Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Somewhere along the way, this wholesome little film found its way into my heart.

Oh, it was definitely not love at first sight, much to my disappointment. I had such high expectations for Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, mostly because everything I had heard about the film was positive. People absolutely adored this movie, from those who saw it when it came out in 1995 to new Bollywood watchers. So when I bought my own copy and failed to fall head over heels, I was naturally surprised. However, after a second viewing (and many more Bollywood movies later), I started to soften towards it. Today, after understanding a bit more about Bollywood than I did initially, and after reading about the film and why it was so successful, I have a new appreciation for it. You could even say I'm quite fond of it.

The first time I saw DDLJ, I had a hard time digesting Shahrukh Khan as Raj.
I had just decided after watching Kal Ho Naa Ho, that I loved King Khan unconditionally. But when I saw him as Raj, he was quite different than the SRK-branded character who had grown on me. This SRK made some awful facial expressions and wagged his pinkie when he was describing a trip to the "loo"(I've since learned that this is a common gesture in India, thanks to, and it doesn't bother me now). His haircut reminded me of a mullet(although I know it wasn't), and, quite frankly, I thought he was an immature prick(I love a sense of humor in a guy, but Raj just acted like a little kid--he got me to laugh, but I wouldn't have taken him seriously as a potential mate and I'm surprised Simran did based on the first half of the movie alone).

Now, I see Raj in a different light. Not only do I have somewhat of an understanding of Shahrukh's personal success story(which helps me appreciate his performance more), but I see the good qualities that Raj possesses, especially in the second half of the film. Although he doesn't seem to know when to quit being so obnoxious in the first half, once he knows Simran's heart belongs to him, he's very attentive and affectionate with her(See the scene when she "swoons" during her fast, the way he hugs her when he first arrives in India, and the scene when he and Simran feed one another). I also learned that Bollywood usually had more macho-man heroes in this time, and that Raj was one of the first to help out with the women's duties and even give fashion advice.

Kajol as Simran was a no-brainer; She was amazing. When I see her in DDLJ today, I'm reminded once again why she's my absolute favorite Bollywood actress. She's so warm and expressive, most of the time wearing her heart on her sleeve...I should really make a point to watch all of her films someday, not just the most popular ones.

As far as chemistry between the two leads, I wasn't blown out of my chair when I first saw DDLJ. I did think they made a cute couple, and it was obvious they were comfortable with one another, but I didn't see any real fireworks(This was before I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and I've since changed my mind, completely). Now when I watch DDLJ, however, I love the innocence of their romance. Its such a pure-hearted film, and anything less than Raj and Simran's puppy love would have ruined that.

DDLJ has its corny moments, but somehow after watching another huge hit from the early nineties, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, those moments don't seem quite so corny anymore.

And, speaking of HAHK, after I saw that movie, I can see why DDLJ was such a hit. It expressed the same importance on family values and the innocence of love that HAHK did, but in a better made film. Its those values that caused me to give DDLJ a second look, and I'm glad I did. I'm also glad I understand DDLJ and its phenomenon as a result, because it certainly is a biggie in Indian cinema.

text (c) 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood


Zehra,  August 13, 2008 at 12:34 PM  

Hey Nida,

DDLJ was and is still a phenomenon in Bollywood. When I first saw it I was pretty young, but after that Ive have seen it many, many times and each time it kinda grows on me even more.

You are very right about Shah Rukh's growth as an actor and also as a person; and this movie, in my opinion, catapulted him to the star status he enjoys today.

Did you notice Karan Johar in a tiny cameo? He was one of Raj's two close friends. Karan was the one wearing those weird glasses and a cap, Shah Rukh bullied him in the movie.

Also this movie holds the most film history records which I guess Om Shanti Om broke.

Anyway, I'm really glad that you saw this movie and liked it too. Though not as much as I do.

Keep writing, looking forward to your blogs evermore eagerly =]


Nida August 14, 2008 at 1:14 PM  


I did notice Karan! He looked so different, yet that voice just gave it away...;)

I'd heard how big of a movie this was overseas, so I had very high expectations. Upon my first viewing, it just wasn't what I had expected, but when I read about the film and what it meant to its target audience, I began to appreciate it more. And then I watched it again. And again. And, just like you, I love it more each time.

Matter of fact, I'll probably watch it yet again soon! Its just one of those films that appreciate in value each time you watch it, as opposed to the ones that depreciate with subsequent viewings.

That makes a truly great film!

Henrik,  August 5, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

Did you get DDLJ with the bonus DVD, where they interview Indian fans in front of the Bombay cinema that has been showing DDLJ for 9 years now? Those fans say convincedly, like, "i've seen it a hundred times, i'll see it another 100 times - and more." Have fun!


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