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25 years of DDLJ: When Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol made the biggest blockbuster film for Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra

By Joginder Tuteja

20 October 1995 – History is written on this day when Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge made a splash on the screen. Apart from Sholay, no other Indian film has been as well documented as this romantic musical entertainer from Yash Raj Films’ house, for which it is also the biggest blockbuster ever. All the facts, facts, anecdotes of the film are in public in various forms, in the form of ‘behind the scenes’ features, books, events, interviews, video clips, blogs, works.

So how does someone celebrate a special day? After all, today marks the silver jubilee celebrations of the film. At a time when a film does not run houseful even for 25 days, skip 25 weeks, which used to be a multiplex, DDLJ – at least one standard as long as the film is called Prietam – a run. Survived for 25 years. Had it not been for the epidemic that ended the spectacular phase of the film directed by Aditya Chopra at the Maratha temple in Mumbai, the theater would have been celebrated in a big way.

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It would have been well deserved as well. After all, the Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol starrer is not just a cult outing, it is a film that has found a special place in the hearts of two generations.

I still remember when I was in college when the film was released. The songs (courtesy Jatin-Lalit and Anand Bakshi) were chartbusters prior to release. That’s when audio cassettes ruled, but audio CDs began to make their presence felt. HMV packaged it quite stylishly and the content did the rest. The music turned out to be the biggest for 1995.

For the trailer, it made a huge impression. ‘Picture is hit’, which was accepted by all, is trade, industry-wallah, exhibitors and of course the audience.

Well, they couldn’t be more wrong!

The film was not just a hit, superhit or blockbuster. It proved to be an all-time blockbuster. If one calculates the inflation, then at present the business will be worth about 500 crores, which Bahubali: The Conclusion recently earned.

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Coming back to the film, there was a huge curiosity to know what a good film should offer. Theaters were well booked in advance and Yash Raj Films, a highly respected name in 1995, ensured that their tremendous network among distributors ensured a mega release. Meanwhile, Aditya Chopra decided to release the video of the film’s BTS (Behind the Scenes) and once that came in front of the audience, there was more craze to see what it had to offer.

No wonder, when the big day arrived, there was a massive crowd. Gone are the days when movies first appeared in A centers, then they bumped into B centers and finally it took some time to search for C centers. However, word of mouth was starting to catch on really fast. ‘Bade Bade Deso Mein Chhoti Choti Baati Hoti Phir Rahee Hai’, ‘Palat’ and ‘Ja Simran Ja, Ji Le Apna Jeevan’ got so massive that the audience started repeating the film. The fact that there was a lot in this 3-hour film only helped.

For Shah Rukh Khan, coming to a romantic avatar after winning the audience with his violent roles in Baazigar, Darr and Anjaam, it was a difficult ordeal. To think this, after a month (24 November) his Ram came to know and both of his films were screened in theaters which were as different as they were. As for Kajol, who had previously entertained two spices with Shah Rukh Khan as Baazigar and Karan Arjun, it was time to create a romantic ‘jodi’ that has survived even 25 minutes down the line.

Of course, DDLJ would not have been DDLJ if it hadn’t been for the three veteran actors, which would have been much more right through Amrish Puri, Farida Jalal and Anupam Kher. Yes, there are many other actors who will be known for their contribution to DDLJ in the history of Indian films. However, it is the trio of these legendary actors who ensured that DDLJ touched hearts, and how.

No wonder, when the DDLJ poster said ‘Come … fall in love’, every word counts, and it remains strong to this day. Now this is one reason enough to celebrate.

Joginder Tuteja is a business expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything related to films. Views are personal.

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