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Reels

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Reels

A phenomenon called Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

19 years on and I still am in the
awe of this magnum opus. 20th
Oct. 1995, first day first show was
a trend those days, when reviews
were not reckoned by masses,
Shah Rukh Khan (read SRK) carried
a villainous mad boy image, Kajol was just
another star daughter trying her luck and Aditya
Chopra, a debutant director. Nothing seemed to be
so promising. Coming out of the theatre back then,
overheard those crude reviews and opinions,
mixed from ‘bakwas’ to ‘fantabulous’ remarks.
However, unfazed with all these, I carried my own
notion of the euphoria, I had experienced just
then….

 
To me everything seemed beyond perfection.
The Indian cinema was witnessing a transformation
where Hero was becoming an Actor possessing
all mortal qualities – he fails his graduation,
flirts relentlessly, lies to buy beers, infact does
everything which our heroes are not supposed to.
The chemistry (so they call it) was just not limited
to the leads, rather the casual yet so eternal
father-son and mother-daughter relationship was
redefined too.

 
A classic blend of the West and the East was
seamlessly transitioned between the two halves,
not only in the drama but also in the locations.
From London Trafalgar Square to Swiss Alps and
then to the beautiful fields of Punjab, all so well
cinematographed. Ever since then Europe has
become a numerouno tourist destination among all
Indians and Switzerland being the epicenter. The
mesmerizing bucolic beauty was captured in the
most emphatic yet subtle way. The breathtaking
views of the Alpine, the quaint by lanes of the
countryside and even the panoramic EU rail
stretches added to the charismatic cinematography
of Manmohan Singh. The romantic fable of Raj
and Simran blended in these exotic locations
sparked off India’s love affair with the Swiss Alps.
Swiss tourism has also taken a ride on the success
of DDLJ by captalising on the Indian cinema
goers. One can easily relate to the famous
Raj-Simran hoarding on Mt. Titles, still rising high
after 2 decades, or the famous Bollywood Café on
the Jungfrau.There’s now even a Chopra Lake in
Alpenrausch and a Chopra train run by Jungfrau
Railways, both named after the film’s director Yash
Chopra.

 
London too was well embraced in quite a few
scenes. The very first shot was of Chaudhary
Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri) treading across from
London’s most vibrant public spots Trafalgar
Square traversing through the other prime
landmarks like Big Ben , Westmisnister, Tower of London and the Buckingham palace. The large
Indian community base in Southall made the
ambience as Indian as possible.

 
Another focal point was the Big (not so fat)
Indian wedding and the celebrations there on. It
was not a one or two day ceremony, rather a full
bloom carnival running through the entire season.
The meticulous planning and participation began
from the eldest and involved the budding generation
as well. The exhilaration and the exuberance
captivated the atmosphere. Not many Indian
weddings since then are complete without
featuring the cult ‘Mehndi song’. Though, the
trends and impact of DDLJ on Indian society is
pretty evident but the Indian males fasting in
Karvachauths (Karva Chauth is a one-day festival
celebrated by Hindu women in North India in
which married women fast from sunrise to
moonrise for the safety and longevity of their
husbands) still stands out.

 
There was nothing extraordinary about DDLJ but
those tiny moments made it worth. A frame where
Raj drops a photograph deliberately and then picks
up and adds to the pack later when the course of
conversation unfolds or when he simply denies to
come to Simran’s wedding while parting ways,
prove that feelings sometimes just don’t need
words. Dilwale Dulahania Le Jayenge blazed a trail
since its release and became a trendsetter in the
genre of candid romantic cinema. It brought the
deep rooted values of the Indian family system on
the global podium to which each Indians
could corelate across the globe. From the
trend of dancing in the Swiss Alps
wrapped in a chiffon sari to SRK’s
trademark ‘spreading-his-arms
move’, and charming his
lady love with his
dimpled flamboyance, DDLJ still holds nostalgic
value. Somewhere deep down in our hearts, there
resides a Raj or a Simran waiting to sing across
mustard fields and run behind the train, chasing our
love. No matter how many films try redefining romance
with fresh concepts and storyline, DDLJ will
remain immortal.

 
I am a movie buff and shamelessly an even
bigger fan of DDLJ. The height of lunacy can be
gauzed by countless times I have watched it or
when I tried to re-live the moments on the streets of
Interlaken or on Alps. I abstained from calling it a
movie throughout because it is an experience par
excellence for me and will remain so…

 
Yours truly,
A DDLJ fan………!

 
By Manish
Srivastava

 

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