OBITUARY: Yash Chopra's romance with cinema

New Delhi, Oct. 21 -- Yash Chopra might not have lived to see his last release Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ) which is set to release on Diwali this year, but he did announce his retirement on 27th September, his 80th birthday. In a way, it gave a sense of completion to his 54 years long glorious career. The director breathed his last on October 21 at around 5.30 pm.

Chopra directed his first film Dhool Ka Phool (1959), when he was just 27. Today, he might be remembered as King of Romance, but before this tag, the director explored various genres.

He made hard-hitting social dramas like Dhool Ka Phool, Dharamputra, Waqt, Ittefaq and Aadmi Aur Insaan in his initial years.

It was probably after Daag (1973) that he started playing with the romance angle. The film starring Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Raakhee was quite bold for its time.

Then came Kabhie Kabhie (1976). The director also made some marvellous crime movies like Joshila (1973), Deewaar (1975) and Trishul (1978). In the 80's he gave films like Silsila, Mashaal and Sawaal.

Today's generation remember Yash Chopra for his 90's films though. Chandni (1989), starring Sridevi was a sensation. Lamhe (1991), again starring Sridevi was ahead of its time and did not do commercially well, but is Yash's personal favourite. His association with SRK started with Darr (1993) in which the actor was paired opposite Juhi Chawla. SRK provided a different flavour to his films. His productions Aaina, Yeh Dillagi and DDLJ further defined YRF. Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) starring Shah Rukh and Madhuri was his next directorial. Veer Zaara (2004), his second last directorial paired SRK with Preity Zinta.

There was a gap of 8 years between his last two releases. But JTHJ, the filmmaker's 22nd directorial and last film would remain special. It brought the filmmaker in limelight after 8 long years. He shared his career's landmark moments in an interview with SRK on his birthday this year.

"After Veer Zaara I wanted to make something different and nice, soul-touching film. That is when I told Aditya, my son, that I want to direct a film. This film is a gift to me by Aditya. He told me, 'make the film dad and I am there to provide all help," Chopra said.

Yash Chopra (Sept 27 1932 - Oct 21 2012) had shared that his family wanted him to become an engineer but he knew he wanted to direct films. "My mother said do what your heart says. She gave me Rs.200 and said my blessings are with you. Go ahead and don't worry," Chopra had said.

Chopra had also said that his elder brother, BR Chopra, was like a father figure.

"This was the most emotional phase of my life. BR Chopra is my father, guru, guide. And I'm sitting here just because of BR Chopra and no one else. I wanted to fly on my own wings," he said.

He also shared his thoughts on his favourite films. Here's what he said:


"Till today, Deewar was one script which was flawless. I thought Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor were best for the film. They were punctual and I could depend on them," said Chopra.

Kabhie Kabhie

"Kabhie Kabhie was the most enjoyable film I have made. It was like a picnic," he said.


"I wanted Parveen Babi for the role Rekha played and Smita Patil for Jaya's role. But when I met Amitabh and told him about the cast, he asked me if I was sure."


"When I was making Vijay, I was making films just to be successful and not from my heart and I knew I was making the wrong kind of films. I decided to make a hardcore romantic film with nine songs and this is how I thought of Chandni(1989)," he said.

The SRK Factor

Yash Raj banner and Shah Rukh came together in Darr (1993) for the first time. After Darr, Shah Rukh worked with Chopra in the superhit Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Mohabbatein (2000), Veer Zaara (2004) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008).

"I have always had great experience working with him. He is one actor who has never asked me what the story is about, how much money he will charge... whatever amount I send him through cheque he takes that and rather asks me why I gave such a huge amount," said Chopra, who turned 80 on Thursday.

"He does not meet me before we start shooting, he says why to meet...I don't want to know the story, don't want to talk about money so why to meet. It is all because he has faith in me."

The Real Silsila Story

"I had signed both Smita Patil and Parveen Babi and both of them were to start shooting. Smita was to do the role played by Jaya Bachchan and Parveen that of Rekha. I went to meet Amitji and spoke to him about the film," Chopra had said.

"It was Amitji who asked me if I was happy... content with the casting (Smita, Parveen and Amitabh) and do I feel it is the ideal casting. I told him I wanted to cast him, Jayaji and Rekha. He took a long pause and told me that he was fine with the decision but asked me to convince the two actresses," added Chopra.

Later, the filmmaker met Jaya and Rekha and both of them agreed to do the film. "I had told both (Jaya and Rekha) of them that koi gadbadi na ho (hope there will be no disturbance on the sets)," chuckled Chopra, who seemed to be referring to the real-life tension between the two female actors, their love for Big B.

Chopra revealed that while Parveen was fine with being dropped from the film, Smita was hurt, mainly because the filmmaker had asked his actor friend Shashi Kapoor to pass the bad news to Smita.

Eventually, apart from starring Amitabh, Jaya and Rekha, the romantic hit also featured actors Sanjeev Kumar and Kulbhushan Kharbanda, with Shashi Kapoor in a special appearance.

Recent memorable interviews

Shah Rukh does not ask for story or money: Yash Chopra

Filmmaker Yash Chopra, who teamed up with Shah Rukh Khan for over half-a-dozen films in the past two decades said the actor never sought to know the story or the fees he would be paid, when offered a role by him. READ MORE

Jab Tak Hai Jaan will be my last film: Yash Chopra

Chopra's disclosure, made at an event marking his 80th birthday with actor Shah Rukh Khan by his side, took the Indian film industry by surprise. "I think I've had enough, Shah Rukh," Chopra replied when Khan asked him about his next project. INTERVIEW INSIDE

Yash Chopra shares his cinematic journey

Veteran Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra, who turned 80 Thursday, talked about his journey in the show business with superstar Shah Rukh Khan in a heart-to-heart televised chat. Chopra said his family wanted him to become an engineer but he knew he wanted to direct films. CHOPRA GETS EMOTIONAL

Smita-Parveen, the original choice for Silsila: Yash Chopra

Veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra has revealed that he had earlier chosen to cast actors Smita Patil and Parveen Babi alongside Amitabh Bachchan, instead of Jaya Bachchan and Rekha for his 1981 hit film Silsila. CHOPRA SPEAKS

Latest on Yash Chopra

JTHJ: Yash Chopa to direct last-ever scene

Yash Chopra prepares to say goodbye to direction with Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ), his assistant directors (who have worked with him for years) are busy designing a spectacular souvenir for the king of romance. They want this to be their special gift to their mentor. DETAILS INSIDE

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Yash Chopra to miss his last take?

For the shoot of the last remaining song in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, director Yash Chopra had a grand vision: a sari-clad Katrina Kaif romancing Shah Rukh Khan in the lush meadows of the Swiss Alps. But unfortunately, his illness, caused by a bout of dengue, stymied the plan for the song, which would have reflected his trademark directorial style. MORE

Yash Chopra hospitalised after dengue attack

Filmmaker Yash Chopra, who recently turned 80, was rushed to Lilavati Hospital in Bandra on Saturday. "He was admitted after being diagnosed with an attack of dengue. He has been kept under observation. He is feeling much better and should be home soon," says a spokesperson from Yash Raj Films, when contacted. MORE INSIDE

Yash Chopra still recuperating in hospital

Veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra, who was admitted to a city hospital after being diagnosed with dengue, is on his way to recovery, sources said. Chopra was admitted to Lilavati hospital in suburban Bandra on October 13 after being diagnosed with an attack of dengue. MORE INSIDE

FREEZE FRAME: SRK celebrates Yash Chopra's birthday

My Hindi film career complete after working with Yash Chopra: Rahman

Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman has teamed up with Yash Chopra for the first time for the veteran filmmaker's much-talked about directorial venture Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The music maestro says with the project his Hindi film career is complete. READ MORE

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.