Dil Se is a 1998 Indian, romantic thriller film in the backdrop of Insurgency in Northeast India, written and directed by Mani Ratnam, and produced by Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, and Shekhar Kapur. The film stars Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala in lead roles while Preity Zinta (in her film debut) appears in a supporting role. Mani Ratnam also co-wrote the screenplay for the film. It is the third in Ratnam’s trilogy of terror films after Roja and Bombay. An example of Parallel Cinema, the film won the Netpac Award at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.
Amar Kant Varma (Shahrukh Khan) is a Program executive for All India Radio, dispatched from New Delhi to cover festivities in Assam. On his way there, during a rainy night, Amar stops at Haflong train station to catch Baraks Valley express, where a mysterious woman asks him for a cup of tea. When he returns with the tea, he watches her board the next train with three male passengers. Later, Amar spots the same woman inSilchar. He attempts to talk to her but she says she cannot recall meeting him before. As part of his news reporting assignment, for the occasion of fifty years of Indian Independence, Amar interviews many citizens of Barak Valley, and an extremist leader, who claim that the reason behind human rights violations and poverty in the region is due to Indian Government, and that the Liberationists do not wish to enter into any dialogue with the government, and further justify their resistance in Utthar Purv.
A few weeks later, Amar describes his encounter with the woman, over the Radio. He again spots her at a post office (It is later revealed that she is corresponding to her terrorist group in New Delhi, planning a suicide attack). At this juncture, she tells him to leave her; but he follows her to the house and tells her that he is in love with her, but she resists and tells Amar that she is married. Amar wishes to apologise to her, but she arrives with two men (who Amar believes are her husbands) who beat him unconscious.
During the beating, Amar learns that the men are presumably her brothers and that she had lied about her being married. He reaches her home, and learns from the locals that she is a Kashmiri. Amar then goes to the post office where he initially spotted her and bribes the PCO owner into giving him her contact details, and learns that she is telephoning to Ladakh. Subsequently, Amar travels to Leh, and while recording the Sindhu Darshan Festival, a suicide bomber is chased to death by the military, and Amar spots the woman again. (It is later revealed that the woman is associated with him). The woman boards the bus, and while Amar claims to the military, that he is here reporting on the festival, the woman uses Amar to her advantage, purporting in front of the military personnel that she is with her husband.
The bus takes off. After some travel, the bus breaks down and the passengers are required to walk to the nearby village. En route Amar forces the woman to reveal her name: Meghna. The two end up travelling together and recuperate. Next day, Amar wakes to find Meghna gone (It is later revealed that Meghna is part of a Liberationists group which plans multiple suicide attacksin New Delhi at the upcoming Republic Day celebration).
Amar returns to his home in Delhi, where his family has found in Preeti Nair (Preity Zinta) from Kerala, a potential bride for him. Amar agrees to marry Preeti because he does not hope to meet Meghna again. On his date with Preeti, Amar spots one of Meghna’s associates, Kim, who banished him earlier. Amar chases him down to Connaught Place, where the man kills himself with cyanide, and the police relinquish the situation to the CBI.
Much to Amar’s surprise, Meghna is in Delhi with her group, and requests Amar to help her get an employment as an office assistant at Amar’s All India Radio office. (It is later revealed that Meghna actually arrives to Delhi along with her terrorist group and stays in Amar’s residence to escape from the CBI inquiry operation). Based on eyewitness claims of the Connaught Place incident, Amar is now a prime suspect of the CBI (Piyush Mishra). At this juncture Amar follows Meghna and questions her motives, and she reveals to Amar, that her name is actually Moina, and as a child, she had been a rape victim in the Kunan Poshpora incident and seeks liberation through her suicide attack on the Indian army and the President of India during the Republic Day. Now the CBI convinces the Army general of India to grant permission to conduct security checks of all the Army convoys and tankers participating in the parade.
Amar is again assaulted by Moina’s associate (Aditya Srivastava) and the terrorists and as Amar fights back the terrorists receive a call from Moina on their mobile. Amar grabs the mobile and pleads Moina to stop all this and marry him. Moina reveals that it is too late, and presumes Amar is being killed. But Amar returns home, only to find out from Preeti that Amar’s mother is also being questioned and that Moina’s location is at Sunder Nagar. The CBI also misconstrue that Amar is part of the terrorist group and arrest him.
Amar claims to the CBI that he is not in cahoots with the terrorists, but in love with Moina and that he has interviewed one of the extremist leaders and wants to prevent them from perpetrating the attack. The CBI rejects Amar’s claims and sedates him for further interrogation. The next day Moina is ready for the suicide attack. Amar escapes from the CBI and tries to hold Moina back. Amar expresses his love and desire to be with her, embraces her and pleads her to live with him. As they embrace, the explosive vest worn by Moina explodes, killing them both.