7 June 2003 | editorbob
Like every movie of its kind, and yet like nothing I've ever seen
Dilwale made me glad to be a Westerner, just so I could experience the sheer rush in the glorious way this film simply throws its Indian sensibility in your face. It is one of the most completely, openly joyful films I have ever seen. In many ways a totally Western film, it is yet completely un-Western, and absolutely invigorating.
I found the (rather oddly looped in places) mix of Hindi and English dialog to be a lot of fun to follow (as incomplete as the subtitles sometimes seemed). The Indian/Western pop structure of the songs was entertaining and infectious. The choreography is simply amazing, and some of the most sheerly athletic I've seen. The Indian roots of the dance routines were at first almost unnerving--at once familiar yet bizarre, almost surreal (to my Western eyes). It was sheer fun making the cultural adjustment.
The plot is predictable, almost pedestrian--certainly not what you'd call "never done before," and yet I found myself completely absorbed in the story, and rooting for the main characters. This is in large part due to Shahrukh Khan's and Kajol's performances as Raj and Simran. He is totally endearing, and she is totally hot!, and their on screen chemistry is as cute & perky and smoldering & steamy as Fred and Ginger at their peak. It was, simply put, fun to watch them having so much fun.
Director Aditya Chopra was, I understand, only 24 when he made Dilwale, and the film was so successful its Indian first run lasted a world-record 11 years (and may still be going on, as far as I know). A heckuva testimony to Bollywood indeed. This movie has instantly become one of my favorite musicals, and I look forward to finding more films from Chopra, Khan, and Kajol. What a treat!