On 20 Years of Dil Chata Hai, Here’s Why Sid Is My Favourite Bollywood Hero

Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna starring Dil Chahta Hai completed 20 years today. The movie revolutionised the way Bollywood films were made and seen. The film changed storytelling, cinematography, and art direction in the business. Today, it’s a cult film that fans keep going back to whenever they need a pick-me-up.  


While fans adore all three characters for their individual characteristics, I particularly enjoyed Sid's emotional maturity, complexity, and grace throughout the story.


From the minute the three appears on the screen, it is evident that Akash and Sameer are man-children who have a long way to go in their development. Sid, on the other hand, is a thoughtful, quietly brooding man who is not only self-aware but also the friendship's backbone. Sid is a breath of fresh air in an industry that fosters the concept of toxic masculinity and macho guys, as played by the incredibly gifted Akshaye Khanna. He's composed, compassionate, and doesn't hold back when it comes to expressing his feelings.  


Sid is a painter in the film who uses his canvas to portray emotions. He communicates his own struggle as well as that of his subjects through his paintings. He doesn't move at the same speed as his friends, who can't seem to go any further than the surface. Sid has a tendency to feel too much, to understand others, and to be perplexed by life's peculiarities. Sid goes out with his gang, but he has an aloofness about him that puts him apart from his pal's wild energy. It's as though he's on the lookout for anything that will satisfy his aesthetic sensibilities. Sid's search appears to be over when he meets Tara Jaiswal, his inspiration and ultimate love relationship (Dimple Kapadia).


Tara is an interior designer who turns to alcohol as a coping technique after her tumultuous divorce. Sid goes from being an empathetic friend to falling in love with Tara as they talk art and their personal lives. And it's not without reason. After all, Tara is the only one who can read his mind and understand the meaning of his paintings. Sid is content to remain Tara's friend, lend his support, and paint her portrait despite the fact that she does not reciprocate his feelings. When Akash and Sameer discover the true nature of Sid's affections for Tara, they have a falling out and go their own ways.


Sid's gentle empathy for his pals, his friend's ex, his mother, Tara, and everyone who enters his way shone out for me throughout the film. As a child of the 1990s, I was raised on a steady diet of Bollywood films that popularised the concept of a macho male who follows (read: stalks) and even harasses a woman until she succumbs to his advances. In other films, the ‘hero' doesn't bat an eyelid before releasing his pent-up rage and expressing his feelings through violence and violent behaviour. As a result, seeing Khanna's Sid talk in a soft, quiet tone, create art, and love selflessly transformed my perception of a romantic hero. The days of the loud, in-your-face man were over, and we were replaced with a sweet, slightly introverted Sid. He gives you the impression that if you told him everything, he would take your hand, hug you, and tell you everything will be fine.  


That is why, even after two decades, Sid continues to be one of Bollywood's best on-screen heroes. I go back to Dil Chahta Hai whenever I need to believe in the inherent goodness of human beings and watch Sid manage life in his calm, kind manner. Khanna's talent as an actor, who conveys himself more through his silences than his sentences, is unrivalled. There aren't many male Bollywood characters who can compare to Khanna's Sid, even after two decades.