Raj Malhotra, the hero of the film and the 1990s in general, is introduced in Simran's dreams. While Kajol embarks upon the most famous "towel" moment in pre-Saawariya Hindi cinema, SRK dots her music as her (outdoor) knight in shining armour.
When the cat's away, the mice will play – and dance. Simran and her little sister Chutki are busy jiving to the sort of music (Sidney Berlin Ragtime Band's Doop) that was invented for brats who suddenly have the house to themselves.
Raj flunks his university exams. His jovial father half-sarcastically, half-sincerely declares: Fail hona aur padhai na karna humare khaandaan ki parampara hai. This is the first of many DDLJ scenes that start comically and end on a serious note: a way of blindsiding the audience and hitting them with a life truth when they least expect it.
The train starts to leave the platform. Raj stretches his hand out for a stranger, Simran, as she makes a last-gasp dash. It's a playful prelude – musically, spiritually, dramatically – to their unlikely story, and one that has been recreated and paid "homage" to so often that you almost feel sorry for the brave souls who missed (or ignored) the DDLJ hype train.
"Robby ki party mein" is now a go-to catchphrase to mock boys unfamiliar with the art of flirting. (Who doesn't think of SRK's voice when a smug stranger walks up to you and croons, "Lagta hai maine aapko kahin dekha hai"?).
The second Simran goes solo, she lands in a soup. Raj, red convertible and all, rescues her from the cops with his incredible knack for theatricality and linguistic deceit – "Bon Jovi, Al Pacino, Al kutto, Al Camino" – and shuts her up.
Hi, Raj tells Jesus. His "request" then assured an entire generation of Indian children grappling with religion that praying is about truth and not method.
Palat. Palat. That's all it took to alter the language of romantic intuition. A mental voice tends to come off as corny in most movies, but not here: Raj wills Simran to look back at him as she enters the train, and she does.
DDLJ is full of contenders for the unofficial 'Declaration of Love' moment. Was it "Palat"? Or the church, that single candle and Simran's resplendent prayer-face? Or the shack where Raj embraces her after driving her to tears with his crude sex joke? But if you look (and listen) real closely
At the very end of Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko, once Simran returns home after seeing (charming avatars of) Raj everywhere on her commute, Lata Mangeshkar's voice slows to a near-halt with the final "Na Jaane Mere Dil Ko Kya Ho Gaya" – every word dripping with longing and awakening.