Flashback: 1000 Weeks of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

I still remember the day 20th Oct 1995 in a small town Jabalpur standing in queue for the tickets of the First Day First Show of “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege”. I had a friend for company whom I dragged to watch DDLJ as he was keener on Madhuri Dixit starrer “Yaraana” (also released on the same day) was sulking since “Yaraana” was showing in the adjacent theater. The poster was newly pasted and there was not too much of a crowd for 9:30 AM show. Who knew that this movie will make history….

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It was a Shahrukh Khan- Kajol starrer who gave the successful Baazigar and Karan Arjun but as a pair there was nothing to write about then. It was a launch pad for Aditya Chopra, elder son of Yash Chopra and Yashraj Productions was celebrating 25 years with its release.

The movie started and I was transported to a different world of Raj & Simran and before I could realize the 186 mins got over. When I walked out of the theater I wanted scream to the world that this is the best love story ever made in Bollywood.

It had a very different concept, the main lead Raj was hardly anything that the Bollywood Hero was. Raj was a failure, a loser and absolutely nothing that can be idolized. What clicked with the audience was that the characters were realtable. The magic of Raj & Simran was immortalized beautifully by Shahrukh Khan & Kajol making them the next hit Jodi of Bollywood. Later they gave blockbusters like “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” & “My Name Is Khan”. People still wait for a movie with Shahrukh Khan & Kajol, a magic which still lasts.

Written by Aditya Chopra himself the screenplay had some extremely riveting sequences, who can forget the “Palat” sequence or the sequence between Farida Jalal and Kajol who played mother daughter wherein she explains to Simran how women need to sacrifice in this world ruled by men or the 10 minute rendition of Raj played by Shahrukh in front of Simran’s family in the climax as to why he cannot elope with her and above all the train sequence in the climax. These sequences are still so fresh in the minds as if it was yesterday. Aditya Chopra not only consolidated his position as a director but as a proficient writer as well with DDLJ. Later he made successful movies like “Mohabatein” & “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi”. We are still waiting for his next venture.

DDLJ started the NRI brand of Bollywood movies and Shahrukh Khan became the favorite of the Indian Diaspora which is true even today. Karan Johar who also acted in the movie as Fonchi, Raj’s friend who later perfected the art of NRI designed movies with “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and “Kabhi Kushi kabhi Gham”.

DDLJ was the first few films to be mixed in Dolby Sound in India and was released in Dolby SR across India. The video rights of DDLJ were held back for a long time similar to how Rajshri Productions did for “Hum Aapke Hain Koun…”

DDLJ became the biggest grosser of 1995 and till 2014 it is the top 5 highest grosser of Bollywood with a total earning till date of Rs 1.22 billion worldwide. It is still running in Maratha Mandir, Mumbai for matinee show completing 1000 weeks and still has occupancy of 50%.

DDLJ won 10 Filmfare awards that year. DDLJ is one of the 3 Bollywood movies included in “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”, the other movies are “Mother India” & “Deewar”.

The music by Jatin Lalit still remains popular especially “Mehendi Lagake Rakhna” which is played in almost all Indian weddings till date.

DDLJ boosted the Europe tourism and travelling by Euro Rail is still considered an option for honey mooners.

1000 Weeks is just another milestone for DDLJ but it will remain in the hearts of Bollywood lovers and a classic which re-invented how love stories should be made in Bollywood…..

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