To Mark 25 Years Of DDLJ, A Statue Of Shah Rukh Khan And Kajol Will Be Unveiled In London’s Leicester Square!
As a long-time member of the ‘I love celluloid romances’ club, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge is sacrosanct for me. I cannot explain why, unlike most other Bollywood romance capers of the 90s, this one doesn’t irk me with its stereotypes. Just last week, I pretty much annihilated another SRK-Kajol starrer, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, on its 22nd anniversary. Surely, DDLJ has its flaws too. But there’s just something about Raj and Simran’s love story that makes you want to believe in that fantasy! Directed by Aditya Chopra, produced by Yash Chopra’s YRF, the 1995 film starred Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as leads. And this year, on October 20, it completes 25 years since its release! And to mark this occasion, London is getting a statue immortalising the love of Raj and Simran!
Heart of London Business Alliance has announced that a bronze statue of the Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan will be unveiled in London’s Leicester Square. It will be a part of the ‘Scenes in the Square’ movie trail, which includes long-term art installation features of highly recognisable classic and contemporary film characters. Currently, one can find installations of characters like Bugs Bunny, Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, the classic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, Gene Kelly from Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Paddington Bear, Mr. Bean, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Some of the bronze statues are wonderfully lit come nightfall. Visitors can use an online map that helps them know more about the stories behind the statues as they stroll through the trail.
Now, ff you’re a DLLJ lover like me (and the rest of India), you know that London is quite central to the film (after Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir, of course!). SRK and Kajol’s characters, Raj and Simran, are both residents of London. London is also where the iconic trains station scene happens, where Raj and Simran separate after spending a month together. Little do they know, in the next few moments, they’ll be realising “Ho gaya hai tujhko toh pyaar sajnaa!”
Not just Raj and Simran though, the late Amrish Puri’s Baldev Singh also has a special connection to the city. Baldev Singh has a morning ritual of feeding pigeons by calling them out with “Aaao!” at Trafalgar Square. In fact, even before Raj meets Simran, he has an encounter with Baldev Singh, who owns a store in the city. Baldev refuses to sell beer to Raj after his store is closed, and Raj ignores him by picking up a case and leaving money at the counter. This insolence makes Singh detest Raj, and makes it a tad harder for Raj to impress Simran’s Bauji when he lands in Punjab to win her family over. Luckily, feeding those kabootars helps!
DDLJ isn’t just a love story that Indian lovers swear by. Along with its cult status with the masses, the movie has also garnered enough records to make it one of the most successful movies of Indian cinema. It was the highest grossing film in its year of release, and won 10 Filmfare Awards! The film was shot extensively in London and Switzerland, which brought in a lot of tourism from India to these places. Switzerland and London actually have DDLJ tours even now!
And looks like this statue of Raj and Simran is going to be the latest addition for the London tours! I bet Raj would love this. To quote him, “Hey señorita, bade bade deshon mein aisi badi badi baatein toh hoti rehti hain!”