Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

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Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge poster.jpg
Poster of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Directed by Aditya Chopra
Produced by Yash Chopra
Written by Javed Siddiqui
(Dialogue)
Aditya Chopra
(Additional Dialogue)
Screenplay by Aditya Chopra
Story by Aditya Chopra
Starring Shah Rukh Khan
Kajol
Amrish Puri
Farida Jalal
Anupam Kher
Music by Jatin Lalit
Cinematography Manmohan Singh
Edited by Keshav Naidu
Production
company
Yash Raj Films
Distributed by Yash Raj Films
Release dates
  • 20 October 1995 (1995-10-20)
Running time
186 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR40 million (US$630,000)[2]
Box office INR1.22 billion (US$19 million)
worldwide[3][4]

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (English: The Brave-Hearted Will Take Away the Bride), also known as DDLJ,[5] is a 1995 Indian romantic drama film. It was written and directed by director Aditya Chopra, produced by Yash Chopra, and stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The film tells the story of a young couple who fall in love on a European vacation, and relates how the boy tries to win over the girl's parents so that she can marry him rather than the boy that her father has chosen for her. It was filmed in India, London and Switzerland.

Earning over INR106 crore (US$17 million) in India and INR16 crore (US$2.5 million) overseas, the film was declared an "All-time Blockbuster" and became the biggest Bollywood hit of the year, as well as one of the biggest Bollywood hits ever.[6] The film won 10 Filmfare Awards, the most for a single film at that time, and won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

The film was ranked by Indiatimes Movies as one among the "25 Must-See Bollywood Films". It was one of two Hindi films in the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" along with Mother India. It was placed twelfth on the British Film Institute's list of top Indian films of all time. The film was declared an all-time blockbuster and is the longest-running film in the history of Indian cinema. It played at the Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai for more than 1,000 weeks until early 2015.

Plot[edit]

Raj Malhotra (Shah Rukh Khan) and Simran Singh (Kajol) are two NRIs living in London. Although both value their Indian roots, they have experienced different parenting styles. Simran has been raised by her conservative father Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri), while Raj's father (Anupam Kher) is very liberal. Simran has always dreamt of meeting a perfect boy who is the one for her. Her mother Lajjo (Farida Jalal) warns her against this, saying dreams are good but one should not blindly believe that dreams come true. One day, Baldev receives a letter from his friend Ajit (Satish Shah) who lives in Punjab. Ajit wants to keep a promise he and Baldev made to each other 20 years ago — to have Simran marry his son Kuljeet (Parmeet Sethi). Simran is disappointed — she does not want to marry somebody whom she has never met before.

Raj asks his father if he can go on a train trip with his friends around Europe; his father agrees. Later, Raj enters Baldev's shop after closing time, and fakes a strong headache, using it as a pretense to get the shop open to buy beer. When Baldev refuses, Raj grabs a case of beer, runs off, and throws the money on the counter. This infuriates Baldev; he calls Raj a disgrace to India. Meanwhile, Simran is invited by her friends to go on the same European train trip. She tells her father that she should be allowed to go because it will be her last chance to see the world before she marries a complete stranger. Baldev lets her go, but tells her not to betray his trust.

On the trip, Raj and Simran meet. Raj constantly flirts with Simran, much to her irritation. Then, the two miss their train to Zurich and are separated from their friends. They start to travel with one another to catch back up and become friends in the process. Raj falls in love with Simran on the journey and when they both part ways back in London, Simran realises that she is in love with him too. Simran tells her mother about the boy she met — Baldev overhears the conversation and becomes furious with her. He says that the family will move to India the next day. Meanwhile, Raj tells his father about Simran and that she is getting married soon. When Raj says he believes Simran loves him too, his father encourages him to go after her.

In India, Baldev is delighted to be reunited with his friend Ajit and all his relatives. Simran and her younger sister, Chutki, meet Kuljeet, Simran's fiancé, and instantly dislike him due to his arrogance. Simran still cannot forget Raj and is miserable about having to marry Kuljeet. Her mother tells her to forget Raj because she knows that Baldev will never accept it. The next morning, Simran is reunited with Raj out in the fields. She begs him run away with her, because she knows her father will never let them be together. Raj refuses and says he will only marry Simran with her father's consent. Raj befriends Kuljeet and quickly gets accepted by both families and builds a good rapport with them. Later, Raj's father arrives in India and also becomes friends with everyone. Eventually Lajjo and Chutki discover that Raj is the boy Simran fell in love with in Europe. Lajjo also tells Raj and Simran to run away, but he still refuses. Baldev finally accepts Raj, until he discovers a photograph of Raj and Simran together in Europe. He openly insults Raj, telling him to leave.

As Raj and his father are waiting at the station, Kuljeet and his friends arrive and attack them. Eventually Baldev and Ajit arrive and stop the fight. Raj boards the departing train with his father. Simran then appears with her mother and sister. She tries to join Raj on the train but Baldev stops her. Simran begs him to let her go, saying that she cannot live without Raj. Baldev thinks, and then realises that nobody can love his daughter more than Raj does. He lets her go, and she runs and catches the train as it takes off.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Yash Chopra decided to launch his son Aditya, who had been working with him as an assistant director and producer, as a director with Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Aditya had been working on the script for three years, hoping to get his father to direct it, but Yash persuaded him to do it.[7] His intent was to make a wholesome story that people could watch repeatedly. He wanted to show that unlike the normal story where lovers elope when their parents object, that if the love were strong enough, that the parents will eventually understand.[8] Aditya had total editorial control and made the film according to his own tastes and sensibilities. Yash did not even view major portions until it was nearly complete.[9] He was shown the initial script and consulted about the songs, other than that he left the creative process up to his son.[10]

The film was among the first to be produced with the large and rich South Asian diaspora in the West as its target.[11] Some films that later followed this trend include Pardes (1997), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Salaam Namaste (2005) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006); the diaspora market is seen as a safer financial investment than the desi market.[12] Director Aditya Chopra originally wanted to cast Tom Cruise for the role of Raj, as he wanted it to be an Indo-American affair, but was dissuaded by his father/producer Yash, who did not want a foreign star.[13] They decided to go with a theme of non-resident Indians (NRIs). Chopra then asked Saif Ali Khan to play the lead role. But he declined, prompting Chopra to approach Shah Rukh Khan for the same,[14] who initially was not really interested because of the romantic nature of the film. Chopra eventually convinced him to do it, and Khan has since then expressed his gratitude to Chopra for making him a star.[15] Chopra then cast Kajol to star opposite Shah Rukh Khan. The two actors had previous worked together in Baazigar (1993) and Karan Arjun (1995).

The first sequence filmed was of Kajol for the "Ho Gaya" song.[16] Filming of the European trip scenes was done mainly in Switzerland, including Saanen for the train station and bridge scenes,[17] Montbovon for the churches, and Gstaad for a song sequence.[18][19][20] Numerous scenes were shot in England and India.[21][22]

Saroj Khan was the choreographer. After several disputes with Chopra, she was replaced by Farah Khan near the end of the shoot. Farah choreographed "Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane".[23] During filming for the song "Rukh Jaa O Dil Deewane", Aditya Chopra had not informed Kajol that Khan was going to drop her, as he wanted to capture her genuine reaction.[24] Manish Malhotra was in charge of costume design, with help from Karan Johar. Sharmishta Roy was the art director.[23] The film's title was suggested by actress Kirron Kher, and was taken from the song "Le Jayenge Le Jayenge" from the 1974 film Chor Machaye Shor.[25] The character of Raj sings small parts of this song throughout, and it recurs at the end. DDLJ is believed to be the only film with a "Title suggested by" credit.[23]

After filming was complete, Chopra decided to make a Hollywood-style documentary of the film-making process, which had never been done before in India. Karan Johar and Chopra's brother Uday were put in charge. On 18 October, The Making of DDLJ was aired on Doordarshan, two days before the film's premiere.[23] DDLJ was the second Bollywood production and the first Yash Raj Film to be mixed in Dolby sound. It released in India with Dolby SR and a very limited release with Dolby Digital 5.1 which was brand new in India at the time.[citation needed]

Themes[edit]

Yash Raj Films was previously known for using foreign (non-Indian) locations for item numbers in their films. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge started the trend for films designed to appeal to the Indian diaspora, which have foreign locations as integral parts of the story. The characters are themselves diaspora, and tend to be able to move around with ease between India and the West.[12] This film repeats the usual conservative agenda of family, courtship and marriage, but it proposes that Indian family values are portable assets that can be upheld regardless of country of residence.[26] In fact, Raj (who was brought up in London) is the "good guy" of the story, whereas Kuljeet (raised in India) is seen as the "bad guy". This is a reversal from typical Indian films, which usually portray Indians as being morally superior to Westerners.[27]

The story also aims to capture the struggle between traditional family values and the modern value of individualism.[28] Though Raj and Simran want to be together regardless of her father's plans for her, Raj tries to win over the father rather than simply eloping. In this and other Indian stories, family values are ultimately considered more important than the romantic plot. Individual desires have to take a back seat to moral values and rules of conduct.[29] The film implies that "Indianness" can be defined by the importance of family life: whether at home or abroad, it is the Indian family system that is recognised as the social institution that most defines being Indian.[11]

Also there are themes of the purity/sanctity of women being related to the purity/sanctity of the nation. In the scene after Raj and Simran spend the night together and Simran is concerned that something happened, Raj tells her: "You think I am beyond values, but I am a Hindustani, and I know what a Hindustani girl’s izzat (honour) is worth. Trust me, nothing happened last night." This speaks to the Indian diaspora and their need to try and sustain their value system.[11]

Scott Jordan Harris, of RogerEbert.com suggests that the films popularity lies in its ability to effectively convey two opposing themes, appealing to different portions of society. He said, "It argues that we should follow our hearts and chase happiness wherever it leads, regardless of the obstacles in our paths, while simultaneously suggesting we should respect the ways of our elders, particularly our parents, and do nothing that challenges their will."[30]

Soundtrack[edit]

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Soundtrack album by Jatin Lalit
Released
25 July 1995
Genre Feature Film Soundtrack
Length 38:32
Label
Producer Jatin Lalit

The soundtrack features seven songs composed by Jatin Lalit, with lyrics by Anand Bakshi and voice rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet, and Udit Narayan. Jatin Lalit were considered for the soundtrack job, their first with Yash Raj Films, when singer Asha Bhosle contacted Yash Chopra after meeting the duo. In return, they ensured that she got to sing a song, "Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main". Chopra's wife Pamela helped them to select tunes and instruments to give some of the songs a Punjabi flavour.[31] Bhasker Gupta wrote for AllMusic that the soundtrack was the best of Jatin Lalit's career, and calls it the beginning of the fifth wave in Indian cinema soundtracks.[32] Avinash Ramchandani of Planet Bollywood gave the soundtrack 4 out of 4 stars, saying that Jatin Lalit's first soundtrack for Yash Raj Films fit very well with previous films from the company, and called it one of the duo's best efforts.[33]

The soundtrack became the best selling Bollywood soundtrack of the year.[34] It was listed by Planet Bollywood as number 6 on their list of 100 Greatest Bollywood Soundtracks,[35] and in 2005 was judged the top Hindi soundtrack of all time by on-line voters on the BBC Asian Network.[36] Anand Bakshi won his third Filmfare Best Lyricist award after 14 years, having two nominations for this film.[37][38] The wedding song "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna" from the film became an all-time hit, and is played in weddings across the South Asian diaspora to this day.[39][40][31]

No. Title Singers Length
1. "Ghar Aaja Pardesi"   Manpreet Kaur, Pamela Chopra 7:29
2. "Mere Khwabon Mein"   Lata Mangeshkar 4:17
3. "Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane"   Udit Narayan 5:14
4. "Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main"   Asha Bhosle, Abhijeet Bhattacharya 5:51
5. "Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko"   Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan 5:49
6. "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna"   Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan 4:50
7. "Tujhe Dekha To"   Lata Mangeshkar, Kumar Sanu 5:02

Release[edit]

Box office[edit]

Shah Rukh Khan hugs Kajol
Kajol and Khan celebrated 1000 weeks of continuous showing of DDLJ in 2014

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge opened to full houses and good reviews all over the world.[41] It was a hit among both Indians and NRIs,[42] and became the first Hindi film blockbuster to feature NRIs as main characters.[43] Earning over INR1.06 billion (US$17 million) in India and INR160 million (US$2.5 million) overseas, the film became the biggest Bollywood hit of the year,[4][44] and second highest grossing of the 1990s behind Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, becoming the second Bollywood film to gross over INR1 billion (US$16 million) worldwide.[45] It eventually became one of the biggest Bollywood hits of all time.[46] Adjusted for inflation, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is believed to be among the top five highest grossing Hindi films. Its adjusted gross is approximately INR2.93 billion (US$46 million).[47] As of 2009, the film had generated over INR60 million (US$940,000) in revenues for the Maratha Mandir theatre, where it had been running since its initial release.[48] In later years they ran one matinee show per day, at lower than normal ticket prices, which averaged over 50% occupancy.[49] The film's nearly 20-year run at the theatre ended on 19 February 2015.[50]

Reception[edit]

Tom Vick reviewed the film for Allmovie and 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."[51] When DDLJ toured the United States in 2004 as part of the Cinema India showcase, "The Changing Face of Indian Cinema",[52] Charles Taylor reviewed the film for Salon.com and said: "It's a flawed, contradictory movie—aggressive and tender, stiff and graceful, clichéd and fresh, sophisticated and naive, traditional and modern. It's also, I think, a classic."[53] Avinash Ramchandani of Planet Bollywood gave the film a 9/10 rating and stated, "Comedy and story, this movie has both, following in the Yash Raj lineage of delivering memorable films." He remarked, "Aditya Chopra has balanced his film well and delivered a memorable film that will probably be watched for years to come.[54]

Anupama Chopra included the film in her list of "The 20 Best Hindi Films Ever Made", writing, "Perhaps the innocence of Raj and Simran’s romance in which they can spend the night together without sex because Raj, the bratish NRI understands the importance of an Indian woman’s honor. Perhaps it’s the way in which the film artfully reaffirms the patriarchal status quo and works for all constituencies—the NRI and the local viewer. Or perhaps it’s the magic of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol who created a template for modern love, which was hip and cool but resolutely Indian."[55] She also calls the film a milestone that shaped Hindi cinema through the 1990s.[15] In 2004, Meor Shariman of The Malay Mail called the film a "must watch" for Bollywood fans, and also for those seeking an introduction to Bollywood.[56]

Omer M. Mozaffar, writing for Roger Ebert's website in 2012, likened the film to a Disney princess story, stating, "the young princess feeling trapped by the traditional patriarchy, seeking freedom through discovering the world, but finally finding it through silent, but inappropriate love. The Little Mermaid. Beauty (of the Beast). Jasmine (friends with Aladdin). Pocahontas. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). And here, Simran".[57] Scott Jordan Harris, also writing for Roger Ebert in 2014, called it "one of the world’s favorite films", while saying that it plays as a masterful soap opera, with one of the best screen couples ever seen.[30]

Accolades[edit]

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was ranked amongst Indiatimes Movies list of the 25 Must See Bollywood Films.[58] It was one of the three Hindi films in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list (the others being Mother India from 1957 and Deewaar from 1975).[59] It was placed twelfth on the British Film Institute's list of top Indian films of all time.[60] It is one of the films on Box Office India's list of "Biggest Blockbusters Ever in Hindi Cinema".[61]

The film set the record at the time for the most Filmfare awards won by a single film with ten.[62] It was also the second film to win the four major awards (Best Film, Director, Actor and Actress), after Guide in 1966.[37][38]

Award Category Nominee Result
National Film Awards[63] National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Yash Chopra Won
Filmfare Awards[37][38] Best Film Yash Chopra Won
Best Director Aditya Chopra
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan
Best Actress Kajol
Best Supporting Actress Farida Jalal
Best Performance in a Comic Role Anupam Kher
Best Lyricist Anand Bakshi ("Tujhe Dekha To")
Best Screenplay Aditya Chopra
Best Dialogue Aditya Chopra, Javed Siddiqui
Best Male Playback Singer Udit Narayan ("Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna")
Best Supporting Actor Amrish Puri Nominated
Best Music Director Jatin Lalit
Best Male Playback Singer Kumar Sanu ("Tujhe Dekha To")
Best Lyricist Anand Bakshi ("Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko To Pyar Sajna")
Screen Awards[64] Best Film Yash Chopra Won
Best Director Aditya Chopra
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan

Legacy[edit]

A poster celebrating the 1000th week run.

In 2001, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge overtook Sholay (1975) as the longest-running film in Indian cinema.[65][66] Producer Yash Chopra decided to organise a celebration in February 2011, when the film completed 800 weeks of running, and theatre owner Manoj Desai said he has no plans to discontinue the screening of the film.[41] There are often people in the audience that have seen the film 50 times or more, but still clap, cheer, mouth the dialogues, and sing along with the songs,[15] raising comparisons with Hollywood's longest running film The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). People keep coming back not just to see the film, but also to be a part of an experience.[67] In early 2011, a theatre strike threatened the film's uninterrupted showing streak. Producer Yash Chopra contacted theatre owners to try and ensure that the film would continue. He hoped that the film would continue to run for at least 1000 weeks,[68] which it did achieve in December 2014.[49] To commemorate the event, cast members including Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Anupam Kher, Farida Jalal, Mandira Bedi and Pooja Ruparel appeared on the television show Comedy Nights with Kapil.[69] Khan, Kajol and director Aditya Chopra also attended a live chat with fans and a black tie event at the theatre on 12 December.[70] The same day, they unveiled a coffee table book about the making of the film, written by Aditya Chopra.[71][72] Also in December, Yash Raj Film announced the availability of a collection of 1000 weeks commemorative licensed merchandise from various suppliers.[73] The morning show on 19 February 2015 was the last show played at the Maratha Mandir, and was witnessed by an audience of 210. The film which completed 1009 weeks is thus the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema.[49][74][50]

Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in the climactic train scene

Audiences appreciated the duo of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol so much that they went on to work together in several other successful films including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001), and My Name Is Khan (2010), and are often referred to as Indian cinema's most loved on-screen couple.[75] Khan himself credits this film with making him a star,[15] and says that the film "changed the entire scene for romantic movies of the 90s".[76] Several 21st century films have paid homage to it. For example, Jab We Met (2007), Bodyguard (2011), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), and Chennai Express (2013) all included scenes very similar to the train scene, wherein a girl is running to catch a moving train and is helped aboard by a boy with his arm outstretched.[77][78] The British film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) also contains a scene where a young girl and young boy replace the adults usually seen in the "train scene". Also unlike the original, the scene does not end happily; the boy pulls his hand away and the girl is left behind.

The British Film Institute (BFI) commissioned a book about Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. It was the first Hindi film chosen for a series of studies on international films, called "BFI Modern Classics". The author was Anupama Chopra, and the book was released in 2002.[79] After an unexpectedly long delay, the film was released on DVD by Yash Raj Films on 7 January 2002. The release included the making-of documentary, and highlights from the film's premiere, and from the 1996 Filmfare Awards ceremony.[80] Kapil Srivastava, among the best guitarist of India also gave a tribute[81] to 1000 weeks completion of this movie.

In 2006, members of the film team were honoured at a dinner event on the occasion of the film's 500 week anniversary. It was hosted by the Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai and by Switzerland Tourism.[82] In 2010, Yash Raj Films signed an agreement with Indian and Swiss tour companies to provide a tour package called "YRF Enchanted Journey". It will allow people visiting Switzerland to view sites and filming locations from famous Yash Raj films including DDLJ.[19][20]

During his visit to India in January 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama in his speech at the Sirifort Auditorium quoted a line from the film, "Senorita..bade bade desho mein" to an applause by the pleasantly surprised audience.[83]

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External links[edit]