By Priyaankaa Mathur
Aditya Chopra’s Directorial Debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge happens to be one of the most favourite films of cinema lovers the world over, even after 25 years of its release on 20th October 1995. This romantic saga between Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) and Simran(Kajol) has touched the hearts of the global Indian audiences for nearly two generations. Filmy Files bring to you an interesting insight into the impact of DDLJ as a global sensation, which still goes strong even after 2 decades.
It is an astounding achievement for a film to run for continuous 25 years in a theatre, wherein Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir is no exception, where the film DDLJ still manages to pull in people to watch it. On one hand, the film created a great impact on the youth with its unique style statements with Raj and Simran being showcased as globe travelling youngsters adorning fashionable and bold outfits. On the other hand, the film took a modern yet traditional take on relationships with these global citizens owning an Indian heart filled with traditional values and emotions, bestowing love and respect towards their elders, which touched the global NRI community.
DDLJ became a cult film in itself which brought to us romance, love, sheer passion along with well-timed humour, creating an onscreen magic that very few films could ever create in the Indian Cinema. It was Raj’s platonic love for Simran that became a fantasy for every girl. Raj who was not a macho hero, but a guy next door with a dimpled smile made any girl week at her knees while, Simran who was not a glamourous damsel, but a simple wimpy shy girl, with whom every girl could relate to.
DDLJ was a perfect balance of Indianness with a global approach which was indeed kept in mind with minute detailing.The Peele Sarson Ke Khet, Desi Kabootar and Mitti Ki Khushboo created that nostalgia of returning to the motherland, representing the very Indianness.While,the green fields of Switzerland, the snow-covered peaks, Grand churches and the Eurail brought the very global outlook, which were brilliantly shot, showcasing excellent cinematography.
The film begins with a holiday plan, when Raj and Simran two young NRIs board the Eurail for a month-long vacation with their friends. Simran comes from a traditional Punjabi family, where her father(Amrish Puri) who’s very strict but loving at the same, allows her to go for the trip with a promise that she won’t put his prestige down and will come back and marry the man of his choice.
While boarding the Eurail Simran loses her compartment and bumps into Raj, both having contrasting personalities and interests, as Simran loves to read, while Raj plays the mandolin while travelling. The fun part of the plot begins with their initial pranks on each other,which lead them to miss the Eurail train.
The story begins to get exciting and romance fills up the space unknowingly when Simran gets drunk as a last resort to survive the extreme cold europian weather and croons ‘Zara sa jhoom loon main’ beautifully sung by Ashaji.The next morning Raj again plays a prank on her and comes a moment, when they mutually start feeling an attraction. The legacy of the film is truly it’s music, while it takes the story forward beautifully.
Finally, the trip comes to an end and comes the moment when they’re parting at the train station when Simran wants to invite Raj to her wedding, but he replies “Main nahi aaunga” intriguing Simran about what it meant. She later shares her feelings for Raj with her mother, which her father gets to know and they leave immediately for Punjab to marry her.
In the second half of the film,the script entwines sounds with memories, which Simran relates to. She initially hears the sound of a Mandolin while her marriage celebrations are on but don’t believe her ears. Unless at dawn she runs to the fields and notices the Cowbell from her Eurail trip on a cow and realises that Raj was somewhere around. Later she’s surprised to find him standing in the fields stretching his arms singing to her and singing the song ‘Tujhe dekha to ye jana sanam. The song is an evergreen melody that is the epitome of pure love in Hindi Cinema which has created an impact unlike any other…While Raj faces all trials to pursue her father unless he gives his permission to marry his daughter.
The reason why the film created an impact Is that it had a very progressive thought against the patriarchy. The film shows Simran’s mother as a woman of courage who says to her,” I don’t want you to live a suffocated life like me” and advised her to run away with Raj, as she knows her husband’s adamant nature who would never allow their marriage. While Raj at this moment tells her he believes in the right way to do things and will only marry Simran with his father’s permission, and tells her, “Aapne beti Vida kardi, ab doli uthane ki der hai”. Here the film again establishes the strong value system touching the sensitive chord of an indian marriage, while also defining his character as a next-generation Indian guy with a compassionate heart towards both the mother and the daughter.
The love story finally concludes with a happy ending leaving a sense of lasting continuity on the minds, while it begins with the Eurail culminates with a happy train journey. In the climax, Kajol pleads to her father to let her go with Raj who awaits his permission, till the end while he boards the train… and finally, after testing Raj enough, her father allows her to run and catch the train, saying ” Bhaag Simran bhaag, Is ladke se zyada tujhe koi aur pyaar nahin kar sakta”…and they unite forever.
DDLJ still has the power to win a billion hearts, since it serves the purpose of cinema which is to touch the hearts and transform beliefs. In popularity, DDLJ is considered equal to The Titanic, both the films being at par for the love they received from the global audiences, taking the lead actors to overnight fame.
One can estimate DDLJ’s global impact, success and popularity with the fact that to commemorate the films Silver Jubilee this year, a Bronze Statue of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol will be unveiled in London’s Leicester Square. The statue will be a part of the film attraction scenes which will be a fitting tribute to the global popularity of Bollywood films. This will intern build cultural bridges by attracting their fans from all around the world. The statue is expected to be unveiled by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol at a special celebratory event.