Tribute Yash Chopra, who was responsible for shoring Big B’s angry young man avatar, had a refreshingly straight forward take on his hand in the making of classics

Interviewing Yash Chopra, the man who shaped our collective conscious through the movies, was an unadulterated thrill. Here was the man who directed Deewar which with Zanjeer cemented Amitabh Bachchan’s role as the angry young man in the Seventies. Two decades on, SRK was established as the supreme lover with Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

Chopra, who passed away on Sunday, however was matter of fact about the iconic movies and lines. To my breathless question about the iconic “Mere Pass Ma hain” from Deewar, Chopra smiled and said “I never imagined it would become so famous.”

Though Chopra is now synonymous with Switzerland, chiffon and romance, in his early days he was open to experimenting. He directed Ittefaq with the Phenomenon which was a taut thriller with no songs and in Deewar, Trishul and Kaala Patthar, he showed he could deliver the goods as far as action was concerned.

Chopra, however, candidly said he did not see himself returning to the genre as he felt he could not do justice to action anymore. Chopra graciously answered all my questions including the one on Silsila— a movie ahead of its times, marred by the ending which felt like a cop out. He was honest when he said people expected fireworks and were disappointed.

The interview was happening as part of Yash Chopra’s Swiss honours — he was named the Ambassador of the Swiss town of Interlaken, The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa named a luxury suite after him and a Jungfraubahnen train was named after him.

En route to the station of Kleine Scheidegg where the train-naming ceremony was going to take place, there was a hot breakfast being passed around washed down with elaichi tea. There was a sense of surreal in attending a ceremony to name a train after an Indian director for popularising Switzerland as tourist destination. And eating aloo ka parathas courtesy the Taj’s corporate chef, Hemant Oberoi, just made it that much more unreal. But in a way the setting and the occasion melded perfectly together as reality always has its space in the illusory world of our cinema — quite like the deliciously homey parathas in rarefied Switzerland!

Thanks Yashji for a great time at the movies.

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