Scene By Scene: Akaash Breaks Down in Dil Chahta Hai

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Picking your favorite scene is like picking your favorite child. Now I don’t have the latter, far from it, but I use the comparison simply to illustrate the difficulty the task poses. However, when I sat down to think about it a moment, I was surprised my favorite movie, DDLJ, didn’t come immediately to mind. Instead, the one that came to mind immediately was Dil Chahta Hai.

The Scene
Akaash, played by Aamir Khan, is in Australia, alone, with the looming reality that the girl that he’s in love with is about to get married to another. He comes back to his apartment after an uninspired and distracted day’s worth of work only to pick up the phone and call his friend, Sameer (Saif Ali Khan). Except to his surprise, he calls Sid (Akshaye Khanna), who because of personal problems, he doesn’t speak with anymore. He’s caught off guard when Sid’s mom picks up the phone and after deferring puts the phone down and completely breaks down. Akaash’s father calls immediately after and correctly deciphers Akaash’s loneliness and troubles and asks him to come back home.

What Makes It So Special
* Sigh * I need a moment…

Ok. This scene gets to me every time I watch it. And I must have watched it entirely too many times than anyone should admit. There’s a reason for it however…

Let me begin with the movie for I believe it provides a context for why I love the scene so much. This was a very coming of age, turn of the century movie. Dil Chahta Hai came out in 2001 and heralded a type of Indian cinema which was more stylized, practical, and most importantly, relatable to the younger generations. The characters had true-to-life dialogues and circumstances, which made empathizing with them so much easier. Akaash was the ever confident, doesn’t believe in love, bravado filled youth we love to hate. Sameer was the lovable guy who thought he was in love with every new girl he met. And Sid was the self-reflective, quieter, and more demure part of the group. When Akaash and Sid have that fight, my heart broke for such a beautiful friendship that was over an issue not communicated and agreed upon between the two friends from the beginning.

Getting back to the scene, when Akaash breaks down, all of that confidence, jokes, and smiles gives way to the one thing that we never thought would happen to him – falling in love. The scene before shows an awkward dinner where Akaash openly shows his discomfort with being around Shalini (Preity Zinta), her fianc

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