Planet Bollywood
Dil Kya Kare
Producer: Veena Devgan
Director: Prakash Jha
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Mahima Chawdhry, Chandrachur Singh, Akshita Garud, Laxmikant Berde, Special Appearances by Farida Jalal and Mohan Joshi
Music: Jatin Lalit
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Genre: Emotional
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs 50 min
Film Released on: 24 September 1999
Reviewed by: Mohammad Ali Ikram  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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It is complex, somewhat innovative and very well-acted. Yet why is it that one does not feel complete satisfaction having finished watching Prakash Jha┬┤s Dil Kya Kare? If the Devgans┬┤ last production Hindustan Ki Kasam rabbled in asinine immaturity to the zillionth degree, Dil Kya Kare conversely gives us no answers to a difficult (albeit manufactured) familial situation. Prakash Jha┬┤s main failure with his latest venture is in commercializing it too much. The film┬┤s gloss is nice to look at, but boy, does it dilute the film┬┤s chances of being taken seriously. The tale of this confused heart was never really meant for a masses audience.

Anand and Kavita Kishore (Ajay Devgan

and Mahima) are a well-settled and affluent couple with a young daughter, Neha (Akshita Garud). Kavita┬┤s college smitten buddy, Somu (Chandrachur Singh) regularly visits the family in tow with his endless barrage of mediocre poetry. (Neha is right. His shayari is incomprehensible so one wonders how this poet has so many giggly female fans!?!?) Life gets scary when an unknown woman begins visiting Neha at school, gifting her with presents and taking her out for periodic car rides. Anand is off on a business trip and Kavita, in her anguish, seeks police help to address the matter. It is not really needed as we all soon discover that the mysterious woman visiting Neha is actually her birth mother, Nandita Ray (Kajol). (The Kishores had adopted a baby Neha from an orphanage after Kavita┬┤s miscarriage several years earlier.) Sympathizing with Nandita┬┤s maternal instincts, Kavita allows her to stay with them for a night. But life takes a turn for the worst when Anand returns home the following day. A battle over trust, love, deception, infidelity and parental custody soon ensues, as the film jumps endlessly between filmi and real world situations. Dil Kya Kare relies on uneasily explained character motivation and actions, and that is why it works. The complexity and often real human behaviour of these characters makes the film a pleasure to watch.

Kajol and Mahima pack the film with a whopper of a positive punch. These are complex, well-etched and award worthy female characters, and both actresses do a commendable job living their roles. It is also great to see Kajol try a different role again, after her unending barrage of recent love-themed films. Here, Kajol gives a flawless performance. Mahima is a little loud in one emotionally charged scene, but for an actress with such few releases, she continues to astound with her acting range.

Chandrachur is competent in the mould of an unrequited lover. Jha makes the character semi-evil post-interval, which might have some people disliking Mr. Singh after this movie, but the fact remains that the Anand character is far more reprehensible than Somu.

We all know that Ajay Devgan is excellent in dramatic roles, so there is little to say there. One tip for the future though Mr. Devgan. Try to look more besotted with your reel heroine instead of your real heroine when doing any more multi-actress films with Kajol. Mahima┬┤s seduction act on Ajay seems to have little effect on him. But each time Kajol looks at him in the movie, you would think he had died and gone to heaven by that expression on his face. (Nice to realize they are so much in love though.)

Jha plays on the Kajol-Ajay natural chemistry though and takes the film dangerously close to condoning the act of adultery. I don┬┤t think it was intentional though. The problem is really that too much money and opulence has been put into this flick. Rajan Kothari┬┤s gorgeous, colourful and scenic cinematography, the Yash Chopra-esque dream songs, Laxmikant Berde┬┤s retread of a buffoonish house servant and the heroines┬┤ always perfect hair and make-up and their eight daily costume changes (even when in depression); Jha packs the film with a dozen too many commercial distractions.

We have got to hand it to the marvellous performances and complex characters for keeping our interest in Dil Kya Kare. They help give the film the base it needs for credibility. If only Jha had made it a darker and less glamourous product, it would have had phenomenal success with the classes. The masses are certainly going to have a tough time watching, understanding and appreciating this inappropriately packaged flick. Of course, for those of you who like a bit of novelty and acting tour de forces, Dil Kya Kare is better than a thousand Taals and Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehate Hain combined.

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