According to Yashraj Films, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) directed by Aditya Chopra, which released in 1995, would have raked in Rs 524 crore worldwide in box-office collections today if the film’s earnings were adjusted for inflation.
As DDLJ celebrates 25 years of release, the film’s leading man opens up about how the role of Raj Malhotra was unlike anything he had done before. “Raj was unlike anything I had done. Before DDLJ, there was Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam—films in which I had portrayed negative characters. Also, I always felt that I wasn’t cut out to play any romantic type of character. So, when I was presented with the opportunity by Adi and Yash ji of essaying the role, I was excited to work with him but had no idea how to go about it and also if I would be able to do it well,” says SRK.
DDLJ was made at a budget of Rs 4 crore and the blockbuster, in 1995, collected 89 crore in India, 13.50 crore in overseas markets. Thus, total collections stood at 102.50 crore worldwide in 1995. The film catapulted Shah Rukh to superstardom.
“Actually, I always felt Adi’s love for me made him cast me. I found the character endearing and sweet in the right way - the over-the-topness is my contribution. It was one of those roles that I realised can do with me using a version of my real self so you might see some quirks, habits and mannerisms that were true to my off-screen persona, especially the sense of humour part.”Shah Rukh Khan
Besides being a massive hit, DDLJ also became the longest-running Hindi film of all time. The romantic drama won 10 Filmfare Awards across categories.
Not many know that SRK was actually doubtful of whether he would be able to pull off playing Raj and doing the romantic scenes with Kajol in the film. “I was told by many people that I looked unconventional - very different from what the perception of a leading man was. I did feel, maybe, not being handsome enough — or as they called it then ‘chocolaty’ would make me unsuitable for romantic roles. Also, I am very shy and awkward with ladies, and I didn’t know how I would say all the loving, romantic bits,” reveals Shah Rukh Khan.
“I have to admit, for someone who doesn’t like mushy, romantic films, the scenes with Kajol and I did make me feel all fuzzy and warm. There, I said it!” He also reveals, “I don’t change the radio channel when a DDLJ song comes on. I can never get sick of them. They bring back memories of a film that shaped my path forward in an unforgettable way.”Shah Rukh Khan
The ending scene of DDLJ which has become iconic and has inspired various spin-offs in Bollywood, wasn’t expected to become as popular while the team was shooting it. “There could have been no other ending, but I did not think it would be as iconic as it eventually turned out to be,” says SRK, talking about the climax.
Speaking about how DDLJ played a major role in establishing him as a superstar, SRK says, “I think DDLJ helped me cement my place and brought me fame in a way that I didn’t think it would. We were all living in the moment, trying to make the best film we could. There are so many reasons attributed to its success, but I don’t think any one specific thing can explain the phenomenon it has become. I think all the success is to be credited to the pure heart with which the film was made by Adi, Yashji, and the entire cast and crew—and my non-existent ‘good looks’.”
He adds, “As for perception, I always felt that I can play more unconventional roles because of my looks, but DDLJ has belied that and I still struggle to make that one macho unconventional kick ass character which suits me, or so I thought, but its been a struggle to not be considered romantic and sweet for the last 25 years — a struggle, I guess, I am happy to lose.”