A chaming documentary on the making of India’s longest-running film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is out for viewing online, to mark its 20th anniversary.
Aditya Chopra, the director of the film is Bollywood’s most famous recluse, who is seldom seen or heard by ‘commoners’. Apart from getting to see the various moods of a very young “Adi” as he rushes about directing the film, there is a long speech he gave at the Filmfare Awards function thanking everyone involved with the film, and looking every bit as excited as a young man would, when his successful film also wins awards. How and when he became this forbidding head of Yashraj Films is perhaps for future biographers to figure out
Back then, when people made films and forgot about them, he had the foresight to shoot and preserve ‘making of’ footage’ which now forms a chunk of the film, along with fresh interviews with the lead pair Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Jatin-Lalit, Saroj Khan, others from the cast and crew, plus proud mom Pam Chopra--all except the director and, for some inexplicable reason, dialogue writer Javed Siddiqi.
Tomes have been written on the film, and obviously everyone now thinks it was a masterpiece, but amusingly, then, Shah Rukh thought he was completely wrong for the role, and Kajol just did the film because Adi was making it. The first-time director was very sure of what he was doing-- his script was messily hand-written—down to deciding what music would be used for the climax. Shah Rukh’s contribution was insisting on at least one action scene in the end, and he got it.
What is really interesting to watch now, is the relaxed and friendly atmosphere during the shoot. There was laughter and bonhomie and the kind of ease not seen on shoots today. Now actors shut themselves into vanity vans and surround themselves with staff and bodyguards.
Both Shah Rukh and Kajol were young and chirpy—20 years later, they have aged very little and have the same warmth and wit that they show in the old footage. Films made with love form great memories. Besides opening up the diaspora market and a whole lot of copies and parodies, what DDLJ also did was get Karan Johar into film making. Shah Rukh and Kajo promised Adi’s friend and bouncing board that they would do his film and they did—Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai. Then, the actress who did a small part in this film—Rani Mukerji-- went on to become a star in her own right and also Mrs Aditya Chopra. Some destinies are written on film sets.