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DDLJ at 25: Yash Chopra thought the climax wouldn’t work, reveals cinematographer

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, made on a budget of Rs 4 crore, collected Rs 89 crore in India and Rs 13.50 crore overseas in 1995.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | Mumbai |
Updated: October 20, 2020 4:14:36 pm
ddljShah Rukh Khan and Kajol in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. (Express archive photo)

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, released on October 20, 1995, marked the directorial debut of Aditya Chopra. Produced by Yash Chopra, the film featured Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Mandira Bedi, Parmeet Sethi, Amrish Puri, Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, Satish Shah and Himani Shivpuri in significant parts. Shot in picturesque locations of India, London and Switzerland, the movie went on to become one of the biggest blockbusters of Indian cinema. DDLJ is also one of the longest-running films as it screened for over 1200 weeks in Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai.

Talking about the success of DDLJ on the film’s 25th anniversary today, Shah Rukh Khan said in a statement, “I think DDLJ helped me cement my place and brought me fame in a way that I didn’t think it would. We were all living in the moment, trying to make the best film we could. There are so many reasons attributed to its success, but I don’t think any one specific thing can explain the phenomenon it has become. I think all the success is to be credited to the pure heart with which the film was made by Adi, Yashji, and the entire cast and crew—and my non-existent ‘good looks’.”

He added, “As for perception, I always felt that I can play more unconventional roles because of my looks, but DDLJ has belied that and I still struggle to make that one macho unconventional kick ass character which suits me, or so I thought, but its been a struggle to not be considered romantic and sweet for the last 25 years — a struggle, I guess, I am happy to lose.”

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16:14 (IST)20 Oct 2020
A prominent person at YRF said DDLJ wasn't a film but a travelogue: writer Javed Siddiqui

DDLJ marked the 50th film of dialogue writer Javed Siddiqui, who had earlier penned lines for wide-ranging films like "Umrao Jaan", Yash Chopra's "Darr" and "Baazigar". There was a feeling of "timeless romance" attached with Aditya Chopra's script, Siddiqui said, while adding that many were not on board with the idea of a large-scale musical romance shot across continents.
 "It isn't that when the film was being made people thought it would break all records. There were several people who had doubts about it. A prominent personality of Yash Raj Films asked me to request Yash ji not to do this 'bewakoofi' (stupidity) with this film. He said it's not a film, it's a travelogue," the 78-year-old screenwriter told PTI.
But DDLJ proved the naysayers wrong by redefining Hindi film romance and scripting history as it went on to become one of the longest-running films in the country. A matinee show was dedicated to the film at Mumbai's Maratha Mandir till March, when theatres were shut due to the pandemic-led lockdown.
Siddiqui said the film's long run can be attributed to its story, Jatin-Lalit's music, and the chemistry between Shah Rukh and Kajol.
"They brought it alive. The love story is so effective, it makes you believe. You forget the age of Shah Rukh, or that Kajol today has a grown-up daughter. It captures you in that moment and doesn't let go. That's its biggest strength."

16:03 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Parmeet Sethi talks about possibility of Simran marrying Kuljeet, not Raj in DDLJ

Parmeet Sethi played Kuljeet Singh, whom Kajol's Simran was supposed to marry before she fell in love with Raj (SRK). On the film's 25th anniversary, asked the actor if an alternate ending, where Simran and Raj didn't end up together and she married Kuljeet, was possible. “I think then the film would go on for 50 years and not 25," Parmeet said.

Read More What if Simran married Kuljeet instead of Raj in DDLJ? Parmeet Sethi answers

15:49 (IST)20 Oct 2020
How Yash Chopra had reservations about DDLJ's climax!

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge cinematographer Manmohan Singh reveals many in the team, including late producer Yash Chopra wasn't convinced about the film's climax, where Amrish Puri's Chaudhary Baldev Singh lett go of his daughter's hands with 'Jaa Simran jaa' which went on to become a celebrated symbol of love's victory over familial resistance in Hindi cinema.
On the film's 25th anniversary on Tuesday, Singh recounted then debutant director Aditya Chopra's first narration to the team.
"The common reaction for many, including Yash ji's, initially, was that the climax wasn't working. We thought, 'It was such a brilliant film but eventually it became a cliche. It follows a pretty normal ending, with the father letting go of the daughter's hands. Before the shoot and even after that, we had reservations about it," Singh told PTI.
The cinematographer, who was 46-year-old when he shot the film, said his doubt vanished when he saw people clapping and whistling during the now-famous train sequence. "Yash ji had some reservations but started feeling it'll work. Aditya agreed it wasn't pitch-perfect but told us he didn't have another alternative, the film had to end there. But when we heard people clapping and hooting, we were pleasantly surprised. We didn't have the faintest of clue that this would work, let alone be remembered even decades later."

15:21 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Twitter comes up with special DDLJ emoji to celebrate 25th anniversary

Cheryl-Ann Couto, Partnerships Manager at Twitter India, said the custom DDLJ emoji is a way to pay tributes to the film. "Today, we are excited to celebrate one of the most iconic Indian romances, DDLJ, with the movie's innumerable fans on the service. With the new custom #DDLJ25 emoji, we hope to light up timelines with Tweets about this classic," Couto said in a statement.

Check out Twitter India launches emoji to mark 25 years of DDLJ

15:15 (IST)20 Oct 2020
DDLJ's rigid patriarchy, submissive female characters haven't stood test of time, writes Shaikh Ayaz

Hindi cinema can be divided into pre and post Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge for it changed aspiration from and expression of romantic love, but how well does the classic hold today? Veteran film writer Shaikh Ayaz writes about the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer as it stands 25 years later.

Read Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge turns 25, but how does it hold up today?

15:08 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Our lives spent in looking for Raj: Swara Bhasker celebrates DDLJ's 25th anniversary

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge redefined the grammar of romance for the Indian audience.

14:49 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Parmeet Sethi thanks Aditya Chopra for making him part of "history"
13:10 (IST)20 Oct 2020
YRF shares rare BTS photos from Dilwale Dulhani Le Jayenge set

DDLJ, directed by Aditya Chopra and produced by father Yash Chopra's YRF, is one of the most successful films in the history of Indian cinema.

13:05 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Remember Chutki, Kuljeet and Lajjo from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? Check out where they are now

Post-DDLJ, seasoned actor Farida Jalal appeared in movies like Judaai, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Pukar, Kya Kehna and Zubeidaa among others. Jalal was last seen in Jawaani Jaaneman (2020). She is currently more active on television having featured in shows like Shararat, Balika Vadhu and Ammaji Ki Galli. She made her digital debut with YRF's Love Shots.Also Read Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge stars: Where are they now?

12:44 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Uday Chopra walks down memory lane on DDLJ's 25th anniversary
View this post on Instagram

A picture of me from the sets of DDLJ. It’s been 25 years!!! Was a truly special and fun experience. The memories will last for ever... #DDLJ25 @yrf

A post shared by Uday Chopra (@udayc) on

Uday Chopra is late Yash Chopra's younger son and DDLJ director Aditya Chopra's brother.

12:42 (IST)20 Oct 2020
My scenes with Kajol make me feel fuzzy and warm: SRK on DDLJ's 25th anniversary

Shah Rukh Khan, on the completion of 25 years of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, said, "I have to admit, for someone who doesn’t like mushy, romantic films, the scenes with Kajol and I did make me feel all fuzzy and warm. There, I said it!” He also reveals, “I don’t change the radio channel when a DDLJ song comes on. I can never get sick of them. They bring back memories of a film that shaped my path forward in an unforgettable way."

12:32 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Farah Khan remembers working on 'Ruk Jaa O Dil Deewane' on DDLJ's 25th anniversary
11:58 (IST)20 Oct 2020
DDJ was my training ground: Karan Johar on film's 25th anniversary
11:43 (IST)20 Oct 2020
On DDLJ's 25th anniversary Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol change their Twitter handles to Raj, Simran

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, who became one of the best on screen pairs in the history of Indian cinema courtesy DDLJ, expressed their love for the film on its 25th anniversary by changin their Twitter names and profile pictures to their that of their characters, Raj Malhotra and Simran.

11:30 (IST)20 Oct 2020
Felt I wasn't cut out for romantic characters: Shah Rukh Khan on DDLJ's 25th anniversary

Shah Rukh Khan's Raj in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) redefined on-screen romance for generations, but as the blockbuster completes 25 years today, the superstar reveals he wasn't convinced about pulling off a charming character like Raj.

"Raj was unlike anything I had done. Before DDLJ, there was Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam—films in which I had portrayed negative characters. Also, I always felt that I wasn’t cut out to play any romantic type of character. So, when I was presented with the opportunity by Adi and Yash ji of essaying the role, I was excited to work with him but had no idea how to go about it and also if I would be able to do it well."

"Actually, I always felt Adi's love for me made him cast me. I found the character endearing and sweet in the right way - the over the topness is my contribution. It was one of those roles that I realised can do with me using a version of my real self so you might see some quirks, habits and mannerisms that were true to my off-screen persona, especially the sense of humour part," SRK said in a statement.

11:22 (IST)20 Oct 2020
There were moments on screen that Kajol and I didn't feel we were acting: Shah Rukh Khan

On the occasion of DDLJ's 25th anniversary, superstar Shah Rukh Khan told Marie Claire USA that the on screen romance betweem Raj and Simran was the result of the pure friendship he and co-star Kajol shared. "What worked for Raj and Simran on-screen was basically the pure friendship that Kajol and I shared off-screen. It was all so organic that there were moments in front of the camera that we didn’t feel like we were acting at all. We didn’t really plan scenes. We just let them flow, and if we didn’t like something, we could just blurt it out to each other without any formality," Shah Rukh shared.

Also Read What worked for Raj and Simran was the friendship that Kajol and I shared off-screen: Shah Rukh Khan

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge continues to inspire filmmakers. While movies such as Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania are wholly inspired by its plot and perspective, Jab We Met, Chennai Express, and even Slumdog Millionaire feature pivotal 'train sequences' ala the Aditya Chopra film.

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