The legend keeps getting bigger and bigger
The heartwarming story of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) keeps getting better and better. On Friday the 13th of April, it entered its 600th week of continuous run in the theatres. In a feat perhaps unmatched anywhere in the world, the magic of the evergreen romance keeps pulling audiences back to the central Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai.
Looked upon as an anachronism before release, the movie delighted audiences who fell in love with the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol pairing, the fresh storyline and the lilting music. Silencing the skeptics in the industry, the movie opened to packed houses and rave reviews way back on 20th October 1995. It was also the first Indian movie that was received equally ecstatically by NRI as well as resident Indian audiences. Clearly, the passage of more than 11 years since release has done nothing to dim the affection that these audiences felt for the movie when it first released. DDLJ remains the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema, as it passes one milestone after another, and is presently running in its 12th year.
DDLJ was director Aditya Chopra’s first film, at the young age of 23, and his sure touch with the material heralded the arrival of a unique voice in Indian cinema – one who could sense the pulse of the youth, yet anchor them to their traditions and culture. DDLJ went on to become one of the largest grossers in Indian film history and also garnered critical acclaim from all quarters. The film swept that year’s Filmfare Awards, picking up every single award of consequence, not to mention enduring love from the audiences.
In 2001, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ broke the continuous-exhibition record, established by the movie ‘Sholay’ at Minerva Theatre (5 years: 1975 – 1980). As it hits the 600th week and keeps on running, the only question on everyone’s lips is: just how long can the magic of DDLJ endure? If the last 600 weeks are any indication, it seems the only answer to that question is, “Forever!”.