DDLJ aka Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
Year of release: 1995
Director: Aditya Chopra
Actors: Shahrukh Khan, kajol, Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was one of the highest net grossing films in Bollywood from 1990’s. The film is famous to set a numerous trends. The scenes, locations, songs and dialogues were copied in various films. Even President Obama recited a dialogue from the film during his 2nd visit to India. DDLJ is a landmark romantic film in Bollywood.
Its a love story of Raj Simeran who meet in a Euro-Trip and fall in love for each other. When Simeran’s father gets to know about her affair, he wraps up his house and business in London and heads back to India. There he decides to marry Simeran to his childhood friend’s son Kuljeet. Raj comes to India to take Simeran back but being a hero, he decides to do so with permission of simeran’s family. After a lot family drama and action, Raj gets his bride aka dulhaniya.
The movie showed the NRI culture for the first time, pictured a rebellious love story within the boundaries of Indian culture and traditions. Shot in picturesque locations in Europe, the movie inspired many to travel through the continent.
Trafalgar Square, London
We wall remember how much Amrish Puri loved to feed pigeons in DDLJ. In London, his favourite spot to do so was the Trafalgar Square situated in the heart of the city. The film’s opening scene was shot here. To avoid the heavy crowds in the day time, the seen was shot in early morning. The song “Ghar Aaja Pardesi” was on the background of this scene. The song also featured other famous locations from the city like the Big Ben, the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace. But now the visitors are now banned from feeding pigeons in the square considering the health issues of poor pigeons.
The setting for Simeran’s home and her father’s convenience store, were shot in Southall. Filming in Southall also helped to create an ambiance of Indian diaspora around the setting.
King’s Cross railway station, London
DDLJ is famous for its train scenes. The King’s Cross Railway Station is the one where Raj helps Simeran to catch the train, which she is about to miss. They part ways at the same station when they arrive from their tour.
St. Mauritius Church, Saanen, Switzerland
The romance between Raj and Simeran blooms in the picturesque villages dotting the Gstaad-Saanenland region in Switzerland. The narrow steeple of the St. Mauritius Church in Saanen features in the famous scene where Raj and Simeran pray together. The church was originally built in the 13th century and expanded in the 15th century. The interior of the church was shot at the St. Grat Church in the village of Montbovon. Even the bridge where the duo elegantly shows their dancing skills is just outside the Saanen railway station.
Raj and Simeran miss their train at this tiny train station of Zweisimmen near Gstaad, and inquire about the next train to Zurich. The scene where Simeran runs to catch the train was actually shot in a parking lot near the station. In reality, Zweisimmen is the starting point on of a major rail line that travels to Montrux along Lake Geneva.
Part of the song “Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main” was shot in the main promenade of Gstaad, a pretty village in western Switzerland. A drunk Simeran enters the chocolate shop Early Beck (situated on the Promenade) and runs outside, leaving Raj to pay the bill. Towards the end of the song, Raj and Simeran return to a hotel in a horse carriage along the Gstaad Promenade, an entirely car-free street lined with boutiques, international stores and local shops. A popular winter sports destination and celebrity getaway, Gstaad is surrounded by typically Alpine wooden chalets and home to numerous gourmet restaurants.
At 3454 m, Jungfraujoch is the highest train station and point in Europe, famous for its icy glaciers and breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. In the film, it’s also the setting for the song “Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main”, when a drunk Simeran dances in the snow in wild abandon. Today, Jungraujoch is so popular with Indian tourists. One can also find restaurants which serve Indian dishes over there.
Lake Lungeren, Switzerland
This small and scenic emerald green lake situated in central Switzerland can be seen in “Tujhe Dekha To”, where Raj and Simeran are shown fishing on the banks and catching a shoe.
The famous Mustard field scene where Simeran runs into Raj’s arms was NOT shot in Punjab. It was actually shot in Gurgaon, just outside the city shores of Delhi. Well now we can only see the cement fields over there but to enjoy your run through the fields, one can go to Punjab or Haryana where the field are still breathing.
All the house scenes in the movie were shot in the Mumbai Filmcity. Raj and Simeran’s house in London, the old haveli from Punjab were sets built in the Filmcity.
Apta Railway Station
The last scene from DDLJ created a legacy. The scene was copied in many other films later on as a tribute. The scene was actually shot on the Apta Railway Station. The station is on the Panvel-Roha route of the Central Railway fraction of Indian Railways.