26 years of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’! My late grandfather Amrish Puri used his own father as a reference point to create Chaudhary Baldev Singh: Vardhan Puri – Times of India

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s iconic film ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ completes 26 years of release today. Even now, Raj and Simran’s eternal love story is just as fresh as it was when the film had first released. Each and every character from the film is evergreen but the most pivotal one, who steered the whole narrative, was that of Chaudhary Baldev Singh, played by the late Amrish Puri. We reached out to his grandson to talk about the film and his grandfather and the ‘ Yeh Saali Aashiqui ‘ actor went down the memory lane to share some interesting trivia exclusively with ETimes.

The film is close to the Puri family and there is a special reason behind it. “‘DDLJ’ is the movie that will always remain extremely memorable for my entire family for two reasons. The film will be remembered for my grandfather Amrish Puri’s amazing words, beautiful narration, and it was a film that made him feel extremely alive. Apart from that, my grandpa had based Chaudhary Baldev Singh on my great grandfather Nihaalchand Puri’s personality, and that is why the film was an extremely emotional ode to my great grandfather,” reveals Vardhan.

He goes on to add, “I still remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap when Mr. Aditya Chopra came in to narrate the film. I have vague memories of the moment when the film was being narrated and later my grandfather had confirmed it. While he was narrating the film to my grandfather, he had told him that if my grandfather didn’t take up the character, he might not do the film at all. Further, he also asked my
dadu to add some personal details of a Punjabi patriarchal man to the character and that is when my grandpa suggested that he will use his own father as a reference point to create Chaudhary Baldev Singh. I remember Adi sir being absolutely excited about it. Once the narration got over, my grandfather had tears in his eyes and said that there was no way in the world that he would not do the film”.

The actor further revealed that when Aditya Chopra went to Amrish Puri for the narration, he didn’t carry a script and yet narrated the whole script word-to-word from memory. “My
dadu was super impressed by him as Adi sir was just 19-20 years old at the time. Dadu called Yashji (Chopra) and told him that his son was going to be one of the biggest filmmakers of the Hindi film industry and that indeed happened. So, I strongly believe that ‘DDLJ’ stands for Hindi cinema and it represents us so wonderfully throughout the world,” Vardhan gushes.

“So, this film is very close to our hearts. I have watched it over 500 times from the beginning to the end. It’s a timeless film. In fact, the bell from the movie, the one which was hanging outside Kajol’s (Simran) house is still with us. Today, we feel extremely proud that
dadu was an important part of the film,” sums up Vardhan

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