Monday, October 22, 2012

Yash Chopra - Jab Tak Thi Jaan...

By Anant Mathur (October 22, 2012)  

It is unfortunate for film fans that Yash Chopra, the king of romance, will not be around to witness the spectacular release of his final directorial venture Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Sadly, Mr. Chopra passed away yesterday, due to dengue, just weeks before the release of his final film.

It was less than a month ago that he celebrated his 80th birthday and announced his retirement from film direction. In his 53 year career, Yash Chopra has given us many memorable films most of which were huge box office successes. He directed 22 films in all including box office smashers like Dhool Ka Phool, Waqt, Deewaar, Veer-Zaara, Silsila, Dil To Pagal Hai, Darr, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni and Kaala Patthar.

Shortly after finding success as a director, Yash Chopra started his own production house Yash Raj Films (YRF), and began producing some of the most loved Bollywood films. Most of us grew up watching YRF films and only have to look in our own lives to see their influence. 

By the early 1990s, there were many Indians residing in cities outside of India, known as NRIs, the children of these Indians had been growing up without any cultural influence or family values. It wasn't until the mid 1990s when films like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Yash Chopra's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge woke this generation of Indians to embrace their culture and values through their stories. Shortly after Dil To Pagal Hai was released it brought a Bollywood dance craze to cities where NRIs resided - Shiamak Davar's name was synonymous with every NRI household - so much so that soon his Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts (SDIPA) dance schools started to open in these cities across the world. 

Today, you can't go into a city where NRIs reside without noticing how involved these indians are in their community, culture and activities related to Bollywood, such was the influence of this man we knew as Yash Chopra.

It was due largely to his faith that the next generation of Indian directors, writers and actors got their big breaks starting with his son Aditya Chopra and the would-be blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. He continued to mentor young talent like Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Karan Johar, Shiamak Davar, Nikhil Advani, Sanjay Gadhvi, Shaad Ali, Siddharth Anand, Kunal Kohli, Kabir Khan, Maneesh Sharma and Farah Khan, who in turn gave a chance to many of the current crop of directors and producers in Bollywood, but it was "Yash Uncle" who started them along the path of their success. I'm positive the current generation will agree with me when I say that he was a man who not only gave them a chance but taught them how to survive in the big bad world that is Bollywood.

Yash Chopra was the last surviving filmmaker of his generation, with his passing we also lose ties to the forefathers who began what is know worldwide as Bollywood. His loss will forever be felt by those who make films and those who love to watch them...

© Anant Mathur. All Rights Reserved.

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