Yash Chopra, a name that is synonymous with magnificence. The man who gave love the meaning it has through all the films he made. Also the man who started the trend of shooting all the romantic songs in the snow-clad Swiss Alps. The wow factor increased manifold everytime the legendary director made a new film.
Today is Yash Ji’s birthday and I as a big fan, am sure that many out there like me shall remember the filmmaker and all the films they pretty much grew up watching. Whether it was the love story that passed through two generations, Kabhi Kabhie or the rather bold concept of an extra-marital affair in Silsila to the more recent Veer-Zaara, all of them sagas, in my opinion and all so awe-inspiring for the sheer beauty of the way they were narrated.
While there are many other films that Yash Ji had directed, films like Waqt, Ittefaq, Deewar, Kala Patthar, (some of which also won him the Best Director Awards at the Filmfare Award Ceremony for that year), he is most remembered for the romantic films he made, and for good reason too.
It was most heartbreaking to have heard about the filmmaker’s demise last year, a few days before his last directorial film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, released.
Here’s my favorite 11 by the director:
1) Kabhi Kabhie: A successful poet, Amit (Amitabh Bachchan), falls in love with a beautiful fan of his, Pooja (Rakhee), however, as fate would have it, the girl is married off to another man leaving Amit heartbroken and shattered. Few people know that Rakhee’s parents were portrayed by Harivanshrai & Teji Bachchan (Amitabh Bachchan’s parents). The film tops the list as my favorite, for the songs, for the story, for the portrayal of relationships, for Amitabh Bachchan’s brooding role, for Shashi Kapoor’s boyish charm and for Rishi Kapoor’s cuteness. (*sigh*)
2) Silsila: This is one film which probably everyone has watched but few admit to it. Why? ‘Cause it was a hindi film that portrayed an extra-marital affair. And for the same reason, perhaps, wasn’t well-received. When you watch this film, you instantly fall in love with Mr. Bachchan and his baritone voice, then comes the beautiful Rekha. As fate would have it, Amit marries his deceased brother’s ex-wife and begins a rather incomplete married life. You will always want to side with one character in the entire film, but that doesn’t happen at any point. The whole film shows each character in the doldrums at some point or another, there is lesser fairytale romance, nonetheless, it is beautiful.
3) Lamhe: They said there is an age to fall in love. Sridevi altered that notion in many minds when she declared her love for a man who was nearly 2 decades her senior. What’s age got to do with love, she asks? “Do logon mein ek ko toh bada hona hi padta hai, Kunwar jee mujhse bade hain”. This was also Yash Chopra’s dearest film because he wrote it when Silsila released but waited 10 years to release Lamhe, his dream film. It is truly the phases of love – from teenage to an older mature person. From loved and lost to found once again, in another year, another time.
4) Chandni: Yash Chopra is perhaps, the only filmmaker who knew how to make his heroines look beautiful, whatever the setting maybe, having epitomized vibrant chiffon sarees in the backdrop of a Tulip flowerbed, or snow-clad mountains. Chandni is one such film. Sridevi had never looked this beautiful before. So graceful, so charming. And also gave a meaning to her name in the film – Chandni, moonlight… by wearing loads of white and establishing a ‘Chandni look’ which fans identified with.
What good is a love story if there’s no struggle, especially when you have two handsome men vying for your attention?
5) Dil Toh Pagal Hai: Fairytale romances went a notch higher when the biggest question was asked – How do you know who’s The One? It’s all about love and the search for love. Team it up with the graceful Madhuri Dixit, charming Shahrukh Khan and Karishma Kapoor who added spunk to her character. And also a special appearance by Akshay Kumar. A very well-made musical, didn’t feel run-off-the-mill at any point.
6) Veer-Zaara: Nothing could match up to the poetic fashion in which this film was told. Coming from an ace director such as Yash Ji, this film was the most-awaited the year of its release (2004). Just like Rani Mukerji asked Divya Dutta in the film, “Yeh kis sadi ke log hai”, you might have also wondered how it was possible to serve jail term for a crime you had not committed just so the woman you love could lead a happy, peaceful life with her husband and kids? Difficult, mostly impossible.
7) Daag: A seemingly bold story starring the favorite onscreen couple of that time, Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, this film was a perfect retelling of love, loss, crime and treachery, all rolled into one. On top of that, an extra-marital affair with one’s husband. Wondering how? Watch the film to know.
8) Deewar: “Mere paas Maa hai…” A dialogue that touched one too many chords and still is fondly remembered, and all for the love of mom. But that’s not all, the dialogues penned by Salim-Javed have been used in multiple movies after, some way or another. The intensity Amitabh Bachchan brought to the role was absolutely incomparable. And then, the moment of truth when he converses with God standing in a temple.
9) Darr: Man loves woman, woman loves man, the twist in the tale is the love triangle. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, not when there’s obsessive love involved. And in this case, all’s not fair in love. Shahrukh Khan portrayed his role with panache, that of an obsessive, rather psychotic lover – you may feel that his role was highly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s treatment of a mentally disturbed man, like you saw in Psycho (1960).
10) Waqt: Balraj Sahni, Achala Sachdev, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Sunil Dutt, Sadhana… a big and stellar star cast, pure Yash Chopra style. This is highly recommended for anyone who hasn’t watched this movie. For those who didn’t know, the popular song, Ae Meri Zohra Jabeen, came from this film. And you saw Achala Sachdev smile beautifully not just in this film, but also Yashraj Films’ biggest hit so far, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, that was produced by Yash Chopra and directed by his son, Aditya Chopra.
11) Jab Tak Hai Jaan: While this is the least favorite of my entire list of Yash Chopra films, it is still special… ’cause it is the filmmaker’s last film. What bothered me a lot though, was that the film could have had better acting by both the lead actresses (more Katrina Kaif), because we like not just beautiful heroines but also ones who can express themselves well. What’s love without any form of expression?
Well, Yash Ji shall be remembered forever because films never grow old. All you need is a little time to transport yourself back to the era and fall or rise in love… whatever is your calling.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. Let us know what you think in the comment boxes below.