Well someone called Srknkjol was good enough to post the movie Dil Se (with English subtitles) on YouTube. [Edit. note a few months later: Oops, looks like it’s disappeared with account suspended. Oh, well…] Although I admittedly could have gotten better screen quality in another version (bought somewhere?), I’m not all that fussy about that sort of thing, so I watched the whole movie. And overall, I do think it was worthwhile.
I am aware that some people don’t like it much, and I can see that there are problems, especially in the character development. It’s not always believable that this guy becomes so crazy about this girl, especially since he doesn’t get to know her much more than he did the first moment that he saw her (and neither do we, come to think of it). Conversely, it seems odd that she ends up loving him (sort of) after, or because of, all his obsessive stalking (but maybe that’s a Bollywood thing).
As for the bigger social subject of the movie – terrorists, suicide bombers, sunshowers, etc. – I didn’t think it did such a terrible job. We see some explanation of the terrorists’ motivations and their own anguish, though it doesn’t get much into individual personalities or get very deep. (At least this is more than the cartoonish crap that we get in some shows or movies about terrorists, especially here in the U.S.) And it does become compelling, especially toward the end (especially because there is some nice acting, I think – but also because the scenes are visually impressive (even on YouTube), and Rahman’s music is usually good at raising the drama level).
The prevailing mood moves very far away from that euphoric train scene in the item number at the beginning…but I think that’s pretty common in these Indian movies too (I’m learning that). Overall, it’s quite grim. But so is life – especially in these situations…