More than two decades back, I was feeling to be in love with a girl (can’t say now whether it was actually love or just a childish craving to get that girl in my life). When I proposed to her and allowed my proposal to reach her family, I was damn confident of winning her hand without much of a fuss. The girl was from the same caste, her parents had been knowing me (and liking me too) since our very childhood, I was professionally qualified as well as earning satisfactorily and thus entitled to be called an eligible bachelor, the girl’s parents were already looking for a suitable groom for her to get her married and above all, the girl too liked me and this fact was well-known to her parents. So all the odds appeared to be in my favour. But as they say, when everything is going right, something may go wrong. My proposal was turned down and when I approached the girl’s home personally with my mother in this regard, not only the visit was unsuccessful but I had to hear such a hurting and utterly humiliating assertion also that I am hesitant to quote in public.
Some years passed. That girl got married first to someone else and then my matrimonial alliance also materialized. 6th November, 1995 was fixed as my engagement day and the ceremony took place at the residence of my would-be in-laws at Jodhpur (Rajasthan). During the day time, my maternal aunt (living at Jodhpur itself) proposed me to watch a movie with my would-be wife during the day as the ceremony was to take place in the evening hours. I asked my in-laws for that and they agreed to send her with me for a movie (albeit her nephew and niece also accompanied us). The tickets were arranged by my would-be brother-in-law and we reached the Nasrani theatre of Jodhpur to watch Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which was released just the previous month and going great on the box office. It happened exactly 17 years ago from today. I enjoyed the movie with my would-be wife alongwith her nephew and niece and then the engagement ceremony also took place merrily in the evening. And on the 25th day from that, we got married on 01.12.1995 and now are living happily with our two kids.However while watching the movie for the first time in theatre, when the second half of the movie was in progress, I was wondering that had the movie arrived a few years ago, would I have thrown my weapons so easily in the case of that failed marriage proposal put forth by me ? Later on, I watched this movie again in Maratha Mandir (Mumbai) too in the noon show (whose ticket was priced quite less due to the tax exemption there) and thought a lot about this movie. Finally, I concluded that there’s something about this movie which I had not read in any review or article pertaining to this movie. And that is – getting anything in your life you cherish, is a mission, a project which demands planning, efforts, self-belief, patience and perseverance. For a boy, winning the hand of a girl in marriage also falls into this line only. Winning her heart is one thing but after that, winning the will of her family / parents / guardians for the desired marriage is an altogether different and equally (if not more) difficult business.DDLJ is a love story of Raj (Shah Rukh Khan), an irresponsible motherless youth who happens to be the son of a rich NRI (Anupam Kher) in London and Simran (Kajol) who is the daughter of a London based Indian chemist (Amrish Puri) who despite living away from his motherland, has not compromised with the Indian family values. He expects his family members to follow the same path and Simran too has always complied with whatever she has been taught by him. However she has a vision of her prince-charming in her heart that she expresses in her poems. Against expectations, she gets permission from her father to go on a one month long tour of Europe with her friends and during this tour, she comes across Raj. And thereafter life is not the same either for Raj or for Simran.
However, since Simran is already engaged to a youth in Punjab (India), her father gets furious when coming to know that she has fallen in love with someone. He, with his family, returns back to India and starts arranging for Simran’s marriage with her childhood-fiance, Kuljeet (Parmeet Sethi). Now it’s a great challenge for Raj to win the hand of his sweetheart from her parents. He too comes to their place and gets intermixed in the family, pretending to be from the side of the groom. Winning over Simran’s mother (Farida Jalaal) and younger sister (Pooja Ruparel) proves to be a cakewalk for him but winning the trust and will of Simran’s father is a Herculean Task especially when he had already shown his true colour to him once on his chemist shop in London. How this Dilwala (a man with a heart) is able to carry (Le Jaana) his Dulhaniya (bride) with him forms the post-interval session of the movie.
The title of this movie has been taken from a very old but highly popular song of Kishore Kumar from the movie Chor Machaye Shor (1974). This is the first directorial venture of Aditya Chopra which bears a clear stamp of the vision of his legendary father – (Late) Yash Chopra. The first half has been devoted to romance whereas the second one, as said earlier, has been devoted to Raj’s mission of winning the hand of Simran from her father. This film has a lot to like and that’s why the viewer (like me) gets carried away and overlooks the loopholes in the script as well as the over the top things and cinematic liberties freely taken by the narrator.
Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge can be termed as the second most popular movie made in the history of Bollywood, second only to Sholay (1975) and just like Sholay, it is also a masterpiece by default and not by any deliberate effort. The filmmaker has made this movie by keeping his eyes on the box office only and he has not only used all kinds of regular formulae but also spent money like water on this excessively costly venture.
The movie is excessively long (more than three hours duration) but since it is engrossing and lovable, nobody feels its length. Instead the spectator wishes to see a bit more of the story. The second half is Raj’s journey towards the destination of winning the permission of his would-be father-in-law to make Simran his bride. The journey is exceedingly pleasant and we move on with Raj on his path, watching the accomplishment of his mission and the destination also comes quite impressively. The final scene on the station when Simran’s father suddenly releases her wrist caught in his fist and asks her to rush towards the train carrying Raj, is something to cherish for a lifetime.
The first half shows the faith of Simran’s father in his Indian family and social values and his love towards the soil of his motherland despite his living away from it. It also shows the development of romance of Raj and Simran which is heart-warming. Simran’s fear of having lost her virginity while in the state of intoxication and then Raj’s telling him that he knows what the virginity of an Indian girl is worth, wins the heart of the audience. And when these two part with the song – Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyar Sajna being heard in the background, is unforgettable for any romantic heart.
In this movie, actually it’s the script which despite being formula-studded, makes it a winner and renders it the status of a cult movie. There are several heart-conquering sequences with the impressive dialogs in both the halves. The doses of romance, sentiments and music are sufficient to take the audience in a state of trance especially when watching the film in theatre. And that’s why this movie could run for one and a half decades in Maratha Mandir cinema of Mumbai.
Jatin-Lalit’s music is mesmerizing. Though all the songs are good and Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jaana Sanam and Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna Doli Saja Ke Rakhna were chartbusters, I will mention two different songs here – the first one is Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyar Sajna which underscores the depth of love in the hearts of both the lovers with a high level of intensity and the second one is Ghar Aaja Pardesi Tera Des Bulaaye Re which is definitely an underrated song of this album (sung by Pamela Chopra, the mother of the director with Manpreet Kaur and others). You listen to it calmly and then you will feel the fragrance of the Indian soil through its words (penned by Anand Bakshi). Any NRI living abroad may get passionate to see his motherland by listening to this song. And Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye is a song showing not only the talent but also the unmatchable sex-appeal of Kajol.
Performances are great. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol have shown amazing on-screen chemistry and won the heart of the audience quite effortlessly with their performances. It’s a movie to be watched again and again by lovers (and that too together). All others have also done well including Anupam Kher, being the proud father of Raj (despite all the minus points in his son’s personality) and Farida Jalaal, being the frustrated mother who wants her daughter not to undergo the same frustration in her life as she herself had undergone.
However the actor who has immortalized himself in this movie is Amrish Puri who has delivered the best ever performance of his career. A loving and caring father whose thoughts are rooted in the Indian traditional values but at the same time, who loves his daughter very much. He is against the boy because he opines him to be unworthy of his daughter but when he sees the depth and sincerity of the boy’s love for his daughter, he mentally prepares himself for their union, has been portrayed by Amrish in a highly realistic, impressive and touching way. I have never seen a better performance by any actor in the role of the father of grown-up daughters in Bollywood cinema.
The movies features so many characters in the second half (in the house of marriage) that it’s a highly difficult task for the viewer to identify all of them and understand their mutual relationships. Permeet Sethi and Mandira Bedi made their Bollywood debut through this movie and they have done satisfactorily. The movie features Karan Johar also (as a friend of Raj who is equally stray and irresponsible).
Aditya Chopra was barely 23-24 years old when he directed this movie and see, he has made a classic, proving again that masterpieces are created by default only. The episode through which Raj befriends Kuljeet and thereafter enters the home and the family of Simran, is ridiculous but as said earlier, this and other minuses have got overshadowed by the pluses and the viewer doesn’t pay attention to them.
On the 21st anniversary of my engagement, I hope that the lovers who are longing to marry their respective sweethearts will learn from this movie to keep their morale high when the odds are heavily tilted against them in this regard and energize themselves for the mission impossible (just a figure of speech) to win them from their parents / guardians through the sacred knot. Keep remember, to get your desired Dulhaniya (bride), you have to be a Dilwala (strong-hearted).
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