Happy birthday Farhan Akhtar: A review of the poignant film he made with Dil Chahta Hai
Its been 17 years since Dil Chahta Hay revolutionized the way direction was taken as a job because it was so apt in its nuances and it completely mirrored our energies and our reformed sense of the world at the new millennium.
Back in 2001, the new millennium had just began and Bollywood was just about done with commercial potboilers and family-musicals that marked a big chunk of revenue in the 90s.
The young son of Javed Akhtar was excited about his directorial debut.
For an industry that thrives on fantasy, escapism, heightened emotions and wholesome entertainment, Dil Chahta Hay was abnormally normal yet refreshing. Did we really care about three guys experiencing love, life and unforseen circumstances such as family conflicts ? I mean, it was like stuff that happened in your own family, so why spend the 65 bucks to watch the same on the big screen?
Its because the flawed characters were funny! Sid, Akash and Sameer made the small portrayals of everyday life seem really relishable. The audience connected with it because they went back to their families and told them "I love you" and "I am thankful to God for you".
Three different perspectives on love were so nicely helmed by Farhan. The first, Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) was always after girls, falling in love with every other female (never vice versa) but he finds ‘the one’ in a girl already dating another bloke. It's the boyish (childish) quality of wanting what you can't have. That big toy in the store that's out of bounds.
The second one, Sid (Akshaye Khanna) falls for an older woman that is pain-stricken from a divorce and a mother that is separated from her child. An absent father in his life made him grow up quicker than his peers so he could take care of his mother. So he falls for a woman that has a void in her life like him, but finds solace in his emotional maturity.
Thirdly, Akash (Aamir Khan) is like a non-believer in love and very non chalant about life. He doesn’t even realise when the special feeling arises for a woman. He is so emotionally off that he has quite contended by himself and the way his life is. The laid-back becomes an overnight go-getter because his feelings need validation.
These three different perspectives are quilted in a way that is unbiased and doesn't really try to evoke some kind of enlightenment. Relationships are like those balloons that might burst if you hold onto them too tight, analyze too much and try to read too much onto each other's sentences. The byouncy and the fragility has to be maintained for their longevity.
Remarkable portrayals and an excellent first attempt a realistic cinema by Farhan Akhtar. He didn't just direct it, he also wrote the screenplay and the dialogues for the film. If you haven't yet had an overdose of this whiff of fresh air of a film, go watch it tonight again!
Happy 44th Farhan, congratulations for awakening us millenials in such a bona fide way.