The movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is one of India’s most successful films and arguably, India’s greatest love story. The movie has been playing in Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai for the past 26 years, making it the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema. The love story of Raj and Simran continues to define the way in which the industry and many in the nation understand and relate with romantic love.
In the movie Raj and Simran fall in love during a trip across Europe. But Simran’s father, Baldev disapproves of the relationship and betroths her to his friend’s son. Raj goes to where she is to try and win the family and ultimately marry her. He has a couple of opportunities to elope with her but refuses to do so because he does not want to tear her away from her family but wants her father to give them his blessings.
Though Raj faces many challenges in trying to convince the larger family, we see in the final scene the father willingly giving his daughter Simran to Raj because he comes to believe that no one would love his daughter more than Raj would. He finally gives the blessings that Raj and Simran deeply desire in order for them to be happy together.
What makes the movie interesting and different from many other love stories is the way in which it frames the love between the couple within the larger framework of the family. The love between the couple is not something to be dealt with in isolation but a love that has to factor in the complexities that are beyond the emotional feelings of the two-people involved. It is a love that radiates outward than merely looking inwards.
1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible and it brings together some profound aspects of love that truly makes love for another wholesome. Verses 4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
The chapter focuses on the important components of love by which our human love for can reflect the higher divine love. A love that is not self-seeking, especially when it tries to fulfil the deep emotions and feelings of love which usually tends to take highest and sometimes the only priority in romantic love. It is a love that is patient, kind and always persevering- even when the situation gets extremely difficult. There were many incidents in the movie when Raj and Simran could have taken the easy way out so that they could fulfil their emotional desire for each other. But they were able to keep those desires in perspective and strive towards doing what is best for everyone in the family.
Valentine’s day is a beautiful day to celebrate the romantic feelings of love couples have towards each other. The power of that feeling is unrivalled by almost nothing else. It is precisely because it is so strong that so much of the arts- be it movies, music, paintings, and literature are dedicated to the celebration of romantic love between two people. And undoubtedly that feeling needs to be cherished and articulated.
But as DDLJ points out, Valentine’s Day can also be a day where we can reflect how our deep desires for our significant other also ties in with the greater network of relationships within which that love is enmeshed.
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