Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Yashraj films present an aditya chopra film dilwale dulhania le jayenge shah rukh khan kajol amrish puri anupam kher farida jalal music composed by jatin lalit lyrics by anand bakshi cinematography by manmohan singh art design by sharmistha roy choreography by farah khan story and screenplay by aditya chopra dialogues by javed siddiqui aditya chopra edited by keshav naidu produced by yash chopra directed by aditya chopra At the fag end of 1995 came a film whose title, as is the trend right from the early ’50s, seemed to be derived from a hit song ("Le jayenge le jayenge"/’Chor Machaye Shor’/ 1974). But the credit titles had an intriguing line "Title suggested by Mrs. Kiron Kher." And after the film ended, one realized that the four words did encapsulate the storyline perfectly! Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) is the spoilt brat son of an NRI widower (Anupam Kher) and the two are more like buddies than father and son. He encounters Simran (Kajol) in the course of a tour of Europe. Simran too is the daughter of an NRI (Amrish Puri) but the two fathers are poles apart in their mindsets. Again, Raj does not believe in love, Simran does, and she also waits for an imaginary dream man. After being thrown in each other’s exclusive company by happenstance, Raj falls in love with her, though it takes a while for Simran to realize that she too has found the man of her dreams. She reveals her feelings to her mother, but her father overhears and is furious. Overnight, he whisks his family to Punjab as he has made a promise to his close friend that Simran will marry his son. Raj traces Simran to Punjab, inveigles himself into the family circle and wins over the stern father at the eleventh hour. ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ emerged as a cult film from day one, and remains one of the very few evergreen films that can be watched again and again. Aditya Chopra’s spectacular debut as writer-director (‘DDLJ’ is the biggest among the massive hits of the Yashraj Films banner) came about by a series of chances. He had the rough idea for ‘Mohabbatein’ with him for five years but felt that he needed to mature as a director before he attempted a complex subject like that. He had the basic idea for ‘DDLJ’ for three years in his mind but was too lazy to pen the script. After ‘Darr’, his father Yash Chopra wanted Aditya to think of a subject for him, Yash, to direct, and Aditya narrated the basic idea, which did not impress his father much. But while narrating the story, Aditya himself began to visualize sequences. Since the film was a simple love story, Aditya then decided to have a go at it himself. His original plan to cast newcomers in the leads was abandoned in view of the demanding histrionic requirements of the characters that were etched out in the detailed script. "I wanted to make a good film that I would like to watch again and again, and one that would do good business!" he says. A good part of the film (in the pre-wedding sequences) seemed to echo the ambience of ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun!’ but Aditya says that though Sooraj Barjatya impresses him, the scenes were needed as part of his story. However, he points out the one similarity between ‘DDLJ’ and ‘HAHK’ that most people missed - the readiness of the lovers to sacrifice their love if necessary for their families. Says Aditya, "For years, I have seen films where the lovers elope, which is a very callous thing to do to one’s family. Sooraj showed the way in ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ and this gave me the courage to project the same ideal, with the message that true love will definitely win over opposition. On the other hand, I also focused on the point that even in this day and age, our society hasn’t improved in one respect - the woman, whether the wife or the daughter, is always dominated and has no say even on issues concerning her own life and future." Aditya says that the focus on the cultural crisis of the NRI and his family came in as a dramatic element and was not deliberately thrust in the film. Also, things seemed to go right from beginning to end, with the film turning out exactly as he had conceptualized. The few sour points that arose came after the release and the mega-success of the film, which ranks as the biggest hit of 1995 and one of the dozen greatest grossers of all time from Mumbai’s dream factory. Honey Irani, writer of the banner’s previous films ‘Lamhe’, ‘Aaina’ and ‘Darr’, claimed that she had a major role in the screenplay and broke her long-standing professional association and personal bond with the Chopras for robbing her of due credit. The Chopra camp refused to speak on this controversy, despite Tanuja Chandra performing an encore after their next Aditya-written film, ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’. ‘DDLJ’ also came in for the ire of Christian zealots who objected to the (mis)use of the church for the flippant exchange of lines between Raj and Simran, culminating with Raj making the usual sign of one wanting to go and relieve himself. The final discordant note was ironically reserved for Jatin Lalit, who composed the seven melodious tracks of the film. They missed out on the music awards even as Udit Narayan and Anand Bakshi won various trophies and the rest of the film’s team and cast won a slew of awards. But J-L’s career luckily took off on the fast track after perennials like "Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam", "Mehandi lagaake rakhna" (now a mandatory item for weddings), "Mere khwabon mein jo aaye", "Ho gaya hai tujhko to pyar sajana", "Zaraa sa jhoom loon main" and the brilliant "Ghar aaja pardesi". JL stress that they genuinely felt that their music was far more melodious and enduring than the award-winning scores and that all its seven songs were popular and of equal calibre. ‘DDLJ’ would not have been what it was - despite its strong dialogues, fabulous music and exciting locales - without all those superlative performances by a top-heavy cast comprising of Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Farida Jalal, Satish Shah and Himani Shivpuri. Khan, Kajol and Kher in particular, were awesome, and the scene of the first meeting between Kher and Kajol ranks as a classic in Hindi cinema. Two interesting tidbits need be mentioned. First, Aditya’s (and now Shah Rukh’s and Kajol’s) buddy Karan Johar who was to later give the star-pair the mega-hit ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ generally assisted Aditya on the film and also was seen as one of Shah Rukh’s cronies in the film. Secondly, the hilarious sequence in which his father congratulates Raj on failing his degree examinations and thus keeping up the family tradition has proved significant in view of Aditya’s climax in his new film ‘Mohabbatein’, where an educational institution is turned into a fun-fair of romance and gaiety in the end. Here is endless scope for speculation on Aditya’s views on education! A love story that consolidated the ‘feel-good’ trend in Hindi cinema (after ‘HAHK’) and unleashed a plethora of family-cum-love stories aimed especially at the NRI market, ‘DDLJ’ is still running past the 250-week mark at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir in matinee shows. It established the SRK-Kajol team as a pair with the Midas touch (after ‘Baazigar’ and ‘Karan Arjun’). But its greatest strength was its perfect blend of the modern and the conservative, for its state-of-the-art packaging told a story that was strongly rooted in the (healthier) traditions of Indian culture.