Yash Chopra's parents wanted him to be an engineer, but he was wed to cinema as he entered into the world of cinema at the raw age of 19 years in 1951. But the desire of his parents that he be an engineer continued to reverberate through the rich catalogue of his creations that he has left behind, as each of his craft, be it successful or a failure commercially, is an engineering marvel, characterized by innovation in one form or the other that has enticed and won the customers across generations in the form of footfalls as also by being a part of the discourse among the fans and the aficionados.
It is the scientific bend of mind that triggers the urge to innovate and right from the very first film that he was associated; he had this desire to unsettle the triads of society and question its beliefs and ideologies to make it more humane. Here is a tribute to these social films made by Yash Chopra.
It also is fortuitous that the man who made romance synonymous with Kashmir, when he shot KABHI KABHIE in Kashmir returned to direct his last film JAB TAK HAI JAAN in Kashmir as well. He was indeed the king of white romance, who gave white color, otherwise associated with melancholy a new dimension and made it synonymous with romance. Yash Chopra had this desire to follow in the footsteps of Raj Kapoor and it must have been Raj Kapoor's penchant with white that Yash Chopra also imbibed as his romance, which made him a king of romance was synonymous with white.
When one talks of romance the films that Yash Chopra made indeed have become a trail blazer for romance for the years and the decades in which they were made. To pay tribute to the memory of this romantic here is a tribute down the memory lane through the romantic oeuvre that he has left behind and would be the shining beacon for romantics all over the world till romance is alive:
KABHI KABHIE: With the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi in the background, and the leaves of Chinar creating a floor of flaming red to set the tone in Kashmir, with Amitabh Bachchan and Rakhee sitting below one of the pristine trees draped in different forms of white, what better way to convey romance than through the lilting poetry. Yash Chopra being a poet at heart was able to bring out, unexplored facets of romance through the films that he directed starting from KABHI KABHIE, but nothing still surpasses this film.
DOOSRA AADMI: It again is a milestone film and the genre of romantic songs that he gave to the world through KABHI KABHIE followed in DOOSRA AADMI, where he underlined the fact that a man could err if romance from the marriage starts fading away in the beginning itself. In a subtle manner he also underlined the fact that if a young woman loses her partner then she needs to pick up life and fall in love once again, though he did not take it to the logical conclusion, but the hint was subtle.
SILSILA: Yash Chopra returned to Kashmir once again to create the magic of romance and prodded Javed Akhtar to write the lyrics and the poetry for the film, and he emphasized to the world that when it came to romance nobody could match him. The choice of Netherlands to shoot the song- 'Dekha ek khwab'- suggested by Big B, added enigmatically to romance and indeed the lyrics ?Dekha ek khwab- is synonymous of the romantic sagas that Yash Chopra ventured into, it became 'Silsile'. The color white was again the predominant motif and the master stroke was music directors, Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia.
FAASLE: Though FAASLE was not as successful as SILSILA and KABHI KABHIE, it again is known for its lilting music, and the predominant white color in the film that set the tone for romance. It was Shiv Hari who again gave music and took romance to a new height.
CHANDNI: For the decade of early 90s CHANDNI became a hallmark of romance and the manner in which Yash Chopra used the locations of Switzerland, perhaps earned him laurels at Switzerland and even a lake is named after him. CHANDNI is a quest of romance the underlining motif, being that one should not surrender to the barriers against romance but continue to fight it out.
It was after a long time that Delhi was chosen as one of the locations, and it started being used thenceforth. With CHANDNI Yash Chopra also started the tradition of including nuances of Punjabi culture into his cinematic oeuvre in a big way, and here onwards the minor and major traditions of Punjabi culture became an integral part of the Hindi cinema landscape. Obviously, music of Shiv Hari was a major contributory factor in making it a legend.
LAMHE: Can a romance be restricted by limits of age, not for Yash Chopra! And LAMHE for its theme continues to be a cult film and it was with LAMHE that, Yash Chopra started using location of London in a big way and an element of enigma associated with LAMHE was again owing to the musical magic woven by Shiv Hari.
DARR: Shah Rukh Khan in an interview had remarked that DARR was a major fault line, or the Outlier moment in Hindi cinema, and only a Yash Chopra could do it, of creating a character of an obsessed lover.
The character was the hero, but owing to his element of obsession was also the villain for the film. DARR started a relationship between Shah Rukh Khan and Yash Chopra which continued to his last film JTHJ.
DIL WAALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE: An evergreen film that was seeped in the Punjabi nuances, underlining the existential dilemma of the Diaspora trying to adjust between modernity and culture it gave a new romantic pair to Hindi cinema in the form of Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan and it broke all records previously held. May be, Maratha Mandir cinema hall now needs to create something permanent for the memory of this genius.
DIL TOH PAAGAL HAI: Romance is independent of one being officially engaged, and the heart does not believe in the structures and nuances formulated by the society, when love strikes it strikes, that is why DIL TOH PAAGAL HAI.
It was a modern film, but the idea of romance was eternal that love knows no boundaries, and Madhuri DIxit in pristine white against colorful contrasts of Karisma Kapoor was ethereal, obviously Shah Rukh Khan was the lover boy.
MOHABBATEIN: Second innings of Big B as the character artist was launched owing to MOHABBATEIN and the clash of generations between Shah Rukh Khan and Big B, with the color white playing a predominant role in the background was the highlight of the film. Message again was that romance does not know boundaries and it would ultimately triumph.
VEER ZAARA: VEER ZAARA is a bold film which again underlined the fact that the geographical boundaries created by the political dispersion cannot crush the feelings of longing and the yearn of not giving the hope of meeting of the hearts. It is a cult film as it gave expression to number of romances buried deep in the hearts may be arising out of partition or owing to the differences of religion.
For Yash Chopra love was the religion and the phenomenal success of VEER ZAARA underlined the fact. Indeed the song ' Do pal ruka khawbo ka karwa',- is a statement about the affair that Yash Chopra had with romance on the silver screen.
JAB TAK HAI JAAN: His last film as a director indeed would again sweep the romantics off their floor as there would be no Yash Chopra henceforth to weave the magic. For the romantics across generations, who continue to nurture and kindle the romance in their hearts, it indeed would be their tribute to the memory of the colossal giant of romance to make this one of the biggest films ever when it hits the cinema halls.
Star cast of JTHJ including Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Chopra would indeed feel blessed that they were directed by Yash Chopra.