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Why Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein Still Continues To Occupy A Place In My Heart

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Before I begin, I must tell you that I have always loved watching romantic films. Being a 90s kid, I was fond of romantic movies that showcased love through the lens of sensitivity and innocence. Movies such as Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’ (1998) and Anees Bazmee’s ‘Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha’ would certainly feature on my all-time favourite list.

Then in October 2001, released Gautham Menon’s “Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein”. Starring R. Madhavan, Dia Mirza, and a very young and charming Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles, the film was a light-hearted romantic comedy film with a pinch of salt and pepper. The film might have bombed at the box office in 2001, but it has garnered a lot of fan following in recent times.

A Sweet and Simple Love Story

Loving someone back in the early 2000s used to be an uncomplicated affair. I say this because people did not have a myriad of social media tools to complicate matters. In the film, Madhavan’s character Maddy watches a girl on a rainy evening in Mumbai and that turns into a case of love at first sight. I guess most of us who have seen the film would remember Maddy telling his father ( played by Anupam Kher) ” Dad, Mujhe mil gayi my kind of girl”. These 2-3 scenes are decorated with countless traces of innocence and naivety. Also, a sincere thanks to “Mumbai ki barsaat for making this scene memorable.

Tujhe Paa Ke Rahenge Type of a Love Story

After that, Maddy, with a little help from his dad, plans to impress and woo the lovely young lady, Reena (Dia Mirza).  Maddy, in his attempt to win the girl’s heart, assumes the identity of Rajiv Samra ( played by a young and charming Saif Ali Khan), the guy the leading lady is supposed getting engaged to.  After Maddy assumes Sam’s identity, he tries whatever he can in his bid to impress the girl. Now comes the big plot twist. Sam turns out to be none other than Maddy’s biggest rival. After the real Sam bumps into the picture, Reena is left shaken and heartbroken.

After the revelation,  as one would expect, the film goes into ” Tere bin naa jee sakunga” mode wherein Maddy loses his cool and confronts Sam in a secluded parking lot, where he is about to break Sam’s jaw, but changes his mind at the last minute.

The Comic Timing is Quite Impressive

The story might sound a bit too predictable, but it has quite a lot of moments to keep the viewer on the edge of his/her seat. Not only is Vrajesh Hirjee’s comic timing spot on, but several comic scenes and sequences featuring Madhavan himself are just as impressive.

The scene wherein  Maddy goes on a date with Reena thinking it is her birthday is enough to make anybody laugh. A date at a Taj Hotel ends up being a ‘sasta jugaad’ at a Panipuri thela.  Also, who can forget Maddy gulping down big and juicy chunks of chicken at a restaurant after pretending to be a non-veg lover? He then quietly sneaks into the restroom and vomits out everything. Well, it certainly would be no hyperbole to say that these sequences are enough to make anybody burst into laughter. Moreover, the lead pair’s effortless and youthful chemistry looks believable and sweet.

Not to Forget, the Music is Just as Good

A lot of us fell in love with the young and stylish Saif when he picks up the guitar and sings “Dil ko tum se pyaar hua”.  Vocals, provided by Roop Kumar Rathod sound easy on the ears. Harris Jayaraj’s music is spot on. There’s a song for every mood.  There’s melody of the highest order in the song ” Zara Zara” sung by the evergreen Jayashree Ramnath. The song aptly portrays the vulnerability and fragility present in the leading lady’s heart. Then comes “Sach Keh Raha Hai Deewana” sung by KK (I must admit I sang the same song when the girl I had a crush on declined my proposal :)). Lyrics, penned by Sameer Anjaan, are easy on the ears and do not sound laboured and heavy. Even 17 years down the line, RHTDM’s music sounds as fresh and charming as it sounded back in 2001.

Your Typical Bollywood Love Story

The film had all the ingredients of a typical Bollywood romantic comedy. Madhavan, with his ‘bad-boy’ image, became the heartthrob of many. Saif, as Rajiv Samra, was your elegant and sophisticated NRI guy with a huge stock of one-liners at his disposal, and not to forget, Dia Mirza was your young, charming, and naive girl who falls in love with the wrong guy at the wrong time.

One would agree that Saif turns out to be the unlikely villain towards the end and Maddy wins over the girl despite being rough and flawed. The ending was exactly what all of us wanted it to be. It had that “feel-good” factor attached to it.

Despite being one of the most well-packed romantic comedy flicks of the year, RHTDM  performed way below our expectations. It is quite astounding to see that the film’s popularity, over all these years, has grown by leaps and bounds. The urban youth has connected well with the film. They love it for the sheer simplicity and raw charm.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein occupies a special place in the hearts of the film’s fans.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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