sar•casm (sär k z m) - n. 1. A cutting, often ironic remark intended to mock or insult. 2. A form of wit that is marked by the use of hyperbole and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.
2003 is shaping up to become one of the greatest years the Indian film industry has ever seen. Release after release this year has raised the quality bar in Bollywood to dizzying heights. Certainly it’s hard to imagine films better than recent contemporary classics such as “Chura Liya Hai Tumne” or “Love At Times Square,” but audiences are in for a pleasant surprise with Anandi Art Creations’ latest offering. Aptly titled “Yeh Dil,” the film stars a stalwart Tusshar Kapoor opposite a sensational Natasha (who was recently seen in the who-done-it "Kucch To Hai") in one of the most inventive and well-written love stories ever committed to celluloid.
Yeh Dil’s storyline deserves plaudits for attempting a theme that has seldom been seen before in Bollywood films. The originality and inspiration behind the situations and characters in the film are simply superb. Ravi (Tusshar Kapoor) is a rich sportsman at his college, where Vasundhara (Natasha) is a poor but studious girl. The two are diametric opposites in terms of personality, but realize that they are soul-mates and decide they must get married.
In a completely unexpected twist, however, Ravi’s multi-millionaire father and Vasundhara’s milkmaid father do not think the two should get married. Accordingly, they hatch intricate plots to make sure the lovers cannot unite. The suspense filled, breathtaking, and heart-wrenching drama that ensues determines whether or not Ravi and Natasha’s true love can overcome the opposition of their family members.
The plot’s innovativeness never lets up. The parents, looking out for the well-being of their children, don´t hesitate to go to any lengths to make sure their children never unite. The parents have a dark, violent, and unpredictable nature that has never been explored before in Indian films; they even try tactics like kidnapping their own children and forcing them to marry other people. The hard-hitting, Scorsese-esque violence towards the end of the film merits a special mention as-well - it really enhances the intensity of this already gripping romantic drama.
Of course in a film featuring leads in the caliber of Tusshar Kapoor and Natasha, performances are bound to be top-notch. Tusshar Kapoor delivers on the immense promise he has shown in earlier films, and delivers a carefully calculated and nuanced performance one would ordinarily expect only from a veteran actor. The manner in which he overreacts almost identically to love, hate, and violence really helps to create a sense of consistency and permanence that is simply not present in the work of Kapoor’s contemporaries like Vivek Oberoi. While Sonu Nigam in “Kash Aap Hamare Hote,” still ranks as the most emotional performance by a younger star this year, Tusshar Kapoor comes dangerously close to dethroning Mr. Nigam with his tour de force work in this film.
Natasha complements Tusshar on every level. The chemistry and comfort the lead couple share on screen in as delightful to watch in this film as it was earlier in the thriller “Kucch To Hai.” Natasha is not quite as dramatic as Tusshar, but her restraint is excusable. The character artists who enact the roles of family members are not short of award-worthy.
The drama and suspense is handled masterfully by director Teja. Not since Hitchcock has someone married intense romance and thrilling suspense with so much success. The editing is likewise excellent. The background music and the soundtrack by Nadeem-Shravan is cutting-edge. It marries the modern feel of a 80´s synthesizer with classic Indian beats to create music that strikes the rare perfect balance between experimentation and appeal. Cinematography is on an international standard. The dance numbers – ravishing cinematic spectacles, all of them - are flawlessly choreographed and brought to life by the unbelievable skill and dexterity of the leads. Even recent Hollywood benchmarks in the musical genre pale in comparison.
“Yeh Dil” is an incredible cinematic journey. Part allegory on class-warfare, part intense love story, there are few more meaningful or more entertaining ways to spend three hours. True, sometimes the director strays so far from Bollywood convention it seems disorienting, but this complete disregard for convention only improves the film in the long run. A "must see" in every sense of the phrase.