What if Rahul Gandhi would have been the PM? What if Alexander hadn’t died so young? What if Amitabh Bachchan had used a contraceptive? These questions have always been a favourite pastime of people who have nothing else to do. And since I, by virtue of writing this column, and you, by virtue of reading it, have amply demonstrated the lack of any productive activity available to us, I will attempt to explore the following possibility for our benefit:
What if there were no DDLJ?
This week marks the anniversary of 1000 weeks of ‘Dilwaale Dulhaniya Lejayenge’, aka, “The brave heart takes the bride”. It’s been twenty years since the film premiered at Maratha Mandir and for all I know, is still going on. Not much has changed since 1995: Kajol is the same – Elegantly black and skinny, Shahrukh is still on the roll with the train scene, its Deepika this time, though, Satish Singh is as funny as shit and fights over a marriage between two traditional families is still on. But DDLJ firmly occupies a place in our hearts, like cholesterol, so even now it has the power to make us look back and wonder, “What the hell was everyone huffing back then?” The plot goes like, Raj and Simran meet on a trip to Europe. After some initial misadventures, they fall in love. If you look upon in the contemporary sense, everything has almost been same; it’s just a matter of shuffling. You meet on a trip (Pass me the joint bro!), you fall in love and you have misadventures.
But keeping everything aside, I still watch a bit of the movie whenever it’s on TV. I especially like the song that goes “Tujhe dekha to ye jaana saanam”, because that’s the only time you’ll see the mustard plants in the field moving steadily, not caring about people who are hiding behind the bushes with a bottle of water or girls.
DDLJ is said to have revolutionized the ‘90s Bollywood, mostly because it did not feature Shakti Kapoor drooling over things. This was a time when action films were the norm, so it was refreshing to see a film where the villain was the girl’s Dad. Raj’s dad was cool though, it’s weird to see his father proud of him when he flunks his degree (wish my old man was half his swag). In another scene Raj and Simran move in the same room, back in ‘95. It’s so weird to watch the scene where Kajol wakes up beside Shahrukh, half naked whining about last night and all that he says is, “Simran, Simran, Simran”. You can almost hear Kajol thinking, “Take the hint, bro. Take the goddamn hint!” Hopefully the plot was in Europe, not in India. If it were, it’d involve strange and rather obscure ethics on immoral activities. I’m not sure what these activities would be, but it probably would involve some extremely obscene behavior by boys and girls, like existing in the same physical space. Shahrukh, for one in India, happens to be an adroit soul, because it would take great talent to be perched on a bike on a busy highway next to a hundred other bikes, watching out for cops and goons while your fingers wrestle with a bra clasp, racing to vanquish it before you collapse down in front of a relative.
Although I miss that old ‘cheesy’ Bollywood, it was much better than today’s masala and item song-douche.
The best part about DDLJ is that everyone watched it. This was front page news back in the day, with people claiming that they’d watched the movie some 25 times, just for Shahrukh. Or maybe that’s how many times you need to watch it to realize that love sucks. Boys have better things to die for, like, video games and smokes. It’s not the round pulpy thing every time!
And I don’t mean to brag here, but I’m somewhat of an expert on romance, especially the part where I stay single for years at a stretch. It’s like how camels can go without water for ages, because the water just wants to be friends with the camel. If I had to quantify it, then on a scale of one to ten, my dry spells are Rajasthan.
Okay, I feel a little out of place, like Shahrukh at Arpita’s wedding. So, let’s get back to DDLJ.
After all this, Raj constantly flirts with Simran, much to irritation with cheesy one liners and ”sttttaaaaaammmmeeerrriinggs”, which just proves that it’s okay to be creepy as long as you’re rich. It would never work otherwise. I mean I’d love to land up with a seksy girl in Europe and go, “Hey, We had sex last night – here’s a selfie I clicked. Wanna frendz?” I’d get kicked out quicker than Kejriwal was from the Delhi legislative assembly. However DDLJ actually taught me to throw weird, cheesy one liners – even after knowing pretty well that it sucked! Also, pyar karti hai toh palat ke dekhegi is the kind of positivity I like.
For all its legendary success, DDLJ seems pretty irrelevant to today’s generation. Unlike Raj and Simran in the film, nobody just magically falls in love and agrees to marry someone their parents don’t agree to. Nope, not unless they’re lonely or their partner is really worth a life or Parineeti Chopra or they are strangely desperate or have passed a certain age and all their friends have gotten married, so they convince themselves to settle because at least they’ll get a kickass FB album out of it.
In the concluding plot, Raj and his father are waiting at the station when the girls’ fiancé and his friends arrive and attack them. Raj boards the departing train with his father. Simran tries to join Raj on the train but her father doesn’t let her go. Simran begs him to let her go and then the twist; he lets her go (Whyy? Apparently because he wanted to be fair with the Indian railways or Bollywood script bro) and she runs to catch the train as it takes off because – Again BOLLYWOOD, bitches!
But here’s the thing. If you’re in your late teens, DDLJ is still pertinent to you, because it apparently influenced the Indian wedding scene in a huge way. It gave Indian marriages a perfect song for wedding farewells and it reminds you that love sucks a big time! But I love you (yes, YOU!), kyuki aese bade bade shehro me aesi choti choti baate hote rehti hai, Senorita.
Apart from the plot, Amrish Puri and shit, it could’ve been worse. DDLJ would have made you fall in love or your parents could’ve named you Raj. Think about it!
Shikhar Shrivastava is a guest author at LSD. He is a handsome lanky teenager who looks like he is from the movies, but has surprisingly little female following.