Twitter is celebrating it with different climaxes and rest of social media is growing nostalgic with its memories. It has been a good two decades since Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge hit the silver screen in India, and gradually elsewhere too. The film has the distinction of being dubbed in many foreign languages.
When DDLJ (yes, that is THE term!) released, many 'Raj' were born and many young girls were christened 'Simran' - a Punjabi name - even in South India! The 'lehengas' became a norm in weddings, and receptions had many young girls swaying in and out dressed in the otherwise-considered-tacky fluorescent green. Karva Chauth turned short of becoming a national festival. Terraces of ancient homes sighed a thousand times not being able to withstand the undulating love the young men and women professed for each other, while also vowing to wait till their parents gave their consent to their marriage.
What made DDLJ the phenomenon that it became eventually? What was so 'path-breaking' about it that the film held aloft with house full shows (okay, only on weekends in Mumbai's Maratha Mandir) two decades after its release in 1995? This year, when DDLJ completes its grand run, the film will be called the most favourite one in the history of Indian cinema in the last century. That's no mean feat!
Directed by Aditya Chopra, the film was a runaway hit even as it took India by storm. The storyline was endearing, the emotions were very apt and the film captured the mood of the nation like no other film did. Was it the climax which made the film tick? For those who have not watched the film (which is highly unlikely) here's what happens - Simran's nose-in-the-air NRI father, who loves his country and his mother in equal measures, decides to let go of his daughter, to elope with her lover on a train that's almost leaving the platform. Fleeting, did you say?
Nope! Because, another film that captured nation's fantasy, with the cherubic Pooja Bhat in it -- Dil Hai Ke Maanta Nahin -- had a similar end where the father almost wheedles his young daughter to run away with a reporter she has met somewhere on her escapade, to avoid her from marrying a snob for a film actor. Unconventional to the core, yet the film didn't reach spot in score charts as high as DDLJ did.
DDLJ for that matter, happened much before Ekta Kapoor's shows hit the television celebrating 'Indian' values. In Chaudhury Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri), and Lajwanti (Farida Jalal), the nation saw hapless parents who were forced to live a humble, rootless lives abroad; but also living the ambition of bringing up their children Simran (Kajol) and Chutki (Pooja Ruparel). Then there was this true spirit Dharamvir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) and his free-spirited and loveable son Raj (Shah Rukh Khan) who were to weave together a plan to woo the latter's love into his life. A foreign trip thrown in, ambitions muted, a trip to capture the Swiss Alps et al, the film is more an emotional journey than a eye candy. Mind you, Shah Rukh didn't even dream of possessing six packs when he turned a sensation in India!
But, what actually transpired was the show of 'values' that leading characters showed. In some ways, it was a ground-breaking film that took a sharp curve from usual 'run away' brides who then come to meet parents with their tales of toiling, and impress them. It was none of that.
India has always been fascinated with the juxtaposing of the old and new. Indians who live abroad make sure their children are aware of their 'culture' in whatever manner possible. So, when you tap the NRI community with emotions, and bring them home with emotions again - you are striking a chord in two places simultaneously. That was the story that DDLJ carried.
Finally, when Simran leaves the fuming beau (unclear since the engagement is barely completed) and her pleads with her father, Raj and his father are already on the train -- in a decisive situation of almost giving up. It's ultimately the father's will that prevails and he mercifully (without loosening a muscle that displays anger on his face) Baldev lets go of his daughter. She climbs into a speeding train.
Rebellion silenced. And remains so, even after 20 years! Tell us DDLJ packed a punch, didn't it?