It is almost close to a year that we lost him to an untimely death, but given the spirit and life that Yash Chopra was an embodiment of, he still lives in our hearts. The Ultimate Czar of Romance, one who revolutionized romance in Indian cinema like no other, Yash ji had the perfect eyes to envisage any project of his own. His visuals were classic and his ideas, contemporary. A man who left us with his boots on, Yash Chopra, the maverick director is thoroughly missed.
And so are the wonderful things that connected Bollywood to him. On his birthday, we honour Mr.Chopra with a special tribute. Yashji, we miss your films, we miss your love, we miss your liveliness, and we miss you the most.
Here’s a toast to the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that Yash Chopra is often credited for and termed as the connoisseur of. Eight things that are still considered a Yash Chopra trademark and how Yashji still lives on with us through all his interesting characteristics!
Exotic Locales ala Switzerland:
Introducing the exotic picturesque foreign location into the Indian traveller’s travelogue, Yash Chopra kind of brought in a stark change from the local Ooty or Shimla sequences. One thing that was constant in most Yash Chopra films was his picturisation of Switzerland itself. Somehow the Swiss country always appeared to be a supporting character than just a location. Shooting of his films at the lake at Alpenrausch became so often that the authorities christened it Chopra lake. Such was his bonding with the place and its mystic charm. From his first visit to the country in Faasle, the connection with the place began. And the love never ended. Remember the dream sequence in Chandni? How can we ever forget the Tu mere samne number shot amidst the spectacular Swiss mountains Or the Kab tak chup baithe melody echoing from the Swiss locales? Even Yeh hum aa gaye hai kaha number from Veer Zaara was shot in Yashji’s favourite location. Although he had planned a mesmerizing romantic sequence for Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif on the Jab Tak Hai Jaan title number, it could not come to life as we were left with nothing but to mourn the loss of the cinematic legend who left us with wet eyes. But as Shah Rukh puts it clearly, “You only go to Switzerland with Mr. Yash Chopra”.
The Chiffon sari:
If picturesque locales formed the backdrop, it was the Yash Chopra heroine clad in a chiffon sari that became a YC trademark of sorts. Colourful meadows, exotic locales and a beautiful woman dancing in a chiffon sari: these were the ingredients of the iconic romantic ballads that were churned by some the magical conjurer all his life. Rekha to Kajol, Juhi Chawla to Madhuri, Sridevi to Preity Zinta: all Yash Chopra heroines gracefully adorned the logotype chiffon sari as they gleefully charmed masses all over. Sadly, Katrina who was all the more excited in getting to wear that white chiffon sari for the title song to be shot in Switzerland had to give up on her dream sequence as the sad news of Yash Chopra struck her like a thunderstorm. She clearly knew the value of the chiffon sari just like Yashji knew! And we know too.
Powerful and heart wrenching love ballads:
Song and dance has been the spice of Indian films since times immemorial, but it was just the Midas touch of Yash chopra that gave it a fuller dimension. All through his life, Yash Chopra coalesced his super creativity with imaginative talents like Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, A.R.Rahman, Shiv kumar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Uttam Singh and Late Madan Mohan saab to name a few. But one singer who infused life to most of his love ballads was Lata Mangeshkar. A Yash chopra favourite, Lataji sang some of the most beautiful songs for him in his films, ones that went on to become the testicular anthem for lovers nationwide. Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam still gives goosebumps and Tere Liye can still wet your hankies like never before. That’s the charm of the power-packed coalition between Yashji and her nightingale, Lata ji!
Respect for women:
As Amitji puts it, “Yashji was one person who had immense love and respect for ladies. That is why maybe his heroines looked so great in all his films”. Katrina Kaif, who was last seen in the Yash Chopra swan song, Jab Tak Hai Jaan said with melancholy, “Yash Chopra is the best director you can ever work with. He was so easy going and more importantly, Yashji knows how to love women and show them respect at the same time. This is his innate character which makes his heroines look so beautiful on screen as well.” All through his life, Yash chopra had been known to be one of the most mellowed and humble individuals in the industry, one who had immense affection for beauty, thereby never making a wrong move. None of his female characters in his films were treated as mere showpieces. Although Bollywood has mostly been a patriarchal male dominated industry since its inception, it was Yash Chopra’s brilliance that gave his heroines to rise above his heroes, most times! Never did a Yash Chopra heroine look anything less than stunning. Never ever was there any hint of disrespect or derogatory portrayal of a woman made in his films. Such was his charm, such was his enigma!
Creating Superstars out of Stars:
Yash Chopra has every legitimate right on the lives of two of the biggest superstars in Indian cinema today: Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Like a genie, he just kind of refreshed and polished the minor warts and moles in the two celebrated actor’s life by giving them immense opportunity and making them shimmer in their glittering best. While Deewar testified on Amitji’s Angry Young Man status, it was the extraordinary touch of Yash Chopra that turned an otherwise ordinary Shah Rukh Khan into a phenomenon. While Yash chopra’s bonding with Big B dates to few decades when they shot for Kabhi Kabhi, Deewar and Kala Patthar, post the ‘90s, Yash Chopra could never make a film without his favourite child, SRK! A relationship that was beyond professions or monetary revenues, SRK treated Yash Chopra as his father and went on to give one hit after the other as he and Yashji came up with brilliant films like Darr, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Veer Zaara and Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Had Yashji not been around, SRK would have never been the Badshah and Amitabh Bachchan would have never been termed the Shahenshah! True that.
The Love for the Mother:
Well, if history is to go by, Yash chopra’s films have been a rousing testament to not just Indian lovers, but Indian sons as well. Perpetually drawn to show the love and affection towards motherly figures, Yash Chopra subtly included some brilliant scenes between the mother and the son to put his audiences through the emotional wringer. With Deewar’s ‘Mere paas ma hai’ becoming the iconic line used even today, we also saw how Aruna Irani actually helps shape Madhuri’s mind in her quest for true love. Farida Jala has always been one favourite mother as well. But our pick would definitely be the two scenes, one from Darr and the other from Veer Zaara. Nobody but it was only Rahul’s deceased mother who gets to know about his obsession over K-k-k-kiran as he clearly confided in her through mental strains. And how can we forget that epic scene where Kirron Kher asks SRK, ‘Tere mulk ka har beta tere jaise hai kya?’ where he emotionally cajoles her saying, Yeh toh nahi pata par mere desh ki har maa aap jaisi hoti hai.
If he could bedazzle with the romance, he could amaze us with the complicacies and the intricacies of love as well. Even today, you ask an Indian about their perfect love triangle, you would know how much people value Silsila, Darr, Dil toh Pagal Hai, Chandni, or a Jab Tak Hai Jaan high on their list. We do too. Transforming films into reality on celluloid was one thing that befitted our loving Yashji and he never went wrong with his convoluted yet simplistic love stories along with the love triangle tangled within. Amitabh and Rekha are still considered as a bygone item more because of Silsila, we must admit. And you must too!
Today, a film with nonsensical storylines might just woo the audiences with its punching dialogues, but well when Yashji made films, his dialogues made the house go crazy but they were certainly not stale or only masala! His lines were always artsy, crafty and so to say, evoking an amount of ethos and pathos at the very same time. Alongside a believable script, his powerfully mouthed lines added gravitas to his character sketches. And right from Dhool ka Phool to Jab Tak Hai Jaan, his films had some strong lines that had an innate making relevant to the plot. His lines were never loose , neither did they border on the lines of being forced! That’s the charisma of his dialogues that kind of resonated the film’s theme with aplomb!
As the industry and the Bollywod filmdom gears up for a grand birthday bash commemorating the 81st birthday of this connoisseur of art, we would like to pay this humble homage to Yash Chopra. Yash Chopra, you will always live through your films, in our hearts, Jab Tak Hai Jaan!
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