Dil Se..

He is a radio reporter, she an undercover human bomb. He realizes that she is up to no good, but pursues her nonetheless. Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se..’, starring Khan and Manisha Koirala, intertwines with mixed success a man’s love for a woman and his love for the nation. ‘Dil Se..’ has many incomplete ideas and is often too glamorous to be credible, but Ratnam creates several memorable moments—a near-kiss under the stars in Ladakh, her re-entry in his life on the day of his engagement, a tense conversation in a half-lit corridor at the radio station, his last-ditch attempt to convert her (and save the country from an attack). And the songs, the songs. Many leading men have clambered on to trains to announce that they are in love, but nobody can match Khan’s exuberance in ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’.

Josh

Mansoor Khan moves ‘West Side Story’ to Goa and, in an audacious piece of casting, pairs Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai as fraternal twins who drift apart after she falls in love with the brother of his arch rival. The matinee idols have such uncharismatic romantic partners that it seems deliberate. The real meat in the story is in the relationship between the hot-headed brother and his gentler, but equally stubborn sister.

Swades

One of Khan’s nicest roles, and one of Ashutosh Gowariker’s better films, does have what they call a “love interest", but the real story here is about an America-returned scientist’s rediscovery of India. Mohan Bhargav’s heart is divided between a career in the US and the ancient problems facing his country. The resulting conflicts between the heart and the mind are far more interesting than his anodyne romance with Gayatri Joshi’s (what else) schoolteacher.

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