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From the Heart

Away-over-the-top eruption of action, music, romance and politics, the first Hindi feature from Mani Ratnam --- India's answer to John Woo, Oliver Stone and Douglas Sirk rolled into one --- is a defiantly silly but unrelentingly frenzied thriller. Though the length and sheer oomph of the pic are enough to wear out the most partisan crowd (it wasn't a hit at home), fests dazzled by the auteur's recent Tamil run (including "Roja," "Iruvar" and "Bombay") will queue up for the pleasure. With these brassy chops, it's only a matter of time before Ratnam breaks in the West.

Away-over-the-top eruption of action, music, romance and politics, the first Hindi feature from Mani Ratnam — India’s answer to John Woo, Oliver Stone and Douglas Sirk rolled into one — is a defiantly silly but unrelentingly frenzied thriller. Though the length and sheer oomph of the pic are enough to wear out the most partisan crowd (it wasn’t a hit at home), fests dazzled by the auteur’s recent Tamil run (including “Roja,” “Iruvar” and “Bombay”) will queue up for the pleasure. With these brassy chops, it’s only a matter of time before Ratnam breaks in the West.

During 50th anni revels, All India Radio programming exec Amar Kant Varma (Shahrukh Khan) barnstorms the country interviewing the common man. Obsessed with the mysterious Meghna (Manisha Koirala) but forced to marry his folks’ choice, Preethi, he stumbles across a terrorist plot led by the former targeting the Republic Day Parade in Assam. Khan is a cartoonishly hunky, impossibly durable hero, with Koirala (star of “Bombay”) matching him in the melodrama department. With a handful of funky tunes, jaw-dropping choreography and huge action set pieces, “From the Heart” has panache to spare.

From the Heart

(DRAMA -- INDIAN)

Production: A Bharat Shah presentation of an India Talkies production. (International sales: Rishima Intl., Bombay.) Executive producers, Shekhar Kapur, Ram Gopal Varma, Mani Ratnam. Directed, written by Mani Ratnam. Camera (color, CinemaScope), Santosh Sivan; editor, Suresh Urs; music, A.R. Rahman; lyrics, Gulzar. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 20, 1999. Original title: Dil se.. Hindi dialogue. Running time: 163 MIN.

With: With: Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala, Preity Zinta, Raghuvir Yadav, Zora Sehgal, Arundhati Rao, Sabyasachi Chakravarthy, Piyush Mishra, Aditya Krishnakanth, Ken Philip, Sanjay Mishra, Mita Vasisht.

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