Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge has been taken off from the Maratha Mandir screen after running continuously for 1009 weeks. As millions of fans in India and around the world sigh in sorrow and lament the end of a fascinating run of around 7000 days, I have a confession which will surely frustrate some of you, destroy relationships around me and probably leave me homeless.
I have never seen, nor do I ever want to, watch DDLJ.
Oh no please, Shah Rukh, please don’t cry. The million other times you did in all of your films, was enough.
But you cannot live in India without hearing someone quote a line from the movie now and then, escape DDLJ memes flooding the internet, or even pretend to smile and nod when someone has a “DDLJ moment” on the Delhi Metro.
Naturally, to survive here, some rudimentary understanding of the basic story-line is MANDATORY.
But as someone who has been brought up in the 21st century, many of the “pathbreaking” ideas which made Dilwale standout when it released, seem pretty commonplace to me.
And things like this rather famous scene were already under the new sexual harassment guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in 1993.
Foreign trips with friends, sticking it to the regime of arranged marriages, and the more common ‘lovers’ running away to get married: If movies were mirrors to society, it’s kinda hard to believe this is how society functioned in 1995.
And today, I am not quite sure why Maratha Mandir continued to play a movie which almost no one born in today’s day and age can identify with.
I mean I get the sentiment, but filling a wound with mud will just… kill the bird. Right?
It’s not just about the rather common story line, which was subsequently somewhat recycled in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and can be traced to Maine Pyar Kiya.
It’s great that Maratha Mandir ran one movie for more than a decade. But if I were living close to a theater which showed only one movie, I would have been pretty depressed at the lack of choice.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge apparently redefined Indian cinema as we know it. And while Shah Rukh became immortal as the King of Romance with this movie, his contribution to Indian cinema may indeed have been more important in Baazigar, Swades and Chak De! .
I can hear DDLJ devotee-colleagues gnashing their teeth already. Wait till I tell them, Maratha Mandir has replaced their all-time favourite movie with MSG: The Messenger .