Dil Lagi (1999)
Cast: Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Urmila
Director: Sunny Deol
Nutshell: Mediocre reworking of the old classic Sabrina Fair
Dil lagi is Sunny Deol’s first directorial venture and the first time pairing of the two Deol brothers which therefore raises high expectations. The story revolves around the brothers, Ranbir (Sunny) and Rajwir (Bobby) brought up in the city after leaving their village in the punjab. Their mother passes away at an early stage and leaves it to Ranbir to look after and care for his younger brother. The family makes it big and we have the cliched situation of the shy and hardworking brother Ranbir who is devoted to work and nothing else and Rajwir, the college going womaniser. Into this milieu is introduced the love interest, Urmila with whom Ranbir falls in love after seeing her in the rain briefly at a bus stop and who falls in love with Rajwir who is at her college. But of course, Rajwir is only interested in having a good time and says that he is not in love with her. She realises this only after she has rejected the marriage proposal of Ranbir. The rest of the film deals with how this traingle is resolved.
Sounds old fashioned and cliched? It is, along with being fairly mindless and innocuous. However, Sunny Deol does infuse a certain amount of freshness in it by avoiding a heavyhanded approach which saves the film from being a total disaster. However, it much too long and about four songs too many.
As far as performances go, loathe as I am to admit it, Bobby Deol is excellent in the role of the womanising and immature brother. It may be thought that the role has negative shades to it but Bobby brings to it, a naturalness which makes his character very real and human. For this, credit must be given to Sunny for etching his role in such a way. Sunny himself has a role which he has played before, almost identically in Pyaar koi khel nahin, his previous release. He is generous to the extent of allowing his brother to have more screen time then himself in the first half and then giving himself some importyance towards the second half. Urmila is passable, no better no worse than she usually is…but there is a sameness about her which makes her a most uninteresting actress to watch.
The music of the film should have been a highlight, for a subject like this requires great music. But apart from the Nusrat Fateh Ali song “tanhai” and Dhoom dhoom luck luck, which is by no means a good song, I cannot remember a single song from the film except to know that atleast three have been lifted from famous western songs, one being a Frank Sinatra song. This is extremely sad as there are three different music directors for the film and there is absolutely nothing original in the score.
The film has a strong punjabi feel to it and the mood is well captured by Sunny Deol. If only he could cut the film by half and hour and give it a decent story, we might actually see a director of some promise here!