Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge PosterThree women, three kisses, three heartbreaks, a couple of apologies that’s Bachna Ae Haseeno (BAH). But this post isn’t about BAH it’s about Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (DDLJ) (English title: Braveheart Will Win the Bride), that super-duper hit, a film that BAH pretends to be an extension of (parasite would be more appropriate).

People tend to boast of the number of times they have watched a particular movie, usually Sholay tops such a list, but DDLJ too is a worthy competition. I have actually lost count for both the films, though Maahi’s (Minnisha Lamna) count was 17.

The other day, a friend from Bangalore called up to enquire which year we passed the secondary school exams (he was at an interview and was filling up those unending HR forms). “Abbey 1995. DDLJ release hua tha na us year,” I replied. For my generation it perhaps released at the perfect time. It has become a sort of a landmark.

I still remember the first show, three of us schoolmates – two boys and a girl – bunking school and sitting in the second class seats of Shillong’s Payal Cinema (the tickets for the cheapest seats cost us Rs 40 each in black. The actual price back then was Rs 1.65). The release then was a rarity for Shillong – a film hitting the city’s screens on the same day as the rest of the country. We usually had to wait for a few months, by then half the city would have already watched it on video tapes. Huge posters of Kajol and Shah Rukh were plastered all over. “Come fall in love,” they said. When the film ended I told the female friend that I’ll come back for more.

Come back I did. As the shows went by I didn’t need to purchase tickets in black anymore and could enjoy the luxuries of the balcony (Rs 5.10) or the Dress Circle/Payal Circle (Rs 6.10). During the winter vacations twice or thrice a week I ventured out alone to Payal Cinema and watched Raj romance Simran and win over everyone on and off the screen.

The Raj bug hit many of us hard. A friend actually turned into a SRK in DDLJ clone and thereby earned the affections of many a female. Even today, whenever I happen to come across the film on TV, I give the remote a little rest for a while.

Aditya Chopra had indeed made a brilliant film, something that cannot be replicated. The story, the music, the performances – all had an endearing charm about it. From snowy Switzerland to mustard yellow Punjab the trip has us in a trip. The Rajs of the world looked for their Simrans and vice versa.

DDLJ also introduced me to another thing Stross beer (in film advertising works). It was the first beer that I tasted and I had made a pen stand out of that very first beer can. I think I still have that somewhere.

Though I didn’t go out shopping for the leather jacket and the cap or joined mandolin classes, I did look for those little lockets that SRK wore, without success.

Another thing that I happened to notice, DDLJ perhaps began the trend of movies deriving their titles from popular songs. Nowadays every other movie does so.

In the usual post-movie alternative endings discussions, one question was common – what if Raj was unable to reach out to Simran and pull her on the train? What if?

Nothing much. His Pops would have pulled the chain.

While the dilwale took away the dulhaniya we all sat and fell in love.