1 The fashion
From spiked gelled hair and goatees to khaki pants and sandals, the film induced a new wave of fashion among the youth. Aamir Khan's look became the 'in' thing for millennials. College principals soon had a hard time putting out notices banning 'spiked' haircuts in campuses around the country. Fifteen years later, Dil Chahta Hai remains a trendsetter in cinema fashion.
2 The Goa trip
No film did as much for Goa State Tourism as Farhan Akhtar's friendship saga. Their uber-cool drive from Mumbai to Goa in a Mercedes convertible gave youngsters new friendship goals. Every millennial who has watched the film has wished to travel to the beaches of Baga and Calangute like Sid, Sameer and Akash did. The fort at Aguada beach soon became a pilgrimage for friend squads swearing eternal loyalty.
3 The relationships
Dil Chahta Hai is the perfect dating guide for the millennial. For once, a Hindi film was able to depict the lead actors in relationships that were as confusing, complex and charming as in real life. Akash's slow transformation from the cynic to a romantic, Sid's passionate love that takes on friends and enemies, Sameer's confusing commitment phobia, were cases every youngster identified with. For once, the ladies had just as complex characters and were as commitment phobic as the guys. The stories were unconventional, the romance wasn't.
4 The dialogues
A good cult classic needs its dialogues. Dil Chahta Hai was filled with it. Written by Farhan Akhtar, the film's dialogues were so simple that they could have come from any of our friends. The film's lines made us laugh, cry, and reminded us of our own silly dialoguebaazi.
5 The coming of age
One moment in the film that touched a chord with everyone was the separation of Akash and Sid. Everyone who has ever lost a friend, or got into a fight with their best friend, identified with that moment. It was also the moment when the characters grew up and began to grow farther apart. In the end though, their friendship survives and brings them together. After all, feel-good endings have been inherent to Hindi films.
Dil Chahta Hai was the turning point of Saif Ali Khan's career. As the sometimes naive, mischievous Sameer, the nawab was perfect. He is the glue that binds the gang together, and brings it together in the end again. Plus, we all identified with the guy who was not the macho, suave hero. No guy would admit it, but they have been through the telephone scene at least once in a relationship.
7 The music
Dil Chahta Hai marked the arrival of the electric trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. True RD Burman fans, their turbocharged 'Koi Kahe' became the anthem of a rebellious age. In addition to the zing of the title track, SEL also put out some mellow numbers like the romantic 'Jaane kyun log pyar karte hain'. The standout remains Sonu Nigam's fabulous rendition of 'Tanhayee', which became the song for heartbroken lovers in the 2000s, way before Arijit Singh showed up on the horizon. It began a new age of music in Hindi cinema, much like the lines 'Hum hai naye, andaaz kyun ho puraana' in one of the songs.
8 The urban youth connect
One reason why the film remains vivid in public memory is its connect with the young of that age. With lead characters who were as casual, chic, and often irresponsible, Dil Chahta Hai caught the pulse of young adults trying to make sense of grown-up life in the new millennium. The camaraderie, struggles and failures of Sid, Akash and Sameer were only too familiar for any college graduate of the time.
9 The humour
The most important thing in comedy is timing, they say. The team of Dil Chahta Hai got it spot on with their simple, effortless sense of humour. The magic was furthered by the situational comedy in the film. FRIENDS, anyone?
10 The casting coup
The film was a veritable casting coup. From the hotshots of Hindi cinema like Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan to the charm of Preity Zinta and the gravitas of Dimple Kapadia, Dil Chahta Hai had a stellar group of performers coming together. Combine them with the musical trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and the lyrical genius of Javed Akhtar and you had a magical mixture. The film was a rebirth for the careers of Akshaye Khanna and Saif Ali Khan, in particular.