Woh ladki hai kahan – Shaan/Kavita – Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy – Saif/Sonali | Dil Chahata Hai (2001)

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Movie: This song appeared in 2001 Excel Entertainment’s National Award Winning comic drama Dil Chahta Hai (The Heart Desires) directed by Farhaan Akhtar and produced by Ritesh Sidhwani. The movie starred Aamir Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Kulkarni, Akshaye Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Suchitra Pillai, etc.

The story of the movie involves 3 childhood friends – Akash Malhotra (Aamir Khan), Sameer Mulchandani (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth Sinha Aka Sid (Akshaye Khanna). Akash is a non-believer in love and does not have any relationship that lasts beyond 2 weeks. Sameer is an amiable well-meaning, desperate romantic. He is also a confused person, who is prone to romantic infatuations. Every time he finds a girl, he thinks that he has found his soul mate. Sid is a painter by profession and the most mature of the 3. He is not interested in trivial romances and is dedicated to his work.

When he sets his eyes on Shalini (Preity Zinta), during a college party, he sings a song to impress her. He gets beaten up by her fiancé Rohit (Ayub Khan). Akash engineers a breakup between Sameer and his current girlfriend Priya (Suchitra Pillai). Sid meets an older woman Tara Jaiswal (Dimple Kapadia). Tara is a divorcee and is an alcoholic. He actually falls in love with her when he gets to know about her problems with her ex-husband.

When Sid tells his friends about his love, Akash ridicules him. They have an altercation and Sid breaks his friendship with him. Sid leaves for Kasauli for an art workshop. Akash is sent to Australia by his father to take over their company work there. On the flight, Akash meets Shalini and they become friends. Shalini has come to Sydney to meet her maternal uncle. Rohit is a very possessive fiancé. He insists that she should not talk to any other man. His behavior is often like a torture to her. Akash and Shalini move around and begin to date, with her uncle’s permission. When Rohit comes to know about their meetings, he decides to visit Sydney himself.

Back in India, talks of Sameer’s marriage begin at home. Sameer meets Pooja (Sonali Kulkarni) in this way. He thinks he has fallen in love with her. But, she has a pseudo-romantic somewhat childish boyfriend. Sameer begins to stalk her without her knowing. Pooja realizes that this boyfriend is not for her and dumps him. Sameer gathers some guts to talk to her and they begin to date each other. During one such date, they go to see a movie and they think they are the hero and the heroine performing onscreen. This song sequence appears at this time.

Song: The lyrics of this song were penned by Javed Akhtar and the music was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

The man sings, “I am looking for someone everywhere. I did not find her anytime, anywhere. I should be confident of her love. She should not hesitate to say, ‘Listen, you are the winner of my heart.’ Where is the girl, I have been looking for?” The girl replies, “The girl lives in your dreams. She is the idol of love. You will find her some time in the future. Keep looking here and there.”

Video: Cinematography is by Ravi K Chandran. Dance choreography is by Farah Khan.

The video opens with Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Kulkarni going into the movie hall together. The music has already begun and the curtains are lifted. He thinks that he is the hero in the black and white movie that is being shown. In the movie, he begins to dance. Sonali Kulkarni also joins him in the song-and-dance sequence.

Sonali Kulkarni, sitting in the theatre, is surprised that she is onscreen as well. The lead pair begins to enjoy the song thinking they are performing it. Farah Khan’s choreography of tap-dancing is good. She does not actually show Saif Ali Khan performing the dance, hiding it through camera angles. But, I would have loved it more, if he had done it.

The onscreen location changes to a 1960s movie clip and the lead pair is seen moving in a car, with him driving. They reach a picnic spot where some girls and men are already playing or dancing. They join them in a few shots of dance and then leave. Next shot is of a 1990s movie scenario. They realize that they have fallen in love with each other.

In the cinema hall, they get up from their seats and the music continues. The rest of the audience perform the key dance step of flying, sitting right there on their seats. They lead pair continues to look into each other’s eyes. The song peters out and the video ends as the screen shows, “The Beginning” on it.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Shaan and Kavita Krishnamurti and the onscreen performances are by Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Kulkarni and others.

Cultural Influence: There is not much cultural influence on this typically filmi song, though some tap-dancing (one of the Western dance forms I love) is shown. The hero is looking for his dream girl. The heroine decides to help him find her. The song and the artists are very good. The video is watchable for them.

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