YASH CHOPRA - 1932-2012 Riding on the emotion of films such as Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Lamhe and Darr, it would be tempting to call Yash Chopra, 80, who died on Sunday, the king of romance. But he was much more than that
Riding on the emotion of films such as Kabhi Kabhie, Silsila, Lamhe and Darr, it would be tempting to call Yash Chopra, 80, who died on Sunday, the king of romance. But he was much more than that. Chopra might have introduced Hindi film audiences to feel-good love atop snow-capped Swiss mountains but he was no prisoner of the image.
Back in the 1950s when he started off as a filmmaker, he gave us Dhool ka Phool, a fine take on the life of an illegitimate Hindu child brought up by a Muslim man. He then came up with Dharmputra, which talked of Partition and got a volatile reception at the box office.
Just a little later, in 1965, he gave Hindi cinema its biggest multi-starrer, Waqt, with the likes of Sunil Dutt, Raj Kumar, Sadhna, Sharmila Tagore, Shashi Kapoor and Balraj Sahni sharing the same screen.
But his best work came in Deewar, the 1975 film that not only portrayed an iconic tale of two brothers going their divergent ways but strengthened Amitabh Bachchan’s angry young man film persona. Something which was to set the screen ablaze a little later in Kala Pathhar, a film focused on the plight of coal workers.
The decade of the 1980s was almost a forgotten one for Chopra as films like Mashaal, where he directed Dilip Kumar, Faasle and the rest came and went causing barely a ripple at the box office. However, Chopra saved a forgettable decade with the hit Chandni and welcomed the next decade with Lamhe, rated by many as his best film. With shades of incest, Lamhe caused more than a flutter and remained the talk of the town till the time Chopra introduced Shah Rukh to film audiences as an anti-hero with Darr.
Never shy of taking risks, Chopra became a little more choosy over the past few years, limiting himself to one film over half a decade or so.
In the fitness of things, he had just wrapped up Jab Tak Hai Jaan, starring his favourite Shah Rukh. Interestingly, he was no granddad just lazying around in the sunset; he made his production house, Yash Raj Films, the biggest in Bollywood happily, handing the directorial reins to youngsters like Manish Sharma, Kabir Khan and Shaad Ali, besides his own son Aditya Chopra.