How DDLJ Changed Love In Bollywood

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Even after a thousand weeks of running, Bollywood film, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (DDLJ) still continues to pull the heartstrings of the young and old alike. The film which was released in 1995 has completed 1000 weeks or 19 years and still continues to run in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theatre.

Directed by Aditya Chopra and starring the dream couple, Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, the film was greeted as a refreshing change by the Indian audience. With its decked up stars, beautiful foreign locales and expensive sets, DDLJ shifted the cinema’s attention to celebration of love instead of the wrath of the Thakurs, the separation of judwa bhais (twin brothers), and the shifting chaarpayis (beds used in villages). It was after a long time that the subject of love was treated with such vitality and humour and not with guns, rebellion, ransoms and kidnappings.

DDLJ also brought with it the foreign locations and not just in item songs, but foreign locations as an integral part of the characters’ lives. DDLJ for the first time showed the ease with which the East and the West connected. The film showed an interesting chunk of an NRI’s life, the Western lifestyle along with the Indian values appealed immensely to the Indian audience. It was something new, a never-seen-before concept and it paved a way for foreign locations and NRIs in the Bollywood cinema.

The film also sought to strike a balance between the traditional family values and the western sense of individualism. Raj won the consent of Simran’s parents and also won her love. This sense of balance made the movie likeable by all, the young, the middle-aged and the old. While the youngsters fell in love with the movie for its dreamy romance and a sense of adventure, the older generation liked it because that romance was rooted in traditional values, the fact that the lovers did not elope but stayed and tried to seek their parents’ consent.

What has really made the audience stick to the film even today is how it deals with the subject of uncompromising love. The movie is a perfect brew of a dream love; Raj and Simran, although totally opposite of each other, accidently meet and fall in love. Even though an arranged marriage seems to come in between them, Simran’s mother asks her not to compromise on love, so Raj sets on winning the hearts of the family members without compromising on love and abiding by the family values. Raj succeeds. Love prospers. And the spectators are left feeling giddy with romance and sighing for the same kind of ideal love. After 19 years or a thousand weeks of continually watching it, we still do! Such is the magic of DDLJ.

Namrata Tripathi

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