"Dil Se" is easily the most cerebral film churned out by commercial Indian cinema in the last decade. It is not presented as a separatist polemic, nor should it be considered as such (as a lot of myopic viewers have done). Nor is it a film about terrorism. It is essentially a love story told against the backdrop of terrorism. Mani Ratnam is at his best, producing what can only be called surreal realism. Many of you may have forgotten, but once upon a time Shah Rukh Khan was a good actor, and this is easily one of his best performances. Preity Zinta is the only glimmer of relief in this heavy handed tale of darkness and despair. This was also her first film. Rahman's songs are his career best, each of the six tracks more replendent than the last. Above all, however, Dil Se belongs to the luminously gifted Manisha Koirala, who delivers a crushing and skinless portrayal of a reluctant avenger. In a role of almost no dialogue, she speaks volumes through her reticent glances and a body language that is burdened by sorrow. It is a sin that such dramatically gifted actresses like Manisha, Tabu, Juhi, Nandita Das, etc. are relegated to competing for potboiler non-roles that crown glamorous dance queens like Aishwariya, Amisha, Madhuri and ilk the top of the heap. India has great actors- the film industry just doesn't know how to utilize them.