On a Saturday evening in this December, I sneaked into PVR cinema to watch Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Nineteen years after it was released. All through the last 19 years, I lived with constant comments by my dear friends, “How can you be a SRK fan when you haven’t watched DDLJ?”
When DDLJ was released, I was living my own real life story of DDLJ (thought it didn’t quite end like the film). But more than that, I was living in my pseudo-intellectual world which only approved Iranian and Korean movies. So, DDLJ never really happened to me in the darkness of the theatre. I could never watch DDLJ on TV though it is being shown very frequently on some channel or the other.
So when I recently read about the film now being shown as part of ‘1000 weeks celebration’, I finally decided to take the plunge. Better to be late than never. To my surprise, the hall was packed. I was lucky to get a ticket (retrospectively speaking). There were cheers, whistles, catcalls and all kind of imaginary calls when SRK made his ‘sporty’ entry. Everybody seemed to be on a high in the theatre. The dialogues were told aloud even before they were uttered by the hero/heroine. Collective memory of a nation that loves its share of Bollywood romance.
Did I like the film? Yes and no. I found it too long (kind of never ending). Being a journo, I am obsessed with crisp editing. The film fared poorly in this department. I loved the fact that even after so many years, the film evokes so much of emotion. All around me, I could smell joy, nostalgia and love. It was definitely beautiful to see romance evolve without mobile phones, selfies and updating statuses on Facebook. Raj-Simran romance surprisingly felt fresh.
More than anything, I loved watching SRK on the screen. He looked like a human being with all possible vulnerabilities of a human being. Now, he looks like a run of the mill lap-top (not even a Macbook air) That’s why, I can not spend my hard-earned money on buying a ticket of Ra.One/Chennai Express/Happy New Year. Huge success has robbed SRK of his innocence and tenderly visible aspiration to make it big. Sometimes, success makes you look very boring. Like a trader.
Still on that Saturday, SRK-Kajol made me feel nice. So, here’s to 1000 weeks of DDLJ. And celluloid magic. And to SRK of yore.