Yash Chopra: From humble beginnings to cinematic supremacy

22 Oct,2012

By A Correspondent


Fifty-three years after he made his film debut with Dhool Ka Phool, 37 years after he directed Deewar – probably the most famous movie in any Indian language after Sholay – and barely a month after his 80th birthday was celebrated with the who’s who of Bollywood in attendance, Yash Chopra passed away in the city of Mumbai, his lady love for the last six decades.


The man who came from pre-Partition Lahore with Rs 200 in his pocket and went on to make iconic movies like Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila, Lamhe, Kaala Patthar and Trishul succumbed to dengue fever on Sunday. Mr Chopra, widely credited with making Bollywood into an international brand, had to cancel a trip to the Swiss Alps for the filming of the last remaining song sequence in his upcoming film.




Just got the news that Yashji passed on. He was one of the giants of cinema. My deepest condolences to his family. We will all miss him. – @MadhuriDixit1Heartbreaking news Yash Chopra passes away. – @MaheshNBhatt


I’m in shock and numb, can’t believe the news, the man who immortalised love, Mr. Yash Chopra is no more. May his soul rest in peace. My deepest condolences to the family. – @akshaykumar


My mornings will never be the same. My learnings of life will never be the same. LOVE never be the same. And cinema will NEVER be the Same. – @AnupamPkher


I’m shocked & saddened by the loss of Hindi Cinema’s legend – Yash ji. romance in cinema will always be incomplete without u. RIP – @mbhandarkar268


“The world called my cinema bold but I never thought of it as that. I just wanted to make different cinema,” Mr Chopra had told Shah Rukh Khan at his 80th birthday at his Yashraj Studios a month back


“Though he’s known for romance genre, he has been equally competent across genres. Because of his own literary depth, you never heard his characters speak bad language, grammatically wrong language; he had a level of aesthetics and he never compromised on that. With his love of language, lyrics, Urdu, he demanded a level of language and poetry in his lyrics and his films,” said Javed Akhtar, the co-script writer of Deewar, the movie that launched Amitabh Bachchan as a superstar.


Born in Lahore in 1932, Chopra began his career as an assistant director to IS Johar and his elder brother, BR Chopra. He has won several awards, including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. Born in 1932 in Lahore, now in Pakistan, Mr Chopra was favoured by leading Indian actors with his movies seen as a sure-fire way to become a hit with audiences.


The filmmaker proved his mettle with intensely emotional and tragic movies, many of which went on to become box-office blockbusters. Mr Chopra’s Bollywood career spanned five decades. His flamboyant style of filmmaking, movies filmed in exotic locales and mellifluous music became a hallmark, endearing him to filmgoers.


Chiffon sarees and the Swiss Alps are so synonymous with Mr Chopra’s style of filmmaking that Switzerland Tourism even offered visitors a guided tour of the places where the director filmed some of his most famous songs and scenes.


Riding on his success, Mr Chopra established Yash Raj Films, one of Bollywood’s biggest production houses, churning out at least three movies a year. In November, the film studio announced its foray into Hollywood, signing on actors such as Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman for its overseas productions.


Mr Chopra also produced Indian cinema’s longest-running blockbuster, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), which marked the debut of his son, Aditya, as director.


“I have never made romantic films. I have made films on human relations, and humans are complicated people,” he said at the event in September.


Jab Tak Hai Jaan, with Chopra at the helm for the last time, opens in cinemas in November, eight years after his last project, Veer-Zaara, a passionate tale of love across borders.


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