Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
This is a love story about two Indians living in London (NRI in Indian speak). Raj (SRK) and Simran (Kajol). The two come from very different families. Raj’s father (Anupam Kher) is very liberal and Simran’s father (Amrish Puri) is very strict. Simran and Raj end up going on a trip on Eurail and that is where they meet each other. Raj flirts with Simran, who is irritated by the attention. A mishap causes the two to miss the train and they are forced to travel together. During the trip, the two fall in love with each other. However, Simran is promised to marry another man in India, Kuljeet (Parmeet Sethi). Raj believing in his Indian values, does not want to run away with Simran, but wants her father’s acceptance. Raj now follows Simran to India and hatches a plan to stop her from marrying Kuljeet. May we suggest you to read more about happy ending online
Any Hindustani worth their salt and every amateur Indian movie watcher has seen DDLJ and can sing all the songs. However, if you are on this site, you probably are new to Indian movies. So let me try to explain the lure of DDLJ. If you notice I’m calling it DDLJ. I’m not being lazy, that’s what almost all Indians call it. It’s as much recognizable as DDLJ as it is with the actual name, but I’ll indulge you anyway. The movie is called Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. If your HIndi is worse than mine, by now you are wondering what that means. A dilwale is a lover or a man with courage of heart (it depends on context, here its the latter) and a dulhania is a bride. Basically, a lover will come and take his bride away. You want to remember this phrase, because it will resurface in many many more movies that you will watch. DDLJ is to Indian movies what Grease is to American cinema. Actually, DDLJ may be a million times that.
DDLJ is mostly a girl meets boy story. Most Indian movies are. What makes this movie different is that it is beautiful and it is the original. It features a great cast of characters. Shahrukh (SRK) Khan is of course the great lover and his love is Kajol. Now this pairing was a very popular one back in the day. So much so that every Indian girl grew up believing that the two were married and lived somewhere on an untouchable cloud. Not that I have anything against Kajol and Shah together. There are a lot of movies that they were together in that are very good. DDLJ may have been the beginning of this beautiful match. They are not the only two in this movie however, there is also Anupam Kher. If you have spent some time looking at my posts, it is clear that I think Anupam Kher is one amazing actor. Plus, this movie would have been nothing without Amrish Puri’s scowl.
Back to the movie. As usual, I don’t give spoilers. If that’s what you are looking for then go to wikipedia, it gives you the plot of the story and the ending just how you like it, but if you read the spoilers then “dishonor on your cow”. This movie is for love, if you are looking for a movie to watch with your girlfriend, one that will get you laid after, this may be it. If you and your friends are looking for a feel good love story, then this is it. DDLJ gives you all the fun of a romance without the heartache. Because even when the characters are going through the pain and the disappointment, you just know that they will get through it and everything will be fine. Because this is Bollywood and that’s how things work out, sometimes.
You can tell how old the movie is the moment it starts. First, Kajol’s unibrow makes a prominent display right at the beginning. I understand that Kajol is drop dead gorgeous and on any given day, most women can’t hold a candle to her, but jeez, can she get a wax so she has two eyebrows instead of one? Please! Second, the movie has principles, not ethics, but principles. Kajol’s character, Simran, is a good girl, the take home to your mother type of girl. She is the type of girl who will cry because you have dishonored her by wanton behavior. She doesn’t drink, and when she does, she certainly can’t handle her liquor. It’s all bad, but so good. There is the very strict Indian father, who refuses to see right. In fact, his stubbornness makes it so that the movie happens, because Bagwhan (god) forbid that he would allow his daughter to marry the man she wants to marry. Third, if you want to find out the values that ‘some’ Indians hold, just watch this movie. It is oozing with principles.
Of course no Indian movie is complete without a fight scene, so you are going to watch the most ridiculous fight scene when Kuljit, the groom-to-be decides that he is going to take matters into his own hands. The fake blood, the loud unbelievable, drum-like sounds of the punches, the fact that the blood looks like red dye and the gravity defying acts, all make for a very interesting and fun scene.
I’m not going to lie, DDLJ is long, intermission included. If you are going to watch it, you may just need to put yourself in a Titanic mindset. It’s a romance and it’s long. Go ahead and see for yourself. I dare you to make it through the first half before intermission without needing a pee break.
Four things about DDLJ
1. Karan Johar
If you know anything about Indian movies at all, you know that Karan Johar, my favorite talk show host, (dang it Karan bring back Koffee with Karan) is a famous and accomplished director and producer. What you may not know about K Jo is that he dabbled in the acting arts. K Jo is in this movie, not as the behind the scenes genius that he is now, but as an actor. And he is almost unrecognizable. When I saw DDLJ, over ten years ago, I knew zero things about K Jo. He was just one of the forgettable characters who had a small role in the movie. So even on re-watching this movie for this blog, I didn’t realize that it was K Jo until I heard his voice. I had to rewind to make sure my ears weren’t deceiving me. See for yourself.
This is K Jo now!
This is K Jo in DDLJ, he is behind SRK; see the difference?!
2. Tujhe dekha AND Mehndi laga ke rakhna
I love these songs, and I’ll be damned if they don’t play at my wedding, regardless of who I marry. If you are ever hitting on an Indian girl and want something cheesy along the lines of “Is your dad an astronaut, cause you are from out of space” then you should try looking deep into her eyes and say “Tujhe dekha to ye jaana sanam, pyar hota hai deewana sanam, ab yahan se kaha jaye hum”. I don’t guarantee any results, she may throw a drink in your face, but on the other hand, you may get super lucky and she will find it cute. Try it and let me know, good luck!
3. The odes
This movie is full of odes to Hollywood films. There is an essence of Grease when Raj discusses with his friends that he met a girl and Simran tells her friends that she met a boy. There is the scene where the betrothed Kuljit walks in with his friends and I automatically start thinking the Sharks have entered the room (or the Jets, depending on the West side you were on, no judgment here).
4. Dramatic music a al Yash-ji
This is Yash Chopra movie. If you don’t know who Yash-ji is, here is his Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yash_Chopra. I could write a book trying to explain to you how amazing he is at romance and movie making. The music in this movie is very him, there is a dramatic beat attached to each action, each word. Even the most solemn scenes have their own sounds, tailor made just so, to perfectly fit that scene.
I hope you like DDLJ as much as I do, if you don’t that’s fine too. But I definitely would like to hear about your opinion. If you like DDLJ, check out my review of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Same cast, almost same story, and a lot more fun! Happy watching and remember that in big places, such small things happen