A dull February afternoon before the TV suddenly perked up when the remote clicked to a stop on Amrish Puri walking down Trafalgar Square. That’s the opening scene of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, the Bible of Bollywood romance, the repository of all things young and beautiful and a jolly good watch. Or so we thought. DDLJ — which we’ve all seen umpteen number of times since its release in 1995 — turned out to be INSUFFERABLE. Aditya Chopra’s “iconic” movie may have completed 900 weeks at a Mumbai theatre recently but the Raj-Simran saga does not age well. Here’s why:
We see: Raj is supposed to be every girl’s dream man. And what does our “dream man” do? Flunks his exams, steals beer, flirts with anything that’s ever worn a skirt and annoys the living daylights out of everyone — and that has a lot to do with Shah Rukh Khan’s overacting!
We say: Dear Adi, if that’s what you think women want, you have a rather poor opinion of Indian girls. And once we’ve seen SRK as Mohan Bhargav (Swades) and Kabir Khan (Chak De! India), his Raj just doesn’t make the cool cut.
We see: While her “andekha-anjaana” hero is playing football or flooring “senoritas” (remember, Raj’s first girlfriend was Spanish), what is our heroine, Simran, doing? Standing at the window waiting for the wind to blow strands of hair across her face or writing cheesy poems that she can read out to her mom. You can almost hear the winds whispering “virtuous virgin” as she prances in her room or her backyard. That’s her “Lakshman rekha” and she will not cross it. The only time she’s any fun is the Zara sa jhoom loon main song, but she needed half a bottle of cognac to get her going! And that “kal raat ko kya hua tha” rant… how did we ever find that sweet or funny?!
We say: So, a good Indian girl doesn’t drink or date? And if by chance she ends up getting some action between the sheets before marriage, she should “do something to herself?!”Aargh.
We see: That permission scene when Simran asks dad Amrish Puri if she can go to Europe with her friends. Wake up girl, your dad has fixed you up with a guy you’ve NEVER seen, in a country you don’t remember and all you can say is: “Main iss ek mahine mein apni poori zindagi jee loongi. Kya aap meri khushi ke liye meri apni zindagi se mujhe ek mahina nahin de sakte? Please Bhauji, mujhe ek mahina de dijiye. Please.”
We say: What a cow! No wonder the Raj-Simran symbol of love is a cowbell!
We see: The proposal — or not — on the bridge. Raj, the gutsy guy who can take on the world for his love, turns out to be such a wimp when he professes his love for Simran.
We say: Grow a pair, man. If you love her, say it to her face. And don’t hide behind the “just joking” shield.
We see: Too many white bras. The film comes down to cheap thrills when the only thing that’s misplaced from Simran’s suitcase in the train “dibba” is a white bra that Raj dutifully finds and brandishes, evidently to embarrass and tease the unknown girl. The bra again comes between Raj and Simran when he tears off her dress by mistake.
We say: If you had to show lingerie, why not something classy? You went to London and Switzerland to shoot man, would it have been such a big bother to shop at Ann Summers?
We see: Miss. Rajeshwari. Singh. Slap. Slap. Slap. That’s what the paka 12-year-old deserves. Was Simran’s sister supposed to be cute? Or nerdy? Or funny? What about Mandira Bedi as Preeti, Kuljeet’s sister… if she bowed her head any lower, her medulla oblongata would snap!
We say: Give us the sweet-spunky sis of Iqbal or the spaced-out bro of Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na any day over this precocious didimoni or the simpering Punjabi kudi.
We see: How many times can one film extol the virtues of holy Hindustan vs venomous videsh?! Tehzeeb, parampara, sarson da saag, mitti di khushboo… the two-and-a-half-hour movie could have been cut right down to size minus all this culture crap.
We say: Yes, all NRIs miss India but who says Indians have more “culture” than foreigners? If you hate it so much abroad dude, just come back to your mustard fields.
We see: “Apna saamaan baandho. Hum kal savere hi India jayenge... hamesha hamesha ke liye,” says Amrish Puri when he finds out that his daughter had the temerity to fall in love.
We say: In which universe is one night enough to sell off a business and a house, settle dues, get air tickets and visas (remember Simran and her sister haven’t been to India, so are most likely British passport-holders) plus gifts for the clan back in Punjab? Get real, huff daddy.
We see: The local train is pulling out of the station. A bloodied Raj is waiting for Simran, against all hope. Suddenly Bhauji lets go of Simran’s wrist and says, “Jaa Simran jaa.” And she runs, how she runs! Can she reach Raj’s outstretched hand in time? Can she run fast enough? She pants, we catch our breath….
We say: But what’s the drama about, really? If she can’t catch up, will that be the end of their love story? Hell, NO! He’ll just step off at the nearest stop and take the next train back.
The real question is, given that one is a college-fail and the other hasn’t put in an honest day’s work ever, when hungry, will love keep them alive? Oh, we forgot. Cool Pop Anupam Kher has a business waiting for his wayward son. Some “youth icons” these!