Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is 25 years old on Tuesday. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan looks back at the 1995 blockbuster that created his loverboy image. The actor amazes you saying he was initially sceptical about his ability and skill to pull off the romantic scenes in the ever-popular love story.
“I was told by many people that I looked unconventional, very different from what the perception of a leading man was. I did feel, maybe, not being handsome enough — or, as they called it back then, ‘chocolaty’ — would make me unsuitable for romantic roles. Also, I am very shy and awkward with ladies, and I didn’t know how I would say all the loving, romantic bits,” Shah Rukh said. “I have to admit, for someone who doesn’t like mushy and romantic films, the scenes Kajol and I did make me feel fuzzy and warm! There, I said it.”
The film was released on October 20, 1995, directed by Aditya Chopra, which starred SRK and Kajol. DDLJ tells the love story of Raj (Shahrukh) and Simran (Kajol).
Recalling the character of Raj, SRK said: “Raj was unlike anything I had done. Before DDLJ, there was Darr, Baazigar, and 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 (Chopra) ji to essay the role, I was excited to work with him but had no way to go about it, and also if I would be able to do it well.” “It was one of those roles that I realised I 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 humor part,” he added.
The film ran for over 20 years in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theatre and would go on to become the longest-running film in the history of Indian Cinema.
Apart from SRK and Kajol, late actor Amrish Puri, Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, and Parmeet Sethi also left an unforgettable mark with stellar performances.
DDLJ is also remembered to this day for the songs Jatin-Lalit composed.
King Khan says, “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.”
“As for perception, I always felt that I can play more unconventional roles because of my looks, but DDLJ has believed that and I still struggle to make that one macho unconventional character which suits me, or so I thought. But it’s been a struggle to not be considered romantic and sweet for the last 25 years — a struggle, I guess, I am happy to lose,” the Raees actor, reminisced.