We, especially women, totally fell in love with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge when we saw it first. I saw the movie many times. Slowly, over the years as I grew up, the movie lost its charm for me and didn’t seem like such a beautiful movie anymore. I started finding the story and romance very cheesy and corny. But, I really got a jolt when BJP said they want to promote this movie as a representative of Indian culture, Every part of me protested against this idea. This is not the depiction of Indian culture that I want the world to see. Let me tell you why.
The movie starts with showing an egoistic husband and father who makes all the decisions in the family, whether wrong or right and a very intelligent wife (probably more than him) who quietly goes along with his decisions, even when she knows they are wrong. Two daughters who hide their real self from this egoistic father and pretend to be what he believes them to be – the traditional bhartiya naari – who starts her day with pooja in the morning. They are not allowed to dream of a future that will make them happy, The father chooses a man for his elder daughter whom she has never seen and she is expected to quietly comply. Forget the fact that she is born in London and the man is from a village in Punjab. Even if he was born and brought up in London, is it possible for a woman to simply go ahead and marry a man she has never seen?
The mother gives a long lecture on how her wishes and desires had been sacrificed for her brothers and father, yet she does the same towards her daughters when it comes to going against her husband for her daughter’s happiness. When the mother comes to know that her daughter has fallen in love with someone, she begs her to give up on her love for the sake of the family peace. They are dragged to a village in Punjab where the two girls immediately transform from the London born miniskirts wearing girls to the Salwar Kameez clad Punjabi girls. A bit difficult to digest!
I have no doubt that the relationship between Raj and Simran is very beautiful which is the saving grace of the movie. He considers her his equal in every aspect and it’s the most natural thing for him to do that. He doesn’t think he is the greatest thing born on earth because of his liberated thinking. Apart from that, the movie only shows how women are lesser than men and how they should kowtow to a man’s wishes and demands. I cringe at the thought of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge being portrayed as the perfect model of Indian culture by a government that’s going to shape our country’s future.