5 Stars - Rotten Tomatoes
An excellent film - one that captures all the elements of Bollywood, and then twists and turns them around to surprise and entertain the viewer. The film tells the story of Nandini, who falls in love with Sameer, a confident man who is staying at their house to study classical music. Nandini, however, is arranged to wed Vanraj, which prevents her from being with her lover. Vanraj, now Nandini's husband, agrees to help her find Sameer, so they travel to Italy (where Sameer lives) to find him. It is specifically this unique storyline, the music (classical and modern), the scenery (desert, Italy, etc.,) and the playing with traditional Bollywood film tropes that create a fun and unique viewing experience.
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is definitely similar to the 1995 classic Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), as the type of playful romance that Sameer and Nandini have is comparable to that of Raj and Simran - but only to that of Raj and Simran in the first part of the film. The difference is that Raj and Simran eventually are able to mature their love once Raj agrees to go to India - and without giving anything away - Sameer and Nandini have difficulties with moving beyond that stage. Tejaswini Ganti writes in their novel Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema, that the traditional love story found in Bollywood films is that in which a "character is torn between someone s/he loves and someone s/he is obliged to marry" (40). The joy in watching a film like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, is that the audience enters the film expecting the traditional love story, explained by Ganti, but instead are treated to a twist on what is expected. It is this intentional playing with the elements found within Bollywood cinema that truly make Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam a one-of-a-kind movie worth watching again and again!