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1000 Weeks of DDLJ: 5 New Versions

Raj, Simran and Kuljeet are back!

From Ganglands of Punjab to Dilwaalon ki Dosti, our favourite rom-com, reinvented

What makes me look worse – the fact that I liked DDLJ when it first came to our theatres, or the fact that I can’t stand it now?

When Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge released in 1995, I was <indeterminate early teenage years >, half in love with Shah Rukh Khan and had never seen Europe; and all of these factors added to the way I consumed the film (hungrily, with dramatic sighs and way too much chocolate).

Today I am <somewhere more than twenty five, less than forty>, a NRI myself, and think Shah Rukh Khan has vampire abs. But while these are some of the reasons that I cannot abide with the sudden spurt of nostalgia for the film, a greater reason perhaps is the two decades that have passed in between.

For better and for worse, our Cinema has evolved. DDLJ (and we will give it that), was the first film of its kind – a pre-Modi signifier of the Modi-era – with its equal emphasis on desi values and NRI lucre. It had a lead pair that seemed genuinely fond of each other as friends and equals (something that is all-too-rare) and it struck the zeitgeist of an India that wanted to be modern but still thoroughly rooted at the right time. A 1000 weeks later, we can’t help wonder how one can repackage that formula, and whether it is even necessary to do so.

What happens to DDLJ if one of the current oeuvre of directors makes it? Will it remain as saccharine sweet? Will its strange misogyny disappear? Will our favourite part – the sarson ke khet -survive? And can anyone else play Amrish Puri now that Amrish Puri is no more?

Let’s find out!

Anurag Kashyap

Best Known for: Gangs of Wasseypur, Black Friday

His Greatest Gift: Finding amazing new actors, and a certain raw indie energy, often compensating for a weak script.

And Ganglands of Punjab will:

Focus on Kuljeet, that poor Punjabi boy with a fondness for cheap local beer and local kudis who has been promised in marriage to London ki Simran. But what does Kuljeet want? Does he want to become head honcho of that small Punjabi village or does he just want to watch old Amitabh Bachchan movies all day? And what happens when a superior small gang from London, headed by Raj, tries to invade his turf? Does Kuljeet fight back or does he choose instead to trade his turfdom for foreign Stroh’s beer?

Vijay Krishna Acharya

Best Known for: Tashan, Dhoom 3

His Greatest Gift: Razzmatazz, special effects, big bangs, big budgets , big babes

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge 2 Will Have:

About 100 times as many explosions for a start! Simran may be conservative at heart, but this deep rooted patriotism will best be reflected in her Shakti-inspired swim suit. The trip in Eurail will be re-filmed in South America- the better to show off that Victoria’s Secret wardrobe. And at least once in the movie, Raj will be involved in a daring rescue on top of the train cars – shot in quick cuts and crazy camera angles with pulsating music.

Raj and DK

Best Known for: Shor In The City, Happy Ending, Go Goa Gone

Their Greatest Gift : An irreverent urban humour, tight scripts

In their slacker masterpiece Dilwale and All That :

Raj and Simran will meet in a train, immediately strike a chord like in the original, and work out the details of a heist in Punjab. But man-child Raj will never make it to Punjab, stuck as he is in front of his Television with endless boxes of pizza and a schlubby best friend with whom he exchanges pop cultural jokes. Responsible Simran will wait for him, carrying on the pretence of marrying Kuljeet, but ultimately give up, knee Kuljeet in the nethers and establish her own successful business selling overpriced paintings of the khets to NRIs.

The Akhtar Siblings

Best Known for: Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Their Greatest Gift: Nothing happens but you love the film when you see it , everything is beautiful, rich-people problems, soulful poetry

In their first co-direction Dilwaalon ki Dosti:

Obviously Farhan Akhtar stars. Raj, Simran and Kuljeet are childhood friends, each nursing a terrible grown up secret. Simran has an emotionally abusive father, Kuljeet has a drinking problem and Raj has a terrible hairstyle. The three spend a magical summer together on the Eurail during the course of which Simran learns to stand up to her father, Kuljeet exchanges beer for chai, and Raj finally gets a haircut.  The last scene of the movie shows the three friends’ silhouette as they scale the Jungfrau together all night and pump their hands up in the air in excitement.

Sajid Khan

Best Known for: Housefull 1 and 2 , being an overall blowhard

His Greatest Gift: Gross-out humour, Chunky Pandey, obscure B-movie references

In his hilarious D-d-d-d-ilwale:

There are three Rajs!!!! One in London, one in Punjab, and one who is a ghost stuck in the train. They all love Simran. But Simran loves Chunky Pandey, who himself is the twin of another Chunky Pandey, who- in a blatant disregard of good taste – is in black-face. Shenanigans ensue! A couple of wild animals are harmed. No one laughs except for our venerable director.

Got a version of DDLJ that we missed? Tell us in the comments below, or share your recommendations on Facebook or Twitter, and we promise to publish the funniest on MBRB. And keep returning as we look at some of the year’s most memorable moments in the world of books, pop culture, travel and more.

Image courtesy: Box Office 18


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