Yash Chopra the social reformer: way ahead of his times

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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.

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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.

DHOOL KA PHOOL: Could any director think about making a film on pre-marital sex and the pitfalls arising out of it, but Yash Chopra had the guts to make a film more than 60 years ago in 1959.

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It also is a film with a strong message of religious harmony where a Hindu child born out a wedlock is brought up by a Muslim, and the song of the film- Tu Hindu banega na Mussalman banega, insaan kee aulad hai insane banega, -still is an aspiration of harmony that India as a country has to achieve.

DHARAMPUTRA : Directed by Yash Chopra for his brother B R Chopra in 1961, it was a scathing comment on religious bigotry, fundamentalism, fanaticism and communalism in the backdrop of partition of the country.

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The film was way ahead of his times and is a must see for all if one wants to have an understanding about Partition and its aftermath. It was the first film for Shashi Kapoor as an adult actor, and the association that started in 1960s continued till the end.

WAQT: It was the first multi-starrer film of Hindi cinema that started the tradition of lost and found and it continues to be a milestone. Yash Chopra won his first Filmfare award as the best director for WAQT and he was the only person who was a part of all the 58 Filmfare Awards.

AADMI AUR INSAAN: The canker of corruption that continues to plague civil constructions these days was highlighted in succinct detail in AADMI AUR INSAAN and the detailed manner in which processes associated in civil construction were highlighted underlined the fact that indeed Yash Chopra had a mind of an engineer.

DAAG: First film under the Yash Raj Banners, DAAG was a film that highlighted the trials and tribulations that a man faces when he marries two times unknowingly. Coming at the time when Rajesh Khanna was at his peak of popularity it was a major hit for YSR and set the ball rolling for the banner.

TRISHUL: The pain and pathos of a child born out of a wedlock, which he had touched upon in DHOOL KA PHOOL was revisited by Yash Chopra in TRISHUL, where the focus was the sense of pain and anguish that the child has and the seething desire to seek revenge from the society for the ignominy that the child has received. Big B gave one of his best performances in his acting career.

MASHAAL: It was the comeback film for Dilip Kumar and it underlined how circumstances can change an individual and how the rejection or acceptance by the society can be the catalyst to adhere to the norms or revolt against the norms. MASHAAL also looked critically at the manner in which the business of news is governed.

CHAK DE INDIA: It was the first sports film which dwelt in detail on the manner in which business of sports is governed in India and it has emerged as a cult film as far as drawing inspiration to achieve an objective is concerned. It also had a subtle message that we as Indians need to get out of our cloistered view of seeing relationships through the prism of the religious bigotry. The defining moment of the film was when Shahrukh Khan returns to his house after his team has won and a child erases the writing- gaddar- from his wall.

ISHAQZAADE: ISHAQZAADE was modern look at Hindu-Muslim romance and the narrative set in small town India where the religious ideologies define existence and are used to settle scores was a hard hitting film, underlining the fact that at heart the woes of partition continued to be a pang in his heart and he wanted to give message that love knows no boundaries.

ISHAQZAADE in particular underlined that lust is momentary and love is eternal and lust may be couched in love to enter into physical relationship and settle scores at social levels, love eventually triumphs as physical surrender is its manifestation and the memories of it are catalyst to kindle romance.

Yash Chopra has left an amazing repertoire of work for the researchers to delineate social messages through his film and he would continue to be a shinning beacon, who went against grain to show mirror to the society.

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