DDLJ is probably one of those movies that stand out in Indian cinematic values of contemporary romance. After all these years, the songs, their picturization, the dialogues – still generate an ‘awe’ factor in some part of my heart, and so I believe to be the case with many others I know.
The protagonists Raj, a charming young NRI from London that comes from a rich family but has a heart of gold, and Simran, the sweet elder daughter of a conservative NRI, mart-store owner belonging to middle class, rooted with values that they brought from India – are familiar figures, seventeen years after it first was screened. It was significant, not only because of its success – but also because it drives a psychological viewpoint of every average young viewer that comes across it. Today, it was coming on set max for the nth number of time and I could not help but think of the core thought process that the plot carries. The script, that is epic in a way – that I had heard – young girls speaking even today that their dream boy should be like “Raj”. So who was this Raj? Who was Simran? Why don’t we see pairs like them – on a common occurrence? Can they exist? I will tell you why not.
Raj comes directly out of fiction books, the one that you can rightly label as ‘prince charming’. He is un-real and larger than life. He at the start of movie is shown as a lone failure in class. Now doing such an act might get you thrown out of your home after a series of slaps from father, but unlike that – he receives a free father-paid holiday trip to Europe, which is where he meets our Simran. Given the kind of cool environment that he gets at home (a place where 8 Ferrari’s stand in the outer lobby), he is obviously closer to the funnier face of life. He jokes and makes people smile around him. He is not serious about 9 out of 10 things in a conversation and has humor right on top his list. He is not arrogant (most rich people are). Have mediocre friends, who all love him for what he is. He is like that kid in your class, who was loved by all boys and girls on a generalized basis. He is so wide in his scope, that as a character I cannot help but point out the various contradictions he carries. He had dated many girls in past and talks about it to Simran on that historic car journey that they have (u must be knowing which). He drinks quite frequently and flirts like a pro. He falls in love and ah! Like no other. He meets Simran and before she realizes it, he knows that she is the one for him.
They play the boy girl game, the game that starts with friendship and ultimately ends on bed. No! From here, the scope of his character starts widening.
The game here ends in love.
His first serious impression on Simran’s mind happens – when she gets drunk and finds herself wearing Raj’s shirt on the morning bed. He first jokes to her, that they had sex the other night (prankster he is – the cute kind, not the one you want to slit to death, like my PG cook who pranks about making aloo gobhi everyday and makes that joke come true 11 out of 10 times). When Simran starts crying on his joke – he lectures her, about what she considers him to be and what he actually is. He speaks about the importance of virginity of an Indian girl. (Note – he had a girl friend from Spain in the past - would that mean, he was a different Raj to her? I wonder). Simran was told good things that lie in her character and how he respects all those things and understands them. Like all other girls of the world, she likes hearing those good things about her and develops a soft corner for him. He continues to make her smile for the rest of the trip and in spite of knowing that she is destined to wed someone later that year in an arranged fashion, she couldn’t help but fall in love with him too.
Now, while most Raj’s irrespective of how special that chapter half ends, would be happy to accept fate and move on, with a smiling memory of this trip – our Raj decides to change future altogether. He flies to Punjab, to chase Simran and when they meet eventually, Simran offers him to take her away from her family. Raj has never been in a joint family, he as a matter of fact is a mother-less child, brought up solely by a millionaire father and spoiled on all other fronts, yet he talks of values. He talks of how he would not like to break 15 other hearts for two to join. He decides to win over two families – the family of Simran and that of the boy she was to wed. He miraculously succeeds in doing so, by acting like an ideal son, the ideal brother, the ideal friend, the ideal guest and everything other too as ideal. This happens to an extent that her father, who by the way is rigid with a capital ‘R’ otherwise, melts and tells Simran that no other boy can keep her as happy as this boy can. Aww… while this brings tear in the end to audiences, it also develops image of a boy in the mind of girls – the probably can’t exist.
While many girls, even in a place like Delhi, want their Raj, I don’t see them self questioning about the Simran in them. What is also an important point here – is that unlike, million other relationships (quoting their status from facebook), the relationship of Raj and Simran was not “complicated”. It was simple. They liked each other and decide to get marry. (He could actually, because – you remember his home, and of how it looked like a palace and nothing else, how many more things were left in his ‘list-to-do-before-dying’, apart from getting married to the girl of his dreams).
It is a known fact that guys categorize girls, and while they label every walking creature with boobs and kajal eyes as “worth dating”, they also label some as “marriage material”- The Simrans. She was sweet. She was a beautiful daughter who on the trip talks about her home and her bond with parents, how she loves them and is ready to accept their decisions. Deep within, Raj too must have visualized her as a smart home maker, a well informed, value based wife. Someone who just as she love and respects her elders, would love his father and him too. She would not tell him to abandon his father in old age when he would cough the whole day. She would take care of the kids, would make sure that they are raised with values, leading them to become responsible and law abiding adults someday. This is all about visualizations of what she would be.
Apart from that, I don’t think in the scope of the story – she had done anything heroic to make their love reach a happy ending. Everything is done by Raj. She just demands ( “main paani ka pehla ghoont aur khaane ka pehla niwala, karwachauth k din, tumhare hi haanth se lungi, warna bhooki mar jaungi”). I mean come on! Is it not enough, what all he is trying to do already for you, seven seas away, leaving probable blond girls friends – that now you want him to sing songs and make you break traditional post-marriage fasts in front of your whole family (not to mention – keeping them himself too).
The story tells about the role of a girl and boy, in a love saga. The boy has to do everything and the girl has to simply wait for a boy who can do all that. Breaking news! Those boys, they don’t exist. Yes, while most of them are dogs in general, some of them – do have a heart like Raj too but just the heart. They are nonfiction so they have their limitations too. They can’t have wideness of character, as he does ( the one who plays guitar to win the daughter and feeds birds in the morning to win the dad, not to mention, the one who can turn the game of chess by a single move, and can sing like Udit narayan and look like Shahrukh Khan).
Ok. Let’s believe for a moment, that there is a Raj out there. He would probably meet you too some day. Why will he show his side to you, the one that he revealed to Simran and not to her friends or any other girl that he had met in the past? Do you think, he would have done the same if he would have met Simran on top of a table in a bar, dancing to Honey Singh’s dope shope with a shot of Vodka in her hand? Yes, he would have approached her, probably made her laugh a little too – but their love story would have ended that very night, after condoms would be flushed in drain and lime water would be given to remove hangover to the previous night. So everyone out there, who thinks Rajs don’t exist. They may be as a fraction of it right out there. They have his heart but the coolness/humor that he had on top of it, is probably something that the flirts, ditchers, liars you had met would have more often. Point is the probability of getting a boy with intentions and heart like him is more when you act or appear like Simran did. He stretched himself, the scope of his understanding of love – solely because he found a girl – that stood for pureness and rarity in a world, where not all are like that now anymore. He valued that fact and changed himself too (off course his success in the end was an act of film writing but then again, it is the effort to go that extra mile for a girl, that I am talking about – not the consequences of it).
Raj is from the 90s and so is Simran. We are changing as a society in terms of the way we think and act. However, there is a simplicity about their love and the more you think about it, the more you would realize why it no longer exists or rather is possible for average individuals to be like them. It might not be the most accurate sense of cinema that my nation’s filmmakers had made, technically but I like that movie and find myself singing its tunes every now and then even today. Bade bade shehron mein, aise choti choti baatein, hoti rehti hain.