In its 20 years of existence, everything has been said about this movie – and yet, nothing anyone has ever said is enough to do it justice. But if there is something that has come close to putting into words what DDLJ means to many of us, it’s this beautifully cut documentary that the YRF team has just released. In it, everyone from the cast and the crew – I’m talking Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Anupam Kher, Karan Johar, Uday Chopra, Saroj Khan, Farah Khan etc – shares their experience of working on this film. And along the way, they revealed a number of amazing facts and trivia that we just didn’t know about the movie before!
1. Everyone thought Shah Rukh Khan would love the script of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and would agree to do it. However, he initially said no! He liked the script but didn’t want to do a romantic film. He thought he was too old (he entered films at 26) and not “typically” good-looking enough to pull it off. But he eventually accepted the role because of his “faith in Adi and Yashji” and because Yash Chopra told him he’d never be a big star if he didn’t do a romantic film.
2. Shah Rukh thought the character of Raj was a pansy! His exact words (back in 1994) were, “It’s a role of a wimp. I feel like a wimp. I feel like a pansy.”
3. Shah Rukh Khan insisted on a little action/violence in the film, even though Aditya Chopra and Yash Chopra weren’t fans of action sequences. SRK, it seems, used to say that DDLJ was a hit because of the inclusion of bloodshed in the film, however little!
4. After watching the film, Shah Rukh Khan told Yash Chopra that this film is his Deewar – the one that’s going to make him.
5. The film ran into a spot of trouble while shooting the song Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam in Haryana. They apparently had permission from the Panchayat to shoot on that little plot of land, but the local residents didn’t think that was enough and literally asked, “how dare you do this on our land?” Shah Rukh eventually intervened and spoke in his Haryanvi accent, and while all the discussions were happening, they quickly set up the shot.
6. The classic “aao, aao” scene with SRK and Amrish Puri feeding pigeons is apparently completely impromptu.
7. The dance steps with the table cloth in Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane was done in one take – Shah Rukh got it right the first time!
8. Shah Rukh says that before he did the film, he didn’t really think he was like Raj. However, over the course of shooting, he discovered that he was very similar to Raj. His exact words are, “I think 90% of the character of Raj is like me. So ya, if girls think they can’t find Raj, they can always call me.” I’ve died, I think.
9. Kajol was very hesitant about doing Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye because she didn’t like the idea of wearing a towel throughout the whole song. “I was like, Adi, what is this shit? You’re giving me a towel in the whole entire song? What is that crap, I’m not that kind of [actress].” But they assured her they would handle it tastefully, and she was pleased with the end result.
10. Kajol’s iconic white skirt in Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye was cut on set. Manish Malhotra and his team cut it because Adi Chopra thought it was initially too long. It eventually became quite a bit shorter than they expected, but they went with it!
11. Kajol and Shah Rukh had a lot of trouble shooting the scene where they wake up in bed together. According to Kajol, Adi Chopra thought it would be a steamy scene when he wrote it, but, in fact, she and SRK couldn’t stop laughing! They were in splits the entire time and needed several takes to get it right. “The anticipation of this scene makes us laugh,” SRK had said, “It’s the sound of the zip!”
12. Aditya Chopra wrote DDLJ in the span of 3 to 4 weeks. Karan Johar revealed that every day, Adi would discuss the film and its core concept with him and ask for his input – but mostly, he had the film sorted in his head and was able to write it quickly.
13. The team didn’t actually think that they had created something amazing (I know, WTF, right?). Kajol thought the movie was “same old, same old,” and that it was a nice movie without anything new or different about it. Adi Chopra even said back then, “My film is not different. I’m making the most commercial, cliche movie ever made. I’m making the oldest story in the book.” There was even a discussion (in good humor) about how trade journalists would react to his direction, and all he said was, “As long as the taporis clap when the song comes, I’m happy.”
14. Almost everyone on sets – including experienced people like Yash Chopra and Saroj Khan – had ideas about how things should be done, but Aditya Chopra stuck to his guns and executed the film the way he wanted to (for example, he insisted on making Kajol wear a satin sari instead of a chiffon one, much to Yashji’s dismay). Eventually, Sarojji went to the Chopra home and told Adi he was right and she was wrong.
15. Anupam Kher actually asked Aditya Chopra why he gave the bigger role to Amrish Puri, saying he wanted to play it instead. Adi said no (clearly).
16. According to Pamela Chopra, Anupam Kher’s character was actually based on Yashji – she say he was that kind of parent to his boys, preferring to be their friend instead of their dad.
17. DDLJ was Karan Johar’s training ground. “I never went to film school. I never assisted on anything else. My only training ground to becoming a film director was DDLJ.”
18. Anaita Shroff Adajania probably had her first stylist moment on the sets of this film – she wasn’t a stylist back then, but while shooting the swimming pool sequence, she thought that Kajol’s swimsuit needed an extra layer. The only option available was Sarojji‘s dupatta – so they took that and wrapped it around Kajol to complete her look. Oh, and that dupatta ended up tearing! [Read more: 11 things without which DDLJ would be incomplete.]
19. Uday Chopra and Karan Johar cut the making of DDLJ. They were locked in an edit room for days getting this done, and Karan said he felt like they were making their own film. They then got a slot from Doordarshan and aired the making of the film on TV – a first for Indian cinema.
20. Farah Khan only choreographed the song Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane, because she couldn’t go to Europe to be with the team and choreograph the other songs. Why? Her schedule was already booked by Nana Patekar!
Make sure you also watch the documentary (it’s a playlist of three videos), because it’s guaranteed to give you a serious case of nostalgia:
Still not enough? Here are 10 more DDLJ facts!