One of the many memorable scenes in Mani Ratnam's 1998 film Dil Se.. (From the Heart) is a private conversation held in a passageway of a busy radio station.
The conversation is between All India Radio executive Amarkant "Amar" Varma (Shah Rukh Khan) and Meghna (Manisha Koirala), who is applying for a job at the station. Amar is in love with this mysterious girl who has repeatedly rejected his advances though he is certain Meghna cares for him. She left Amar and he has tried to forget her and get on with his life. When Meghna shows up for a job interview, he takes her aside and confronts her.
In a rediff.com interview, Mani Ratnam provides some background:
The scene was meant to take place in a lift -- you have moments of privacy and moments of invasion. But when we went for the shoot the day before, the place didn't have an elevator. So we just converted that threshold into another threshold that was a song studio and a doorway, and there were people moving in and out, they'd be caught in the threshold of the thing and then we added both sound and light, which would come and go. You'd hear bits of music and it would get shut off totally. You'd hear silence but see light and then it goes away. It was a kind of private moment in a public space.
Film reviewer Dennis D. MacDonald describes the scene:
In one scene, Amar and Meghna are carrying on a tense, hushed conversation in the hallway of the radio station. A door just beyond them, which has a small window at eye level, is repeatedly opened and closed. The scene’s lighting repeatedly shifts from blue shadow to full natural color as the door is opened and closed. It’s a fascinating effect that reminded me of the flapping shadows in some movie scenes created by rotating ceiling fans — very atmospheric.
David M. Arnold, an IMDB.com reviewer, felt the scene was appropriately jarring:
Every time the hall door opens and shuts the lighting changes from daylight to a deep blue artificial light. The effect is distracting, even annoying, but right on. I think we've all experienced trying to be discreet when the whole world won't cooperate.
The scene is short and is difficult to transcribe because it seems filmed with a great deal of improvisation - just like life. But here is the sense of the scene:
Amar sees Meghna by the door. She goes into the passageway.
Amar (to colleague): I'll be back in a minute.
Amar enters the passageway. A co-worker passes by Amar and Meghna who step to one side. Amar backs up against the wall opposite Meghna. The door swings shut.
Meghna: The certificates you'd asked for. And my bio-data. (The door is pushed opened as three people pass by outside the passageway.) The photocopy is with me.
Amar: You desperately want this job. Then answer my questions.
Amar: Why should I get you this job? Huh? (Steps closer to her.) Why did you leave me? And why have you returned now? Why have you come back here?
Someone enters the passageway and walks between them. Door swings shut.
Meghna: Will I get the job only if I answer these questions?
Amar: Uh-huh. Yes.
Door is pushed open as several people walk by outside the passageway. Meghna turns and exits the passageway.
Amar: Forget it. Come back here.
She turns back. Colleague passes Meghna and enters the passageway.
Colleague (to Amar): How are you.
Amar (to colleague): Hi ... hi.
Meghna returns to the passageway. The door swings shut.
Meghna: What's the point in wanting something not in your fate?
Door is opened as people pass outside the passageway.
Amar: There's no sympathy in your heart. Don't you love me?
Door swings shut.
Meghna: I can't answer this ...
Amar: I've spoken to the ST. (Door swings open, then closed.) You'll get a temporary job. (Door swings open, then closed.) Go out to the second room on the left. Go on. Go.
Meghna exits the passageway as someone passes through the corridor behind her.
Amar: And listen ... wipe your tears.
The door swings shut.