25 years of DDLJ: Did you know ‘culprit’ Manish Malhotra feels he started the trend of chiffon sarees in snow? Designer reveals it all!

On October 20, 1995, the cult classic of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, fondly known as DDLJ premiered in the theaters and never stopped! 25 years gone by, though ‘Raj and Simran’s iconic Desi-NRI love story is still fresh in our memory. This iconic film had a successful 1,274-week run at Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir theater until the cinema hall was forced to pull its shutters owing to the global pandemic. 

Hands down, this cult classic changed the face of Bollywood’s love stories and opened the doors of success on a whole new level for actors Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, the then first-time director Aditya Chopra and cemented careers of designer Manish Malhotra and filmmaker Karan Johar who worked as one of the film’s assistant director and played a small cameo in it as well. Apart from its unique love story, this cult classic is known for its style moments as well. Steering clear of extravagant frills and typical ‘90s jazz, DDLJ was a breath of fresh air in terms of fashion. In an exclusive interview with Marie Claire USA, the lead pair Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol as well as designer Manish Malhotra spoke about the trendsetting looks for the film that hold relevance even today.

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With an intent to keep the characters relatable and real, Manish presented another side of glamour- the one with sophisticated chiffons and pearls. A ‘new’ thing which Aditya Chopra started! “Simran is a girl who is real. She’s very identifiable. There’s something that makes her look stand out when she’s in a crowd. That was key. They didn’t want a sensuous or a very sexy Simran. I did a very real Simran- with a dash of glamour,” the designer said. 

Speaking of the aesthetics, Manish said DDLJ stood out in terms of fashion as it wasn’t your typical ‘90s glam. “In the ’90s, all the tailors were making dresses with frills, all these fitted dresses. That was the norm. But (in Yash Chopra films), it was all about the luxury, the lifestyle, the richness. There’s one kind of richness that is all about embroidery, but Yash Chopra films were different. The richness was about the setup: the beautiful home, the girl in a pure chiffon sari with pearls. It was an elite chicness,” he said.

Ditching the frills and furs, Malhotra kept it monochromatic and ‘western-looking’ with a whole new shade of colours. “I was trying to remove all the frills and make it more monochromatic and make it more Western-looking. My first thing was color. Old-world colors- bring them all back in. A lot of old rose; a lot of powder blue. There’s a lot of peachy coral,” the designer concluded.


Talking about Kajol’s subtle yet iconic white salwar-kameez look, Manish revealed that there can be a beauty in a white kurta and a white salwar. “The quality and the class also can come from the way it’s tailored,” the designer stated. “I can still imagine wearing the shaded chiffon sari, or I can still imagine myself wearing a plain, simple salwar kameez with a shaded dupatta,” added Kajol.

Reminiscing about ‘Na Jaane Mere Dil Ko Kya Ho Gaya,” Kajol remembered shooting for the song in the freezing cold of Switzerland, wearing drapes and midis. “I don’t think anybody ever thought about my comfort when I was wearing a chiffon sari in the middle of the snow and the ice. The red (mini)dress in the snow was even worse, trust me,” she quipped.

Calling himself the ‘culprit,’ Manish revealed that he feels he was the one to start this trend. “It was about looking glamorous,” concluded the designer.

25 years, uncountable memories and plenty of fashion moments…DDLJ is a cult classic for a reason, isn’t it?

(Source- Marie Claire USA)