Introducing Film-In Locations
I have been planning this segment for a while and finally, it’s set to see the light of the day.
As most of you are aware, both Parichay and myself happen to be cinephiles and I also blog about the movies. As mentioned in our story, even the name Awara Diaries came from the Raj Kapoor film Awara which later also became a tattoo on Ranbir Kapoor’s wrist for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Now this means there has to be some filmy connect on our blog. Here it is!
I remember my childhood days, when I had only 3 sources of information: books, people around me and the television.
As a little kid, I didn’t have too many interesting books, people around me were mostly my grandparents, my aunt and her bunch of friends, some school teachers (who were not so friendly) and then there was TV. Like every other 90s kids, I’ve spent a considerable amount of my childhood watching television. After all, it was then that we had the cable TV and 24 hours access to entertainment.
I loved TV only for the fact that it opened up a world I would’ve never found otherwise. Of course, now we have the internet at our fingertip and all of this sounds primitive. But this was real.
For most of us, the first exposure of any new location has been through the movies, at least as kids when there wasn’t any sign of the internet. The more our movies and filmmakers travelled, our exposure to locations widened. As an ode to which, we will now be introducing a new segment on our blog: FILM-IN LOCATIONS.
In every post, we will elaborate on the filming locations of a film that has exposed us to newer locations and whether or not the destination has been showcased to the best of its nature. Through this series, we will also try to decode the original location of filming which is often different from the one mentioned in the story. So, if a film/show gives you wanderlust, you can feed on it, plan a similar itinerary and take off!
DDLJ Filming Locations
To start this series, my first film would be the classic romance, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. For many of you, this would be an obvious choice knowing my love for Shah Rukh Khan. But let me burst the bubble and tell you, this is actually my first pick because this was the first film for my generation which introduced us to wanderlust, travelling with friends (in a cool manner), trip adventures, missing the train, Eurail and some fancy destinations.
Late Mr. Yash Chopra, who is the producer of DDLJ is renowned Indian filmmaker with a variant list of films, and some of the best love stories in recent times. DDLJ was the debut directorial film of Aditya Chopra (Director- Producer & son of Late Mr. Yash Chopra). Yash Chopra introduced Indians to the Swiss vacation dream, as many of his lead actors danced away in the snowcapped Swiss Alps. DDLJ consciously glorified it.
DDLJ is the story of two Indians- Raj and Simran, living in London with their families. After completing their education, both take off with their friends for a month long Eurail trip with their friends. They meet for the first time on the train (beginning of their trip). Over a series of differences, dramatic incidences like missing the train, forgetting their passports, having to share a room, Raj and Simran get to know each other and silently fall in love and realise it only after they’ve parted ways. Simran has already been promised in marriage to the son of her father’s childhood friend. Simran is forced to head back to India for her wedding, Raj follows her to win over her family and take back his bride. Lots of drama, action, romance and cutesy moments unravel in the due course.
And now, it’s time to check out some of the most prominent filming destinations from the film. The film has been majorly shot in parts of Switzerland, India and London.
Like Raj keeps saying, “Senorita, Bade Bade Deshon Mein Aisi Chhoti Chhoti Baatein Hoti Rehti Hai”
Here’s a run-down on the DDLJ filming locations through some popular scenes:
1. Raj & Simran Meet/ Part Ways: London, Kings Cross Station
The iconic scene where Raj offers Simran his hand to help her get on the train was shot at the Kings Cross Station in London. Kings Cross is the location for two crucial scenes in the film. First, when Raj and Simran meet for the very first time.
The second is when they are parting ways only to realize that they have fallen in love.
Airports have always been a common meeting and parting point in books and movies. It was an interesting change, also obvious maybe to see a train station being treated with that effect. In fact, it was a brilliant move considering the relatability of trains and train stations for Indians.
Even the climax scene of this film was shot at another railway station and is one of the most iconic scenes in the history of Indian cinema.
Another interesting fact about DDLJ is that it introduced and popularised the concept of a Eurail trip, i.e., travelling across the European Union through trains.
2. Missing the Train: Zweissimen, Switzerland
The next turning point in this epic romance is when Raj and Simran miss their train to Zurich without their luggage and friends who managed to board the train. Simran is shown buying a cow bell at a kiosk at the railway station which is originally in Zweissimen. It is here that she and Raj lose track of time and miss their train.
Many scenes from this sequence have been shot around the Zweissimen railway station in areas like parking lots, ticket windows, etc.
This also highlights that point of the punctuality of Swiss Rail since then.
3. Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main- Gstaad & Jungfrau, Switzerland
Soon after on the trip, when Simran gets high on whisky there is the song ‘Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Mein’ in which we see Raj and Simran dancing away in the locales of the beautiful town of Gstaad.
There are also visuals of Raj and Simran on the snow-capped Alps. This is the most popular attraction in Switzerland- Jungfraujoch.
Even years later, many Indian tourists visit Jungfrau for it’s scenic beauty that they were introduced to through this Yash Chopra romance. In fact, there’s also a poster cut out of the film at the foothill.
4. What a beautiful church!: St Mauritius Church, Saanen- St. Grant Church, Montbovon
In a scene between Raj and Simran, Simran takes Raj to church and starts parying. Raj who is an atheist makes fun of her and yet stays back only to ask for Simran’s wishes to come true. The church where this was filmed was the St. Grat church in Montbovon in Switzerland.
The exteriors of the church are however of the St. Mauritius Church in Saanen.
5. Palat Palat: Saanen Bridge, Switzerland
Evidently, many scenes that were filmed in Switzerland were shot in Saanen. Another most iconic scenes in the history of Indian cinema was shot here as well.
It is the scene where Simran asks Raj to come and join the group. In the meanwhile, Raj confesses that he’s in love with Simran only to laugh at it within minutes. It is at this point when Simran tells Raj that her marriage was already fixed with her dad’s friend’s son, who she has never met or scene.
When Simran is walking away, Raj tells himself that she will definitely look back if she loves him.
There goes… PALAT… PALAT… PALAT…
And Simran looks back at him that one time and goes away!
This is one of my favorite scenes and has been filmed at the Saanen bridge. For a scene that is all about the feels and the chemistry between the two characters, the Saanen bridge only adds to the vibe with minimalistic elements in the frame, yet the romantic ones like the river flowing by, the lone bridge and the cloudy skies.
The DDLJ tune in the background ensure that love is in the air even for those watching it!
Tip: The best time to travel to the DDLJ filming locations is from March to September.
6. Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam: Punjab, India & Lake Lungerer, Switzerland
After the Raj and Simran’s love story has been established along with a conflict, the plot takes a turn and Raj is reintroduced in India to win over Simran’s family to win her back. Raj first meets Simran in the mustard fields and they breakout into a song- Tujhe Dekha Toh Ye Jaana Sanam.
This is my most favorite song not only from the film, but as a child.
It was this song, shot in the mustard fields of Punjab which had Shah Rukh Khan, aka Raj Malhotra becoming the overnight dream lover of every Indian girl.
Parts of this song have also been shot in Switzerland, at Lake Lungerer where Raj and Simran are shown fishing.
With a beautiful blend of music, lyrics, artists and locations, this song continued to be a love anthem for years. And rightly so!
It translates as…
When I saw you darling, I realized that love was crazy <3
7. Climax: Maharashtra, India
The iconic climax in the film where Raj fights Simran’s fiancé and then takes a train to go back with his dad. It is here that his determined and hopeful look convinces Simran’s Bauji that no one can love his daughter more and he asks her to forget everything else and go away with Raj.
This scene as per the plot is set in a village in Punjab.
Originally, it was shot at a station between Mumbai and Panvel called Apta. Apta has been the filming location for various train station scenes in Hindi films including the likes of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Khakee.
Interestingly, the iconic scenes in this film are when Simran gets permission from her father to go on the trip and then again to elope away with Raj. Both these scenes have the dialogue, “Jaa Simran jaa, jee le apni zindagi!” Which translates to ‘Go Simran, go live your life!’
Doesn’t that stand true for all of us for when we travel!
PS. Not faffing, but my dad said the exact same thing when he okayed my idea of taking a solo trip for the first time ever 😉
Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or DDLJ, never gets old for me. I’ve watched this film since childhood time and again. And while I love this film for so many reasons (Romance and Shah Rukh Khan top the list), I am so glad that this film got us familiar with the idea of travelling and exposing us to newer destinations while doing so.
While I am excited to explore most of the DDLJ filming locations this winter, I’d like to know how many have you covered and your recommendations in comments below.
Let me know if you’d want any specific movie covered (language no barrier).
Also, if you want to plan a similar trip write to the pro- Europe trip planner email@example.com and you too can live and create your own DDLJ moments!