The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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When Raj met Simran, 500 weeks & after

Calcutta, May 12: Zaheer and his girlfriend have been watching the Sunday matinee show of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theatre every week for several months now. But the man they go to watch, in the Harley Davidson jacket and Ray Ban shades, has watched the film only three times.

Shah Rukh Khan may not be “so self-indulgent” and may “feel shy” seeing himself on screen so many times, but the Aditya Chopra blockbuster, better known as DDLJ, is set to complete 500 weeks at the theatre near Mumbai Central station.

In fact, Maratha Mandir may soon host Guinness Book of Records officials, who will come to check out the theatre’s credentials of housing the longest running film ever.

“It’s quite incredible,” Praveen Rane, manager of Maratha Mandir, told The Telegraph on the eve of DDLJ turning 500.

“From October 20, 1995 till this day, the film has been playing at our matinee shows. And it still runs house full over the weekends and registers 60 to 70 per cent occupancy on weekdays. All this while we have never felt the need to replace DDLJ with a new release.”

One of the reasons for the film’s phenomenal run at the theatre is the pricing of the tickets, feels Rane. “It is much lower than other single-screen theatres and multiplexes ' stall Rs 16, dress circle Rs 18 and balcony Rs 20,” he added. “And the way it’s going, I see no reason why it shouldn’t run for another 50 or 100 weeks.”

Raj (Shah Rukh) and Simran (Kajol) want the film to run for another 500 weeks, so that they can “celebrate the next landmark with their kids”.

At a special photo-shoot in Mumbai, Bollywood’s best on-screen jodi shared some fond memories of the DDLJ shooting. “I remember Kajol was all smiles and tears while listening to the script but I didn’t react at all, making Adi (Aditya) think I may not do the film,” recalled Shah Rukh, now a father of two.

While a sequel is not exactly on the cards, the two do plan to come together on-screen for another film.

“We always want her but she invariably ditches us at the last moment,” said King Khan forcing Kajol ' now married to Ajay Devgan and a mother of one ' to retort: “Once my baby is a little older, I’ll definitely do another film with Shah Rukh.”

To celebrate the 500-week run of DDLJ, Yash Raj Films has re-released the film across the country, for the first time in multiplexes, including 89 Cinemas and INOX in Calcutta.

Kicking up a racket as lucky draw prizes are the cowbells Raj and Simran bought in Switzerland, which reappeared in the mustard fields of Punjab before they broke into Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam.

“We have already got a healthy advance booking which is as good as any new release,” said Prashant Sachdeva, general manager of 89 Cinemas at Swabhumi. “We have programmed the show at 1.45 pm everyday to rope in the school and college crowds.”

That’s what the Chopras want ' a whole new generation to “Come' fall in love” again.

Yash Raj Home Entertainment is also releasing a DDLJ double DVD, with loads of bonus material like deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and the grand premiere.

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