After much wait, a four-part docu-series The Romantics has been released on Netflix that celebrates the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra and his production house Yash Raj Films (YRF). In one of the episodes, YRF head Aditya Chopra is seen talking about his directorial debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Shah Rukh Khan as the lead.
In the second episode of the Netflix series, the shy and reclusive filmmaker narrates how he persuaded the rising star to act in his directorial debut. SRK also mentioned working on Darr (1993), directed by Aditya’s father Yash Chopra, and starring him in a negative role.
Shah Rukh Khan hoped Aditya Chopra would make an action film with him. The filmmaker even narrated an action film concept to the star that quite impressed him. As a result, King Khan was taken aback when Aditya told him about Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
The Pathaan star remarked, “When we talked, we only talked action films…that there will be blood coming out and fighting and everything. And they (Aditya Chopra and his then assistant, Karan Johar) narrated this really sweet, namby-pamby film to me, about this guy who doesn’t even run away with the girl!” (laughs)
Shah Rukh Khan stated that he enjoyed the story but was surprised because it was unexpected. SRK at this point revealed, “Adi used to tell me, ‘Your eyes have something that cannot be just wasted on action’.”
Aditya Chopra refused to give up. On various film sets, he kept running into Shah Rukh Khan. He recounted an incident from the film Trimurti’s set (1995). An old lady in her 80s approached SRK. Aditya recalled what the old lady told the superstar, “She told him, ‘Beta, tu bahut accha hai. Itna accha kaam karta hai. Par tu har film mein marta hai aur har film mein khoon hota hai. Mujhe accha nahin lagta’”.
Aditya Chopra then said, “15 minutes later, I walked up to Shah Rukh and told him, ‘I feel you are hesitant to say no. You might choose not to do this which is completely fine. But I would just advise you not to shut your doors on never doing a love story. Because in this country, a superstar will only be that person who will be every mother’s son, every sister’s brother, and every college girl’s fantasy’.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was signed by Shah Rukh Khan. The film became an all-time blockbuster, and it is still playing in theatres today, more than 27 years later. Even now, Shah Rukh Khan is known as a romantic hero.