Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is the love story of Raj and Simran (SRK and Kajol), who meet during a trip in Europe. While initially, the flirtatious Raj irks Simran, she soon falls in love with him. However, the twist in the tale is that Simran’s father (Amrish Puri) had already promised his best friend to get their kids married when they grow up. Even though they are based in London, the desi man, wanting to stick to his words, flies off to his ‘desh’ after getting to know of his daughter’s love for Raj.
The film moves base to Punjab, where we are introduced to the boisterous Kuljeet (Parmeet Sethi), who Simran has to marry. While the family preps up for the wedding, our hero Raj comes back to take his Dulhania. And we all know what followed.
As DDLJ celebrates its 25th anniversary today, it’s likely that some of you would have wondered, what would have happened if Simran didn’t go with Raj? What if she missed catching that train, or her father did not allow her to ‘jee le apni zindagi’, or what if Raj did not end up at her doorstep in the first place? While we have our own set of assumptions, we decided to throw this question to the man himself — Kuljeet aka Parmeet Sethi, who was left at the altar by Simran.
After a hearty laugh, Sethi replied, “I think then the film would go on for 50 years and not 25.” The actor added, “Actually, Kuljeet did no wrong. He was going to get married, and Raj came in and picked his girl. He did not even know about their affair. So it’s only justified that if they had been married, it would have still worked. However, then it would be a different story, a different film. So let’s just say that maybe in another universe, Kuljeet and Simran lived happily ever after.”
When you play a pivotal role in such a memorable film, it becomes a part of your identity. Sethi shared that most people still remember him as Kuljeet. Interestingly, according to the actor, most fans in Punjab and north India consider him the ‘real hero’ of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and not Raj.
“It’s so funny, and I don’t know where to look when people say that Kuljeet was a better choice. I think the way it was written, and played out, especially the Punjabiyat caught the imagination of the youth. It was never seen before. I think Kuljeet was the Kabir Singh of that time with all his macho elements (laughs). It was such a fun character, and being so boisterous, people connected with him instantly. I think some things are meant to happen and I am glad it happened this way,” added Parmeet Sethi.
In today’s time when films hardly last for a couple of weeks in cinema, DDLJ has been watched by fans for 25 years. For Sethi, this feat is “way beyond anyone’s imagination”. He called it a magical and beautiful experience and said that maybe everyone’s stars were aligned that this film could create history. It was also a life-changing film for him as it showed him in a new light, and given it was his biggest hit, his trajectory also moved towards cinema from television.
“SRK and Kajol were supposed to become stars after DDLJ, Adi had to become Aditya Chopra, and so many other careers got launched with this film. While it’s yet to sink in, all we can do is be thankful that it happened to us,” Parmeet said with a smile.
Going down memory lane, Parmeet Sethi said that while there are many moments worth remembering, there’s one incident that always brings a smile on his face. Elaborating on the same, he shared that it was the time they were shooting for the climax of the film in Panvel. It was a two-day schedule, and after the first evening, they all stayed at a hotel, and given they were having fun, no one wanted to go back to their room. Sethi, Archana Puran Singh, Shah Rukh, Kajol, Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar had a gala time playing Pictionary.
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“It was an impromptu party, and the game became funnier with each round. Shah Rukh was completely in his element, and took off on Adi so many times. We had such a wonderful time miming all those words. It was sheer bonhomie and something very special. While we were all awake till late, the next morning, we were all on the shoot, fully charged up. That was the beauty of the team,” the actor concluded with a broad smile.
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