The Brave-Hearted Will Take the Bride

The 1990s saw an emergence of this new cinematic style in the realm of Bollywood that operated on The Family Melodrama. There was a conscious shift in Hindi cinema – The showcasing of the class conflicts amongst angry young men (that were prodigies of the previous film generations) had moved over to make way for the more modern dealings of romance viz a viz the lovers’ choices between tradition and modernity.

And hence was introduced The Brave-Hearted Will take the Bride; that’s what the mother of all Bollywood romances was subtitled as, for the overseas in the glorious year of 1995. The motion picture that has single handedly kept generations together from swearing off the idea of love completely. The cinematic experience that has managed enough sighs and cries from the most unbelieving of audiences. Even if the global impact of the product is kept aside for the moment, it wouldn’t be completely unfair to say that you’ve either witnessed the humongous mark it has left on Indian Cinema or you’ve probably been living under a rock.

Yes yes, I speak of the one, the only and the absolutely enigmatic, to say the least, THE Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge.

As much as I cringe at the idea of The Knight in Shining Armour, Mush or some such, there is something irresistibly endearing about Shah Rukh Khan playing the love-sick hero who travels from London to the interiors of Punjab only to hug and sing with his lady love. The magnitude of the love that won over the cold, unflinching, blazing eyes and the rich baritone voice of Chaudhry Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri) is embarrassingly hair rising at points. The conviction with which the initial awkwardness between the seeming opposites of Raj and Simran melt away with mainly the help of a red rental car and a cognac-filled night, almost reflexively makes one want to wait to get swept off one’s own feet in similar fashion.

The last scene of the movie- Oh! Swoon! You know Simran is going to catch hold of Raj’s hand and get onto the darn train. You know you’re being far from sane by worriedly shutting your eyes with fear of them not uniting. And just like that, she makes it. All is well in the world again. Shah Rukh’s dreaminess along with Kajol’s steadfastness adds up to nothing but pure magic.

Like I said, Oh Swoon.

I write all of this with a strong understanding and acknowledgment of the fact that if DDLJ was made today; it would probably bankrupt the Chopras. Also, some of you will completely condemn the fascination I have for the film and its brand value in its own, by calling it too soapy for your liking and way to conventional to suit your elite sensibilities. However, DDLJ must’ve done something right in its quest of making people fall in love or strike a similar cord with the audience. As evidence we have the over-700-weeks-and-counting run of the movie in a theatre in Mumbai even today. Moreover, that’s the stuff childhood was made of; the faded apparatus of small town and middle class that was in awe of all things Switzerland and all movies Yash Ji. The film swept that year’s every major award and picked up every single accolade of consequence, not to mention the unconditional love of movie goers all over. Needless to say, even with all of its conventionalisms, DDLJ is the forerunner of contemporary Bollywood.

If you still find my dedicated motivation to Dilwale… undeserving, I can just sigh and tell you in true NRI style that, “it’s all right, Senorita. In big countries, such small things keep happening.”

Priyam Saha

Female. Pursuing English Honours from Delhi University. Anything else? Don’t you wish you knew..?