It was the first Bollywood film to be shot in Baden-Baden and Europa Park, both German tourist attractions. Dil To Pagal Hai was a major commercial success, and became the highest grossing Indian film of the year worldwide. The film garnered praise for its storyline and soundtrack. Additionally, the film won three National Film Awards and eight Filmfare Awards. The film has attained cult status over the years and is regarded as one of Chopra's best.
Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Nisha (Karisma Kapoor) are members of a massive dance troupe that performs dance based musical plays. They are the best of friends, although Nisha is secretly in love with Rahul. Rahul announces his desire to direct a musical named Maya. The members of the troupe, including Nisha, have their doubts about the title character, "Maya", who Rahul describes as a girl who believes in true love and awaiting for her prince charming who will surely turn up and take her away. Meanwhile, Pooja (Madhuri Dixit) is introduced, an amazing dancer, classically trained as well, and passionate about dancing. Having been orphaned at a young age, she has been raised by close friends of her parents.
Pooja and Rahul have a string of near-misses as they run into each other time and again. Each of these instances is marked by a tune playing in the background, that registers with Pooja. During rehearsals for the play, Nisha injures her leg and the doctor says she cannot dance for a few months. Rahul needs a new woman to play the lead role in the play. He comes across Pooja dancing one day and believes she is perfect for the role. He begs her to come to their rehearsals and she agrees. Rahul and Pooja become close friends. Doted upon by her foster family, Pooja is soon taken to Germany by her guardian's son Ajay (Akshay Kumar), herchildhood best friend who has been in London for months. Just as Ajay leaves to fly to England, he proposes to Pooja. In a dilemma, she ends up accepting it.
Nisha soon returns from hospital and is upset that she has been replaced. Knowing that Rahul does not reciprocate her love, she decides to leave for London. Throughout rehearsals, Rahul and Pooja find themselves falling for one another. When Rahul drops Pooja home one day, he starts whistling his tune, making Pooja realize that she has fallen for the man with the tune she so often heard. The next day, the two go to meet Pooja's old dance tutor, who Pooja addresses as Tai (Aruna Irani), who figures that the two are blatantly in love. At the wedding of two members of the dance troupe, Rahul and Pooja share an intimate moment but are unsure how to fully express their love.
A few days before the premiere, Ajay arrives at the rehearsal hall to surprise Pooja while telling everyone that he is her fiancé. Rahul is heartbroken but tries not to show it. Nisha, who has returned, notices Rahul's devastation and explains how she too was devastated when he did not love her in return. Rahul edits the end of the play to reflect his heartbreak, in contrast to his usual style of always giving a happy ending. On the night of the premiere, as Rahul and Pooja's characters are about to break up on stage, Ajay plays a recorded tape Pooja was going to send him before his proposal where she described how she felt about Rahul. Ajay is indirectly telling Pooja that she and Rahul are meant to be together. Pooja now realises she truly loves Rahul and the two confess their love on stage as the audience applauds them, giving the play a happy ending once again. Also, backstage, Ajay ends up asking Nisha whether she is already married or not (implying him getting interested in her).Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul
Madhuri Dixit as Pooja
Karisma Kapoor as Nisha
Akshay Kumar as Ajay
Farida Jalal as Pooja's guardian/ Ajay's mother
Deven Verma as Pooja's guardian/ Ajay's father
Aruna Irani as Pooja's teacher
Ameesha Patel as Backstage Speaker
Dil To Pagal Hai was the second of Chopra's four movies to star Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role. It was the third film to feature Shah Rukh Khan opposite Madhuri Dixit. The film was originally titled "Maine to Mohabbat Kar Li" and "Tevar" before Yash Chopra finally settled on "Dil To Pagal Hai" as the title. Originally the first choice for the role, Kapoor was hesitant to take on the project. The role had been offered to Manisha Koirala. Manisha Koirala refused the role and Chopra offered it to Juhi Chawla as Chopra wanted the two leading actresses of that time to appear together on screen but Chawla did not want to play second fiddle to Dixit especially after playing the main lead actress in Chopra's Darr. Kajol and Raveena Tandon were next; however, Kajol deemed the role insubstantial while Raveena Tandon was considering quitting her career at the time. The role then was also offered to actress Urmila Matondkar who accepted, but left the film after a day of shooting. No leading lady of that time was willing to take the risk of playing the second lead to Madhuri. Chopra re-approached Kapoor with the film and she agreed to take up the challenge and was finally signed for the role. The decision of playing the second lead in the film, fetched Kapoor the National Film Award and the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress.
This was one of Shahid Kapoor's first appearances on film. He was a background dancer in the song "Dil Le Gayi".
The Film "Dil To Pagal" Hai music album includes 10 songs. The songs for the film were composed by Uttam Singh. Lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi. The music was a major hit among the public, with the album becoming the bestselling Bollywood soundtrack of the year.
Dil To Pagal Hai grossed ₹59.82 crore (US$9.3 million) in India and $3.3 million (₹12.04 crore) in other countries, for a worldwide total of ₹71.86 crore (US$11 million), against its ₹9 crore (US$1.4 million) budget. It had a worldwide opening weekend of ₹4.71 crore (US$730,000), and grossed ₹8.97 crore (US$1.4 million) in its first week. It is the highest-grossing film of 1997 worldwide.
It opened on Friday, October 31, 1997, across 245 screens, and earned ₹98 lakh (US$150,000) nett on its opening day. It became the third highest opener of the year behind Border (₹1.12 crore (US$170,000) nett) and Koyla (₹1.06 crore (US$170,000) nett). It grossed ₹2.75 crore (US$430,000) nett in its opening weekend, and had a first week of ₹5.24 crore (US$820,000) nett. The film earned a total of ₹34.97 crore (US$5.5 million) nett. It is the 2nd-highest-grossing film of 1997 in India after Border which grossed ₹39.45 crore (US$6.2 million) nett.
It earned $3.3 million (₹12.04 crore) outside India. Overseas, It is the highest-grossing film of 1997.
Omar Ahmed of Empire gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, noting, "It's great eye-candy, painting a portrait of a newly prosperous India in rainbow colours. Good performances too make this a cut above the Bollywood average."
Yahoo! Movies, Rediff.com, IBNLive and The Times of India have listed Dil To Pagal Hai as one of the top 10 Yash Chopra films.