DDLJ: Longest Running Bollywood Film Completes 17 Years

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge'
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge'
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’

‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’ (DDLJ) is the longest running film in Indian cinema, and it completes 17 years today. The film was released exactly 17 years ago, on this very day 20th October, 1995.

In its 17th year, and 874th week, the film is still doing brisk business! The epic tale of romance runs to packed houses in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theatre, and tickets for the 11:30 a.m. show are almost always sold out!

The film screening is amazingly always accompanied by fans whistling, cheering and clapping for their hero and heroine, who fight tooth-and-nail to save their love from familial and societal pressures. Just to put the numbers in perspective, renowned Blockbuster films like Sholay and Mughal-e-Azam haven’t tasted the kind of success this SRK starrer has. Sholay ran for five full years at Minerva Theatre, which is close by to Maratha Mandir. Dilip Kumar’s Mughal-e-Azam ran for six long years, but these lengths of time and mass hysteria are nothing when compared to what DDLJ has witnessed.

17 years ago, little did the makers of the epic romance saga know that they would be creating history.

Aditya Chopra’s first film as director has become a cult classic for an entire generation. The characters of Raj Malhotra and Simran are etched firmly in collective public memory, as the epitome of love and romance.

It is widely acknowledged as an iconic, landmark film in India cinema. He probably did not know this before the film released, but the Chopra scion has given us an ideal man, in the form of Raj Malhotra, played exceedingly wonderfully by Shah Rukh Khan, and till today, entire generations of women look for Raj’s qualities in their partners. He gave us a reason to fall in love, and countless hours of joy, as we revisit Raj and Simran’s tales in pleasure-filled multiple viewings.

Aditya Chopra also gave us Shah Rukh Khan – the superstar. As is evident, once the film released, people fell head-over-heels in love with the dimpled boy-next-door, who was a desi munda at heart, despite being born and brought up in London. He represented the Indian value system, repackaged in a modern avatar.

We fell in love with the gold-hearted playboy, who initially had a penchant for the ladies, but was soon transformed by his lady-love, and turned into an ideal boyfriend. One who keeps the promise of love alive, and who would go to any lengths to win over the family of his beau, in order to make her his bride. That gorgeous dimpled smile, that intense gaze, the mischievous, playful glint in his eye, the hilarious, witty comebacks, his attempts to woo Simran (played charmingly by Kajol), all endeared Khan to us.

Shah Rukh was portrayed as he never was before – as the lovably rich, spoilt brat, the endearing hero, the perfect lover.

The film means so many different things to so many different people, even today. Personally, I find new ways to fall in love with the idea of love, each time I curl up on my couch and watch my DVD copy of the film.

Millions of people all over the world have literally watched the film over a 100 times, some over 200 times; and can pretty much mouth all the dialogues!

How many films in recent memory, irrespective of their Box Office collections, can boast of such loyal and dedicated fan-following? Each time the film is screened on National Television, it becomes one of the most-viewed telly events. Each time it is broadcast, the hashtag #DDLJ and #SRK, start trending on Twitter.

Even today, on the 17th Anniversary of the nation’s favourite film, King Khan’s loyal fans have made #DDLJ a trending topic on the social networking site.

DDLJ is not only a film; it has become the proverbial rose-tinted glasses, through which we die-hard King Khan fans view the world. It most certainly is a classic film, reminiscent of the wonderful era of the wholesome cinema of the 1990’s.

We all aspire to have a love-story like that of Raj and Simran, we all hope for a little luck in love. They personify the larger-than-life, cinematic version of a common man’s love story.

“Bade bade deshon mein aisi choti-choti baatein hoti rehti hain, Senorita,” proclaimed Shah Rukh with a crinkle in his eyes and a sincere, reassuring smile.

How we wish this was indeed true, and we too were blessed with such wonderful, simple, romantic moments in our lives. How we all wish for our own, tailor made, perfect versions of Raj Malhotra aka Shah Rukh Khan!

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