Article Hindi

25 years of DDLJ: Anand Bakshi had predicted the film's phenomenal run, recalls Jatin Pandit


Pandit, one half of the music composer duo Jatin-Lalit, shares some memories and anecdotes from the making of Aditya Chopra's directorial debut.

Keyur Seta

Some films have their own place in history. Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) is one such in Indian cinema. The romance, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, continues to touch people’s hearts even 25 years after its release.

DDLJ, as the film is fondly called, added to the stardom of Khan and Kajol for sure. But it also changed the careers of the film’s music composer duo Jatin-Lalit. The film's songs, especially the track ‘Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jana Sanam’, played a major role in the film’s success.

As the film completes 25 years (it was released on 20 October 1995), composer Jatin Pandit recalls what the film did for his and Lalit Pandit's careers.

“We had already given hit music in films like Yaara Dildara (1991), Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992), Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), etc, but people weren’t taking us seriously,” Jatin recalled. “People used to think these two are simple people who are doing good work. But we weren’t considered part of the big league.

“But after we did DDLJ and its music became a roaring success, it brought a difference to our price and people started thinking these two are capable. This film changed our lives. It showed us how success can change your life.”

Jatin believes the film's music is an all-time classic. “There are few films like Guide (1965) and Teesri Manzil (1966) whose music has become immortal. The music of DDLJ went to that level. It will be remembered till the end of time. It doesn’t have a single minus song out in its seven,” he said.

Asked what he feels when he sees the film's music still being appreciated, Jatin Pandit responded, “I feel my life hasn’t been a waste.”

Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Amrish Puri

Also featuring Amrish Puri, Farida Jalal, Anupam Kher, Pooja Ruparel, Mandira Bedi, Satish Shah and Parmeet Sethi, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge revolved around Raj (Khan) and Simran (Kajol), from the UK, who meet accidentally during a European vacation and fall in love. However, Simran's father Baldev Singh (Puri) has already fixed her marriage with his friend's son Kuljeet (Sethi) back in India. How Raj and Simran unite in the end after tackling the various obstacles in their path forms the rest of the story.

Both Jatin and Lalit were astounded by writer-director Aditya Chopra’s preparation. They never felt this was a first-time filmmaker. “Just to be on a par with his preparation, we ended up giving such good music," Jatin said. "He was so well prepared with the script, locations, casting, dialogue, nuances, parameters of all the departments. He has contributed a lot to the music too. He knew exactly what he wanted.”

The signature tune from ‘Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jana Sanam’ plays at various moments in the film before the song itself arrives. Jatin said this was Chopra’s idea. “He had thought of including a tune throughout the film so that it becomes a signature tune. So when the song [based on that tune] finally arrives, the audience feels elevated instantly because the tune is already there in their subconscious mind,” he explained.

DDLJ has had a non-stop run at Mumbai’s iconic Maratha Mandir theatre since the day it was released (though, of course, it has been stopped temporarily because theatres were shut down this year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic), which is a record in itself. Jatin, however, said the film’s lyricist, the late Anand Bakshi, had predicted this while working on the project.

“He told us that if the film is made exactly as Aditya Chopra has narrated, it won’t be removed from theatres ever. These were his exact words. Can you believe it? What judgement he had! This is exactly what has happened. We have seen film complete 25 weeks. We can somehow expect a film to run for 25 months. But 25 years? My son was born two years after the film was released and today he is 23 and the film is still running,” the music director said, laughing.

Jatin and Lalit Pandit have visited Maratha Mandir quite a few times to enjoy the experience. “There are people who have seen the film 50 times," the former said. "They know exactly what happens next. They enjoy a lot. The executive director of Maratha Mandir, Manoj Desai, told us interesting stories in the interval about the film’s run. He said people still come in large numbers to see it, so how can I pull it down? It is an experience to see the film with the crowd on Saturdays.”

Jatin and Lalit Pandit had also attended the special screening of DDLJ on its 10th anniversary. At that time, they had a conversation about the film with Aditya Chopra. “We spoke a lot about the film. He told me, ‘I just want to get over this film. But the audience is not letting the film leave the theatres.’ Aditya Chopra has made a film whose crown will always be on his head,” said Jatin.

Update: In the previous version of the article, Manoj Desai was mistakenly addressed as the owner of Maratha Mandir theatre. The error is rectified now and he is addressed as the executive director of the theatre. 

Jatin and Lalit Pandit

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Indian cinema