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Film / Dil Se..

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When a Jerk meets a Tsundere.

"Some people are like the Sand; a wind blows them away."

Amar Varma, an Indian journalist and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold investigates a terrorist group in a troubled part of North-Eastern India aflame with insurgency and meets a Troubled, but Cute Meghna with a Dark and Troubled Past at a railway station. He falls in love with her and is persistent in chasing her even after her repeated rebuffs. Two men who travelled with her beat him down senseless though that makes him become obsessively enamored of her. The two get stranded after their bus breaks down and they slowly start to fall in love. Meghna leaves him one night and is not heard of again. She visits him in Delhi however when she hears about his engagement with Preeti. When she comes to Delhi, Amar discovers that Meghna is a Broken Bird who is part of a terrorist group planning on carrying out a suicide attack on the Prime Minister.


Released in 1998, Dil Se (From the Heart) is the third movie of Mani Ratnam's trilogy that deals with India's War on Terror, Culture Clash and its concerns on terrorism and domestic instability. In contrast to the first two movies of his trilogy, it is first and foremost a love story. It is known mostly for fantastic songs from A.R. Rahman, including Chaiya Chaiya and features an Troperrific number of Tropes.


Dil Se provides examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Amar Varma planned to wed sweetheart Preeti.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: The whole premise of Dil Se.
  • Betty and Veronica: Part of all Shah Rukh Khan films. Amar had to choose between Preeti (Betty) and the beautiful and dangerous Meghna (Veronica).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The terrorist plot is the cost of Amar and Meghna's lives.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Just before he is arrested by, Amar meets with Preeti, who realizes that he only has eyes for a girl, and it's not her. So she tells him to Race for Your Love. And then Amar and Meghna die together at the end, sealing the love triangle for good.
  • Dancing on a Bus: The opening song "Chaiyya Chaiyya".
  • The Danza: invoked Preeti is played by Preity Zinta.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Meghna. She is implied to have been raped by some Indian soldiers as an adolescent.
  • Dogged Nice Guy:
    • Amar to Meghna.
    • Preeti is a Distaff Counterpart. She has the hots for Amar, who doesn't seem to return it even a little.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in Malayalam: "Jiya Jale". Justified since Preeti is from Kerala.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Amar aggressively assaults her when he is alone with Meghna in the desert. She gets an anxiety attack as she rebuffs him. Yet, he's the hero of the story.
  • Freudian Excuse: Meghna's people has been persecuted since India's independence. She watched her parents die during a pogrom, saw her sister being raped by a soldier, and to top it off, she herself was also raped by a soldier.
  • Girl Next Door: Preeti.
  • G-Rated Sex: The very Freudian "Jiya Jale" dream sequence.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: As it is a Mani Ratnam Film, this is to be expected.
  • Informed Deformity: Meghna is said to have small eyes and high cheekbones by Amar. Manisha Koirala, while Nepalese, does not have small eyes, except by perhaps stringent Indian criteria.
  • Instant Knots: In the song and dance number, Satrangi Re, Amar throws out his long black scarf, which whips around the waist of Meghna so he can reel her in. Awesome coolness.
  • Internal Reveal: In the climax, Amar finally discovers Meghna's participation in the Liberations group, something that the audience already learned in the second act.
  • The Item Number: The song Chaiyaa Chaiyaa, where the protagonist dances on a moving train with excellent cinematography.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
    • Meghna when she attends Amar's engagement. But he is not willing to let her go.
    • Preeti's final meeting with Amar is a downplayed example. She is not willing to let him go, but if he insists on chasing Meghna, then there is nothing she can do to stop him.
  • Love Hurts: In the case of this movie, it sometimes kills.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Amar is so infatuated with Meghna that he will stop at nothing to get her, not traveling across India, not a beatdown by a bunch of people, not arrest by the Secret Service, and the last but not least, not death.
  • Love Redeems: Played with. Amar dissuades Meghna from initiating the terrorist attack twice. She rejects it the first time, but she hesitates in the second long enough until they both become the attack's only casualties, making it ambiguous as to whether she is really redeemed by love.
  • Meaningful Name: Meghna means storm. Amar means eternal. Preeti sounds like Preity, the actress who plays the part.
  • Mysterious Waif: Meghna. Ethereally beautiful, out-of-there, seldom talks, and hides a dark secret.
  • Naked First Impression: Megha bathes with the door open.
  • The Promise: When her comrade senses Meghna go soft after she attended Amar's engagement party, Meghna is asked to recite her pledge to rededicate her life to avenge her family.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Preeti, oh so much. For the record, Amar's romantic life (at by the end, literal life) would be much better if he settles for her.
  • Shout-Out: The Item Number "Chaiya Chaiya" is based off an Urdu poem, and even the lyric "Her words are like Urdu poetry" is a reference to this.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Amar and Meghna in the first half of the movie.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Amar
  • Race for Your Love: Amar keeps chasing Meghna all over India.
  • Rescue Romance: Subverted. Amar wants to rescue Meghna but she does not want to be rescued. Pursuing her destroys them both.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Amar and Meghna.
  • Taking You with Me: Inverted. Before they die from Meghna's suicide vest, Amar asks her to take him with her.
  • Together in Death: Amar hugs Meghna, who at that time is wearing a suicide vest that explodes on contact. Guess what happens.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Meghna's childhood is shown while she launches a Motive Rant to Amar in the climax, tuning the film firmly into Gray-and-Grey Morality.
  • White Shirt of Death: Featured in one of the song and dance numbers.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The terrorists/insurgents are shown ambiguously. On the one hand, they are shown to have legitimate grievances. On the other hand, they use violence and suicidal methods that harm themselves and the people around them.