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Visionary. Director. Producer. Legendary Dream Merchant of Indian Cinema.
And a trailblazer who paved the way for the Indian entertainment industry.
Genre defining director, star-maker and a studio mogul, Yash Chopra has been instrumental in shaping the symbolism of mainstream Hindi cinema across the globe. Popularly known as the ‘King of Romance’ for his string of hit romantic films spanning over a five-decade career, he redefined drama and romance onscreen.
Born on 27 September 1932, Yash Chopra's journey began from the lush green fields of Punjab, which kept reappearing in his films in all their splendour.
Yash Chopra started out as an assistant to his brother, B. R. Chopra, and went on to direct 5 very successful films for his brother’s banner - B. R. Films, each of which proved to be a significant milestone in his development as a world class director of blockbusters. These were DHOOL KA PHOOL (1959), DHARMPUTRA (1961), WAQT (1965) - India’s first true multi-starrer generational family drama, ITTEFAQ (1969) & AADMI AUR INSAAN (1969). He has wielded the baton additionally for 4 films made by other film companies - JOSHILA (1973), DEEWAAR (1975), TRISHUL (1978) & PARAMPARA (1993).
But his greatest repertoire of work were the 50 plus films made under the banner that he launched - the banner that stands for the best of Hindi cinema - YRF.
Out of these films, he directed 13 himself and these films have defined much of the language of Hindi films as we know them today. Some of the highly successful films which Yash Chopra directed are DAAG (1973), KABHI KABHIE (1976), KAALA PATTHAR (1979), SILSILA (1981), CHANDNI (1989), DARR (1993), DIL TO PAGAL HAI (1997), VEER-ZAARA (2004) and JAB TAK HAI JAAN (2012).
A fitting end to a glorious career, a film to wrap up decades of fine work - JAB TAK HAI JAAN starring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma was Yash Chopra’s last film as a director. He passed away on 21 October 2012 leaving behind a legacy that will inspire generations to come. The film released on 13 November 2012 to an overwhelming response worldwide and was one of the top grossers of the year.
A Yash Chopra directed film was anchored in its strong screenplay but embellished always with gorgeous locations, snow-capped mountains, lakes and rivers, beautiful women draped in gorgeous chiffon amidst fields of flowers - women who invariably went on to become icons after appearing in his films. No wonder then that actresses thought their careers have truly taken off only when they acted in a Yash Chopra film. A Yash Chopra film did not just engage the eyes and the heart - it seduced the ears as well. His sense of film music was impeccable - and each of his films had musical scores and signature tunes that still keep India humming years and years after their original release. And more than anything else, a YASH CHOPRA film was straight from the heart... it dwelled on human emotions.
To many South Asians, a Yash Chopra film was their passport to a world outside the one they inhabit. He was one of the first directors to take his camera to countries such as Switzerland, Holland, Germany and the United Kingdom. This often led to a direct increase in visitors to those countries, and governments were not shy in taking note.
If his achievements as director were staggering, his work as a producer was no less. He had never been shy of adventuring into bold and controversial themes - which were not just simple ‘message films’. Instead he pulled off the more difficult task of weaving in socially relevant messages within the parameters of commercial cinema. The social comment meshed in with the smiles and tears and managed to successfully bridge the gap between the older and the younger generations worldwide. His directorial efforts surpassed the work of directors less than half his age.
Yash Chopra unearthed new composers, new singers, and acting talent, almost all of whom have gone on to great heights in the industry. To be a part of a YRF film is the culmination of the fondest dreams for any talent in India - creative or technical.
Yash Chopra was more than a director and producer alone. In fact, the corporatization of the Hindi film industry had its very genesis in the pioneering efforts of Yash Chopra. With his vast years of experience in the entertainment business, Yash Chopra was indisputably the leader of the Media and Entertainment firmament in India and the voice that governments and organizations listened to on matters pertaining to the rapidly booming Hindi film industry.
Even after decades, Yash Chopra’s creative legacy remains undiminished, and a new YRF film continues to remain the most anticipated event in the film calendar of Indian cinema.
Yash Chopra will remain the trendiest director of his era who revolutionized the craft of filmmaking and changed Bollywood... forever.