Monday, November 28, 2022

Yash Chopra was born on September 27, 1932 in Lahore as the youngest of eight children in a Punjabi family. With an age gap of almost 30 years with his eldest brother, young Yash was mostly brought up in the Lahore house of his second brother, B R Chopra, then a film journalist.

Chopra went to Jullundur in 1945 to continue his education and later moved to Ludhiana in Punjab, India after the partition. He originally was to pursue a career in engineering. However, his passion for film making made him travel to Bombay (now Mumbai) where he initially worked as an assistant director to I.S Johar and then for his director-producer brother B R Chopra. Yashji made his directorial debut with 'Dhool Ka Phool' in 1959. Thereafter, he directed several films under the banner of B R films of his elder brother including 'Ittefaq', 'Humraaz', the family drama 'Waqt', which incidentally pioneered the concept of multi-starters in Bollywood, and the social drama 'Dharamputra'.

In 1971, Mr Chopra founded Yash Raj Films, which he launched with the film 'Daag: A Poem of Love' (1973), a successful melodrama about a polygamous man. His success continued in the seventies, with some of Indian cinema's most successful and iconic films, including the action thriller 'Deewar' (1975) which established Amitabh Bachchan as the 'angry young man' of Bollywood, the romantic drama 'Kabhi Kabhie' (1976) and 'Trishul' (1978).

The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career as several films he directed and produced in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office, notably 'Silsila' (1981), 'Mashaal' (1984) and 'Vijay' (1988). However, in 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film 'Chandni' which became instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back music into Hindi films. As director, he directed several romantic films, thus establishing his own style of romance with films like 'Chandni' and 'Lamhe'. He also played a crucial role in careers of Amitabh Bachchan, whom he directed in cult films like 'Deewar', 'Kabhi Kabhi', 'Trishul', 'Kaala Patthar' and 'Silsila'. 'Deewar' also launched the careers of writer duo Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar.

Yash Chopra was also responsible in shaping Shah Rukh Khan's career, first directing him in 1993's 'Darr'. He then cast SRK in all his next movies - 'Dil Toh Pagal Hai' (1997), 'Veer-Zaara' (2004) and his last film 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. SRK has also been cast in other films produced by the Yash Raj banner, most notably 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge' (1995) and 'Mohabbatein' (2000), both directed by Mr Chopra's son Aditya.

Considered among one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Hindi cinema, Chopra's career has spanned over five decades and over 50 films. In course of his illustrious career, Mr. Chopra won 11 Filmfare awards, was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 2001, the Padma Bhushan in 2005. BAFTA presented him with a lifetime membership for his contribution to the films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour in the 59-year history of the academy.

In an interview with Shahrukh Khan on the occasion of his 80th birthday, Yashji had announced his retirement from direction after his 22nd directorial venture 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. But he passed away before the release of the film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.

The death of veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra on October 22nd 2012 was sudden, marking an end of an era of romantic films in Bollywood. He took his last breath at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai following multiple organ failure due to Dengue fever shocking multitude of his fans and colleagues. He is survived by his wife Pamela Chopra and two sons Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra. Aditya is also a film director and producer and holds the position of vice-chairman and general manager of Yash Raj Films, while Uday is an assistant director- turned actor who made his acting debut in 2000 in his brother's film Mohabbatein.

The Veteran filmmaker will always remain as the 'King of Romance' in the hearts and minds of Bollywood movie lovers.