Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), directed by Aditya Chopra, completes 25 years today on October 25. Shahrukh Khan‘s portrayal of Raj has been etched in the hearts of cinema lovers for a long time to come. However, Shahrukh reveals that he never felt he could pull off the role of a romantic hero on screen!
He says, “Raj was unlike anything I had done. Before DDLJ, there was Darr, Baazigar, 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 ji of essaying the role, I was excited to work with him but had no idea how to go about it and also if I would be able to do it well.”
He went on to add that he felt that he was cast only because Aditya Chopra was fond of him.“Actually, I always felt Adi’s love for me made him cast me. I found the character endearing and sweet in the right way – the over the topness is my contribution. It was one of those roles that I realized 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 humour part,” adds Shahrukh.
Kajol on the other hand feels that DDLJ is timeless because everybody identifies somewhere down the line with Simran and with Raj.
Kajol’s character Simran redefined portrayal of women on screen. Simran was traditional yet modern in her outlook and was hugely relatable to people. Kajol says, “I thought Simran was a little boring, to be honest, but I recognized her. I realized there is a lot of Simran in almost everybody we know, there is always that wanting to do the right thing in someone. A lot of people don’t do the right thing but we always want to do that. You want to get that approval, you want to get that feeling of you are approved of and that you are doing something right in the world. So, yes Simran was like that. I thought she was just cool, a little old-fashioned but cool.”
Talking about her director, Aditya Chopra, Kajol says, “I think what sets Adi apart is probably his conviction. He is very, very convinced of what he is making and doesn’t take on a project if he isn’t absolutely convinced about it. That really is what sets him apart. He is not willing to let go of that basic core conviction that he has in his characters and he knows them best.”
Shahrukh who is very shy around women admitted that he had his doubts about pulling off this role. “I was told by many people that I looked unconventional – very different from what the perception of a leading man was. Also, I am very shy and awkward with ladies, and I didn’t know how I would say all the loving, romantic bits.”
Even now when a song of DDLJ comes on radio Shahrukh does not change the channel. “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,” says Shahrukh.
At the time the film was being made neither Kajol or Shahrukh felt that they were being a part of something as big as this. Kajol sharing the experience says, “We were shooting for DDLJ and we never thought that we were making this! We just thought we were going to make a really cool film together and hopefully, it will be a hit film and we were all crossing our fingers that the music will do well etc but I don’t think anyone of us ever realized the kind of impact DDLJ would have on people when they saw it!”
Written and directed by debutant Aditya Chopra, DDLJ shattered all box office records and is one of the biggest all-time blockbusters in the history of Hindi cinema. It also went on to become the longest-running Hindi film of all time! DDLJ is also the winner of a record-breaking (at the time) 10 Filmfare Awards and the film literally changed the face of Bollywood globally.