Aditya Chopra’s cult 90’s offering Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge completes 1,000 weeks today. It is the second longest running film after the Chinese blockbuster Lu Shan Lian. On the big day, Manish Malhotra who had done the styling for DDLJ, shares some little known behind-the-scenes nuggets with Reena Kapoor
The long and short of it
When I was given the responsibility to work on Kajol’s costume and look in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, I knew that the film was very close to Yashji as it was his son’s directorial debut. I had to live up to the trust that Yashji had shown in me. Working on Kajol’s introductory scene, in the white short dress, was a process of several trials and errors. We had finalised that white short dress for the song Mere Khwabon Mein some weeks before the shooting commenced. But on the day of the shoot we thought that the length of the skirt should be slightly shorter. It was always meant to be short but a little trimming was required. Trust me, I had actually cut the length of the skirt sitting on the sets. Being a newcomer myself, I was in for a shock when I realised that it had become a little too short. But then, not only was Kajol comfortable wearing the outfit, she also pulled it off with élan. That’s her inherent style and spunk,” Manish says.
Yash Chopra’s passion for white
Even though his films always had a splash of colours, it was the colour white that remained symbolic. Yashji’s passion for the colour white made many actresses of his film look beautiful. I remember we were discussing the costumes for Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam in the film. We were sitting in the gadda room at Yashji’s house. He would conduct all the meetings and narrations of his films with the entire team in that room. Rekha had worn a white kurta and chudidaar in Silsila. I remember he was adamant that Kajol’s white outfit in the song had to be teamed with a salwaar,” says Manish who attributes the popularity of Kajol’s outfits in DDLJ to the impeccable detailing of clothes. “This was the first film where Kajol sported a glamorous look,” adds a proud Manish.
Adi went fabric shopping with Manish
“Adi was very involved in putting together Kajol’s look in the entire film. He would accompany me to various stores in London and fabric stores in Mumbai. For instance, he wasn’t sure if the bright green laacha in Mehendi Laga Ke Rakhna would work but I was confident that it was the apt colour and would also set the look apart from other bright festive colours,” says Manish. But the bigger challenge was to make Kajol try out the designer clothes. According to team DDLJ, Kajol would kill time in the trial room reading books and not really bothering about the fittings. As a result of which Yashji would confiscate her books and ask her to get the task done. “Everyone was fond of Kajol. Her headstrong personality and her warmth reflected in every scene in the film and other characters she essayed.” Kajol’s golden wedding lehenga was yet another masterpiece that changed the concept of wearing pink, orange and red wedding outfits by the brides.
Karan Johar would run SRK’s clothes by Manish
“Karan and Adi took charge of styling SRK’s flamboyant look. There were no ego issues between us. The three of us would brainstorm and would take approvals on the costumes. Yes, we took complete responsibility of our respective assignments, but we thrived on teamwork. The checked shirts and the leather jackets became a hit,” says Malhotra. Word is that Shah Rukh’s introductory scene that shows him playing a rugby match earned him maximum compliments for his toned legs. He even went onto show off those legs in many of his other films.