Thursday, May 05, 2011

An Ode - To one of my favourites!

Year 1995
All of 10 years old, we - my sister and I - were adamant about catching this Hindi movie in a theatre. And for a family that rarely visits the cinemas, it's quite something to be stubborn about. We make it to the theatre, only to see the serpentine queues and realize that the movie indeed was sold out. We didn't give up; we went another day and caught the movie on screen - magic on celluloid.
Few days later, we realize that our school had planned a one-day trip. And much to our glee, the trip was to end with watching the same movie. The school had ACTUALLY booked the seats for a whole bunch of 5th standard students! Imagine my euphoria at having caught the movie again, and that too in the theatre!

Year 2011
Back home this weekend, we - my sister, dad and I - were lazing. Dad was enjoying his fitful sleeps in front of the TV, and we were watching a program on Bollywood Banners on one of the channels.  The music plays, my dad wakes up, he looks amused and says "Do you know that this movie is still playing in a theatre somewhere?"

If you haven't guessed it as yet, the theatre he was referring to is the Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai and the movie is Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (DDLJ, as it will forever be known!)

You have to realize that I was talking of a nondescript single screen theatre in Thrissur (Kerala) where only Malayalam movies (or at max, Tamil movies) would play. Screening of a Hindi movie was a rarity, to say the least. If at all any Hindi movies had to play, it had to have a really bankable star cast. And back then, the shows for DDLJ were sold out!

What is it about DDLJ that makes me wobble in my knees and transform me to the once-pimply teenager? Why do I wish for a 'stranger' waiting to sweep me off my feet? Why does it make me a hopeless romantic? Why does it make me believe in fairytale love stories and happy endings? Why does it make me pine for a beau like Raj?

When the next-generation scion for the Yash Raj Films banner decided to make a movie at the age of 24, I wonder if he himself anticipated the kind of running success it would later become.  And why did it? Was it the signature tune, which we can still recognize and recall, no matter where (or how), it is played?  Was it the unusual romanticizing of the yellow mustard fields?  Or the boisterous Raj who turns from a compulsive playboy to a doting lover boy? Or the plight of Simran, placed in a tight spot between her father and her lover? Or 'playing-to-the-NRI sentiments' ploy?  Or the fact that we are suckers for the 'love-conquers-all' storyline?

When SRK spreads his arms out and invites you for a hug, which girl in her sane mind would give it a miss! 

Love stories were made before DDLJ. And although it was not dramatically different, there was a charm to it. Like Tom Vick (who reviewed the film for Allmovie) said, "An immensely likeable movie, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge performs the rarely-achieved feat of stretching a predictable plot over three hours and making every minute enjoyable."  However, the story had its minor yet interesting twists. Here, the lovers were not ready to die for love; neither were they going to elope. They would convince their families that this is what they want and they will have it with their consent.
It also portrayed that love need not be serious and somber, but can also be fun! For me the outstanding part would be the build-up of romance between the lead pair - Shahrukh and Kajol. From the moment they unwittingly get 'trapped' in the same compartment as the train leaves for the Eurail tour, to the moment they part at the station only to realize that love had blossomed between them - is sheer magic. It's the kind of chemistry that baring all or 17 lip-locks can't bring to the table, in today's time and age. No wonder then that Shahrukh and Kajol tops the list of 'best onscreen pair' for most of us!

                                       Hum tum.... ek dibbe mein band ho, aur chaabi kho jaaye.... remember?

I am in love with it all :

  • Simran's poem which begins, "Aisa pehli baar hua hai sathra-atthra saalon mein..."
  • The friendship between father-son duo of Anupam Kher and SRK; which contrasts the fearful and restrained relationship Simran shares with her father, Amrish Puri
  • The one-liner made famous by SRK, "Bade-bade deshon mein, aisi chotti-chotti baatein hoti rehti hai"
  • How Raj keeps calling Simran "Senorita"
  • The prank Raj pulls on Simran, convincing her that 'something' happened between them, after their drunken escapade
                                                                      Kal raat.... kya hua tha?
  • The 'palat' scene, where Raj oddly confirms that Simran loves him
                                                                             Yes..... she did!
  • The tricks Simran resorts to, to prevent getting engaged to Kuljeet: taping her hand claiming that it has been cut in order to avoid putting on the engagement ring; and pretending to faint towards the end of Karva-Chauth so that she will not have to accept the fast-breaking food from Kuljeet
                                                                            Together in hunger
  • How the plot comes a full circle when Simran runs along the running train in the climax, and finally boards the train - much like how they had first met!
                                                                     Here's the first time...

                                                                  And here's the next!
  • Need I say, "Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam"?!
Sitting in the dark cinema hall, watching DDLJ unfold onscreen, little had I known that this movie was enshrining itself as my favourite movie for all ages. Yes, there are many who will berate the movie and will leave no stone unturned to criticize Shahrukh too (many people's pet peeve, I daresay?) But for me, that movie is more than a movie. It's a time travel machine. It takes me back to my tryst with the idea of romance - the struggle and the conquest. It's not maybe the most technically well-made film, but is the most endearing one, in more ways than one.

'Come... fall in love' - the tagline of DDLJ urged. And I did. I fell in love with love itself.

This post was  selected by BlogAdda at as one of the top posts for 'Spicy Saturday Picks'. (May 7, '11)

Images in this post: Courtesy Google 


  1. I am not really a romantic but I must have seen this movie a dozen times and can see it again and again and again :) Till date my favourite romantic song remains tujhe dekha to yeh jana :)

  2. Ruchira,
    That indeed is strange; not a romantic and yet you can see this again and again? ;)
    And the song... aah, an evergreen romantic song indeed.
    Thanks for the comment :)

  3. You've managed to rekindle a lot of memories and given rise to the long-buried hopeless romantic in me too with this!
    Must say - a great ode to one of the very few evergreen films of our Hindi film industry! A great read! :)
    SRK <3

  4. Heya Angel... glad you liked it ;)
    And yes, watching this movie (even reading about it!) can bring back the ol' romantic in anyone! :D

    Thanks for visiting moi humble blog :)

  5. woaaaa....What a wonderful writer u are...ur expression is so pure, simple and beautiful...and matter how many times u watch this movie...there is something magical that brings u back to it..I like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam as well..another beautiful one:)

  6. That's a way too generous comment Aakriti! :D
    I am most flattered!

    I do like HDDCS, but well, I don't think it matches what DDLJ had to offer.

  7. I also don't think one can compare DDLJ and HDDCS...
    I'm planning on making a trip to India in two years, and I will definitely watch DDLJ in the Maratha Mandir theatre.
    There's just... there's something about it. Indescribable. Magic.

  8. Wow, isn't that cool Mette! I am in India, and still haven't gone to Mumbai yet! :(

    I do hope you can atleast fulfill that wish! :)
    And yes, 'magic' it is!



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