEST INDIAN MOVIE for me, for all times!!!!! I adore Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit
Thank you!
Att: Silvia

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Silvia: Welcome to the blog, and thank you very much for your comment! Aamir and Madhuri totally rocked Dil, great performances here. Have you seen Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin? Parts of it were very romantic too. (Although I like Dil more, because of Madhuri.) Hundreds and hundreds of movies, you say! Sounds great! Cheers.