‘Jaa Simran Jaa’
…and so said Amrish Puri. Well, he may as well have not said it again in the 1000th week of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. The audience in the multiplex where I saw the movie for the umpteenth time pretty much knew that a nod of approval was just round the corner. Even as Shahrukh looked at him with hopes (and tears) in his eyes, audience was already cheering aloud for what would happen next.
That’s the power of DDLJ. That’s the power of Hindi cinema. That’s something that I witnessed all over again almost couple of decades down the line.
And I realized what I, and so many of my generation and the ones before us, have been missing in the current Bollywood scene. In a strategic re-release of the film, Yash Raj tied up with select multiplexes and gave viewers like me a treat to relive the moment all over again and get all nostalgic.
Well, they pretty much succeeded in doing that and one thing that I observed more than just the excellent play of the film was that no one, just about no one checked his or her cell-phone in that three hour long play of the film.
That when every scene had been memorized by one and all. That when every song had been seen hundreds of times in different media format. That when there are dozens of reasons to get distracted from the movie that is playing on screen.
But Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge scored over everything else! There were no annoying ringtones being heard. There was no person sitting next to me with the mobile screen lit up continuously like a flashlight. There were no pesky moments whatsoever. It was the tale of Raj and Simran that took precedence all over again.
That’s the power of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That’s the power of Hindi cinema. That’s something that I witnessed all over again almost couple of decades down the line.
I also came to realize that the magic had also to do with the fact that 20 years back, watching a movie used to be an event in itself, unlike today’s scenario when it is plugged in between shopping for random things that you don’t want and the dinner outing which is still a couple of hours away.
Back then, a movie meant planning for it at least a fortnight in advance, children wrapping up their homework, mummies and papas taking care of household chores by wrapping it up quickly and then most importantly, making sure that the tickets would be available for that 12-3-6-9 movie schedule. When so much of effort was put together to watch a film, there had to be really compelling reasons to get distracted and look at anything else but a movie.
Those three hours in a theater meant that all worries had to be left behind. There was no WhatsApp to be checked at every second minute, there were no urgent emails to be answered and there were no calls to be taken. Oh yes, there was no LIVE tweeting or Facebook posts to be updated after every 15 minutes of the film.
What mattered most was to enjoy a film, and thoroughly so. If it was good, celebrate the moment it was bad, curse your luck. But well, those three hours were solely meant for consumption inside an auditorium. There was no way out.
This is what resulted in the true calling for a film. First half achchatha, second half boring tha – Naah, this wasn’t a common refrain then. Arrey mauka toh do picture ko, kya pata, 20 minutes into the second half, it indeed comes to its own. They usually did, and by the time you were through with the film, there wasn’t really much to complain, unless it was a horrendous affair.
In case of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge though, there wasn’t a first half or a second half syndrome attached to it. A brilliant affair that was as even as it gets, and stays on to be a timeless classic that it is today, what made this Aditya Chopra film so very memorable is the fact that it is relevant even today. That, when there are still distractions galore and ways more than one to fall in, or out of love.
However, when Shahrukh Khan prays and hopes silently in his heart while saying ‘palat’, you cheer along as Kajol indeed turns.
Oh yes, that’s the power of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. That’s the power of Hindi cinema. That’s something that I witnessed all over again almost couple of decades down the line!