Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge turns 25! SRK reveals why he was skeptical to play a romantic hero

Updated: 20 October, 2020 11:50 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge completes 25 years today and the King of Romance startingly reveals that he never felt he could pull off a role of a romantic hero on screen!

A still from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
A still from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (lovingly also called DDLJ), directed by Aditya Chopra, completes 25 years today and the King of Romance startingly reveals that he never felt he could pull off a role of a romantic hero on screen!

SRK 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."

"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."

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.

The film was made at a budget of 4 crore and the blockbuster, in 1995, collected 89 crore in India, 13.50 crore in overseas markets. Thus, total collections stood at 102.50 crore worldwide in 1995! In today's inflation adjusted value, DDLJ's collection stands at a staggering 455 crore in India and 69 crore in overseas territories, taking the total worldwide collections to a phenomenal 524 crore!

Shah Rukh goes on to say that he is very shy around women and didn't know how he would pull off the romantic scenes in DDLJ! "I was told by many people that I looked unconventional - very different from what the perception of a leading man was. I did feel, maybe, not being handsome enough — or as they called it then 'chocolaty' would make me unsuitable for romantic roles. Also, I am very shy and awkward with ladies, and I didn't know how I would say all the loving, romantic bits."

Lovingly called King Khan by his fans, SRK adds, "I have to admit, for someone who doesn't like mushy, romantic films, the scenes with Kajol and I did make me feel all fuzzy and warm. There, I said it!" He also reveals, "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."

The iconic ending of DDLJ has inspired scores of lovers across generations to visualise their love story to be like Raj and Simran's. Many film-makers have also used this scene as an inspiration for their films. SRK reveals that he didn't expect the train sequence to become as iconic when they were shooting it.

"There could have been no other ending, but I did not think it would be as iconic as it eventually turned out to be," he says.

SRK credits DDLJ for catapulting him to superstardom. He says, "I think DDLJ helped me cement my place and brought me fame in a way that I didn't think it would. We were all living in the moment, trying to make the best film we could. There are so many reasons attributed to its success, but I don't think any one specific thing can explain the phenomenon it has become. I think all the success is to be credited to the pure heart with which the film was made by Adi, Yashji, and the entire cast and crew—and my non-existent 'good looks'."

He adds, "As for perception, I always felt that I can play more unconventional roles because of my looks, but DDLJ has belied that and I still struggle to make that one macho unconventional kick ass character which suits me, or so I thought, but its been a struggle to not be considered romantic and sweet for the last 25 years — a struggle, I guess, I am happy to lose."

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  • 1/24

    Achala Sachdev as the matriarch: Who can forget her? Veteran actress Achala Sachdev played the loving, kind, full-of-warmth Punjabi granny in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Born in Peshawar, Sachdev acted in over 130 films, including the 1965 blockbuster Waqt. Her other memorable movies include Prem Pujari, Mera Naam Joker, Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Andaz. She also played short roles in Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (2002) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001). She passed away in 2012 at age 88.

  • 2/24

    Amrish Puri as Chaudhary Baldev Singh, Simran's father: Baldev lived in London but his heart belonged in Punjab. He has given several iconic scenes in the film - be it smelling Ajit's letter (his friend from India) as the same reminds him of his homeland, or the store sequence with Raj and friends, the 'Aao Aao' pigeon feeding scene or the unforgettable climax of DDLJ, when after getting a go-ahead from strict dad, Simran risks her life to catch a moving train to be with her lover Raj. Puri nailed it with his commanding and intimidating aura with his baritone and demeanour. Remembered for nailing villainous roles with his exceptional acting, the 'Mogambo' of Bollywood has more than 400 films to his credit. He passed away in 2005 at age 73.

  • 3/24

    Anupam Kher as Dharamvir Malhotra, Raj's father: Arguably, Dharamvir Malhotra is the coolest dad on-screen. Cool, loving, caring and most importantly a supportive father, Anupam Kher as Shah Rukh Khan's father was just outstanding. Raj and his pops' best dialogues from the film were "Fail hona aur padhai na karna, ye humare parivaar ki parampara hai", "O Potchi, O Koka, O Bobi, O Lola"

  • 4/24

    At his peak, Anupam Kher was adept at playing villainous as well as comic characters. Be it Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge's happy-go-lucky brat Raj's 'Pops', or Rajjo's foreboding patriarch in 1942: A Love Story, and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai's foot-in-mouth college principal, smitten by Miss Braganza - Anupam Kher's 'old man' has had myriad expressions on screen. Kher is now an acclaimed actor in Hollywood as well. An actor with a repertoire of over 500 movies including international and South Indian projects, Anupam Kher completed around 34 years in the film industry.

  • 5/24

    Farida Jalal as Lajwanti "Lajjo" Singh, Simran's mother: She played the ideal wife of a London-based Indian, a friend to her daughter and that won many hearts! "Jab ladki jawan ho jaati hai na ... toh maa uski maa nahi rehti ... saheli ban jaati hai", "Sapne dekho, zaroor dekho ... bus unke poore hone ki shart mat rakho" were some of the iconic dialogues by Farida Jalal in the film.

  • 6/24

    In her almost 50-year-long career, the seasoned actress has acted in over 110 films. Her last known role on the big screen was in 'Jawaani Jaaneman' (2020). Farida Jalal has also acted in famous television shows such as Shararat, Balika Vadhu, Ammaji Ki Galli. She has also acted in shows such as Love Shots, Mehram and Parchhayee, which released digitally.

  • 7/24

    Satish Shah as Ajit Singh, Baldev's friend in India: Baldev's childhood friend Ajit, whose son Kuljeet was set to marry Simran, was a very jolly person and that was loved by the DDLJ lovers. One of the scenes in the film, where Satish Shah is playing chess with Amrish Puri and Shah Rukh Khan comes in and helps the latter with a winning move, has a dialogue by Shah that goes - 'You are not only genius but indigenous.' Well, did you know this was improvised by Shah himself?

  • 8/24

    Before DDLJ, Satish Shah, who played a pivotal role in the serial Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi on TV, had become a household name with his famous dialogue, "Mera thirty years ka experience hai!" The actor, in real life, has now almost 40 years of experience in the film industry. He is one of the few actors who balanced comedy on both the big screen as well as the small, without getting typecast. His last screen appearance was the second season of the hit comedy show "Sarabhai vs Sarabhai", which premiered in 2017.

  • 9/24

    Shah Rukh Khan as Raj Malhotra: Well, what can we say about Raj? It wouldn't be wrong to say that the cool, flamboyant, NRI but desi-at-heart Raj Malhotra just won everyone's hearts globally. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) is 25 years old today - October 20, 2020, and Raj, even today, makes women weak in the knees. Agreed?

  • 10/24

    Before DDLJ, Shah Rukh Khan had made a name for his films such as 'Darr', 'Baazigar' and 'Anjaam' -- films in which he portrayed negative characters. However, DDLJ helped him cement his place and brought SRK fame in a way that he (as admitted by the star) didn't think it would. Shah Rukh Khan is one of the most successful stars of Bollywood, currently.

  • 11/24

    Kajol as Simran Singh: Dad's favourite, mom's friend and Raj's 'Senorita', the 'sanskaari' Simran was traditional yet modern in her outlook and was hugely relatable to people. Her 'old-fashioned but cool' nature was perhaps loved by the audience.

  • 12/24

    DDLJ established Kajol as an A-list actor. Kajol was last seen in 2020's blockbuster hit Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, opposite her husband actor Ajay Devgn. Her short film Devi also became one of the most-talked-about short films of the year. The 46-year-old star will soon make her digital debut in Tribhanga, directed by Renuka Shahane.

  • 13/24

    Pooja Ruparel as Rajeshwari "Chutki" Singh, Simran's sister: Simran's 'annoying' little sister, Mom's 'laadli', and as a school kid being too smart for her age, Chutki was one of the most iconic characters in the film.

  • 14/24

    Apart from DDLJ, she was also seen in King Uncle (1993). Over the years, Pooja did modelling assignments as well as theatre. She has also done her MA in Psychology. Did you know Pooja Ruparel's mother Sunita and Sonakshi Sinha's mother Poonam are sisters? Pooja's sister Bhavna Ruparel is also an actress. She was seen in Anil Kapoor's desi version of the international series 24. Pooja is now busy with her stand-up comedy shows.

  • 15/24

    Karan Johar as Raj's friend Rocky: KJo made his Bollywood debut as an assistant director and as a supporting character in DDLJ. Rocky's hilarious 'Tapli' moments from Raj, who has mostly called 'Idiot', were one of the funniest parts in the film.

  • 16/24

    What can we say about Karan Johar, now? Besides taking over the reins of film production house Dharma Productions, he has directed hit movies such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, My Name Is Khan, Student of the Year. He made his debut as an actor in Bombay Velvet. He also turned host with Koffee With Karan, which is one of the most-talked-about shows on tlevision and the Netflix show 'What The Love'. He was also seen as a judge on reality shows such as Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, India's Got Talent and India's Next Superstars.

  • 17/24

    Mandira Bedi as Preeti Singh, Ajit's daughter: Though Raj and Simran's love story took the centre stage, we must admit, Preeti's (Mandira Bedi) role also got noticed. Her coy sister of the groom act gained a lot of ­popularity, and not to forget, her subtle attempts to flirt with Raj. We all felt bad for Preeti in the end! Didn't we?

  • 18/24

    Mandira Bedi has altogether a different league of fan following. Over recent years, Mandira Bedi has been giving major fitness goals to netizens, all thanks to her super-fit lifestyle. One look at her Instagram pictures and you won't believe she's 48!

  • 19/24

    Parmeet Sethi as Kuljeet Singh, Ajit's son: Badass Punjab-da-puttar, Kuljeet Singh, who was set to marry Simran, was so good on-screen, that the audience loved to hate him! The role was initially offered to Armaan Kohli, however, Parmeet's audition turned the tables completely and the rest is history!

  • 20/24

    After DDLJ, Parmeet Sethi went on to act in films such as Diljale, Hero Hindustani, Dhadkan, Om Jai Jagdish, Lakshya, Dil Dhadakne Do, Rustom, Laila Majnu, among others. He also made his directorial debut with YRF's Badmaash Company, starring Shahid Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. His latest work includes - Disney+ Hotstar's Special Ops and Hundred.

  • 21/24

    Himani Shivpuri as Kammo Kaur, Simran's aunt: The 'abhi toh main jawaan hun' Kammo bua, in a short screen time, gave some iconic scenes such as the romantic angle between Raj's father and her, and the sari selection scene where Raj (SRK) helps her out!

  • 22/24

    Seasoned actress Himani Shivpuri, who started her career in showbiz with the TV show Humrahi over 25 years ago, has featured in several shows like Hasratein and Ghar Ek Sapna and movies like Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Pardes. But it was her role of Rifat Bii in Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which made her quite popular among the 1990s kids. She is now seen in Astitva... Ek Prem Kahani as Radha Ji.

  • 23/24

    Anaita Shroff Adajania as Sheena, Simran's friend: The oh-so-hot friend of Simran, Sheena, with whom Raj flirts at their Europe trip too had a small but noticeable role in the film. It was Anaita Shroff's acting debut.

  • 24/24

    She is now an acclaimed stylist and fashion director for Vogue India.

First Published: 20 October, 2020 09:43 IST

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