The Bollywood romcom still showing after 15 years

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By Prachi Pinglay
After a summer of under-performing blockbusters, Hollywood bosses might do well to look at the incredible success of India’s longest-running film, still packing in cinema-goers after 15 years.

Released in 1995, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (The big hearted will take the bride) has become one of the most popular films of all time.

Having broken all records in terms of number of showings and box-office takings, it is now in its 769th week at one of the main cinemas in Mumbai (Bombay), the beating heart of Bollywood.

And the film continues to play to a nearly full house over weekends at the 1,000-plus-seat Maratha Mandir cinema in the south of the city. Spectators stream in steady numbers for the matinee show of DDLJ — as it is popularly known — at the 52-year-old cinema. The best seats cost just 20 rupees (42 US cents; 27 UK pence).

Cinema officials say nearly all seats are taken at weekends and the film sometimes does better than new releases.

The film is now run on a no-profit, no-loss basis for the theatre as well as for Yash Raj Films, producer of DDLJ. Jagjivan Maru, the cinema’s chief projectionist, who has been showing this movie since its release, says it is magical.

The cinema officials plan to keep the film running as long as they can and have planned a big celebration in October 2010 to mark the full 15 years since its release.

Among other popular features of the movie is its catchphrase “Come, fall in love” — and the audience at Maratha Mandir seemed to have done just that with DDLJ.

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