Without a shadow of doubt, Yash Chopra is firstly a great character. During his long and stable career, he introduced new standards by connecting India with the world outside the country. He has been able to blend traditionalism with the dream, the dynamism and imagination that made East meet West. From the outset it is clear that Yash ji did not like half-measures: everything was carried to extremes under the YRF camp. His ways of making films have been praised as well as criticised but regardless of the critical receptions, his works are considered to be evergreen.
After gaining a few years of experience as an assistant director alongside his brother Baldev Raj, Yash ji began his career shooting for his first film, Dhool Ka Phool in 1959. A few years later, he saw his dream of opening his own production company materialise with the release of Daag, starring Sharmila Tagore, Rakhee Gulzar and Rajesh Khanna. In 1975 the famous action movie Deewaar, where he cast Amitabh Bachchan in the unforgettable role of an angry young man, added another feather to his hat.
Almost immediately after entering the industry, Yash Chopra showed discontentment even in the casting with his motto being why select only one player when you can have more?. He pioneered the so-called multi-starrer movies, movies which have multiple famous actors hired for the same title in different roles, but equally important. First on the list was Waqt, shot in 1965, but one of the most famous is perhaps the sad Kabhi Kabhie, a family drama involving two generations. It boasted of an excellent cast consisting of actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee Gulzar, Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor.
Landscapes, dreams and die hard romance
Nature plays an important role in the representation of music. We can see the snowy peaks of Switzerland in Daar and Chandni, Silsila fields of tulips, the enchanting Rajasthani sunsets of Lamhe, and the blossoming meadows of Veer Zaara. Transparent saree caressed by the wind, languid looks and unforgettable hugs: the celebration of pure romance is a principle untouchable.
For political reasons, Kashmir became a difficult place for shooting. Thus, Yash Chopra decided to move to Switzerland with his entire team and as a result, we got the alpine landscape reminiscent of the Himalayas, and flowery meadows, mountain huts and streams created an ideal setting for dream sequences and love songs in his movies. The daydream of Rishi Kapoor in Chandni, in which he imagines Sridevi dance barefoot on the grass, unleashed a real phenomenon. From then on, the return and re-return to Switzerland was inevitable.
For his contribution to the development of Indian tourism nell'overland Bern, Yash Chopra was even made an honorary citizen; immortalized in scenes of sublime beauty, Switzerland is the ideal and perfect natural paradise, an oasis of silence and color all Indians dream, at least once in their lives, to visit.
How to create memorable characters
The director was able to recognize precisely the talent needed to become future stars, bringing out the best skills and aesthetic qualities of his actors. Sridevi became an authentic sex symbol after working in his films like Chandni and Lamhe, and Shahrukh Khan got many of his greatest hits working under the Yash Raj banner.
Rekha in Silsila had a formidable character which has set her in the image of the lover par excellence, the mysterious and fascinating woman, as beautiful as a statue, but hopelessly unlucky. The movie in the 80s revisited on the big screen, the very real love triangle of Jaya-Amitabh-Rekha, the first two husband and wife in the film and in real life too, the third as the frightening, serious threat to the stability of the couple. The movie wove a strange web of fiction, gossip and reality, successfully stunning and intruiging entire crowds, leaving them with more than one question about what really were the limits of the film. Where reality stops and fiction starts?
Pulling the amounts...
Yash Chopra's films can be heavy, repetitive, predictable, redundant, boring to some, but despite it all, you can not help but notice that everything that can be found today in Indian cinema can be traced with many a minor threads to the work of Yashji. Yash Chopra's movies are emphasized by their classic completeness and aesthetic perfection, rearranging the formula of the multi-starrer movie with a new modern sensibility.
A list of just some of his unforgettable works include: Deewaar, Darr, Chandni, Dil to Pagal Hai, Kaala Patthar, Silsila, Lamhe, Veer Zaara, Kabhie Kabhie, Daag, Parampara.
Yash Chopra is also remembered for using a tagline along with the title, an English phrase which is simple yet vague. Some examples are: Daag - poem of love; Darr - violent love story, Veer Zaara - a love legend; Kabhi Kabhie - Love is life; Lamhe - Moments of passion, ecstasy and love; Silsila - love is faith and faith is forever; Dil to Pagal Hai - someone, somewhere is made for you.
Editors: Neethi & Gunia M.
Graphics: Sano S.