Yash Chopra: King of Romance

Yash Raj Chopra forever changed the face of Indian romantic comedy, a genre that the world was to become the most distinctive among the many Bollywood productions, and of which he himself was long the backbone, while maneuvering effectively in other films. His was the director of the thriller Deewar, that launched the superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the iconic role of the angry young man, that so marked the beginning of the career of the star.

The duo of Chopra and Bachchan will be found later on to work in other successful films like Kabhi Kabhie and Trishul, but it is the definition which has become commonly used for a certain kind of romance, Yash Chopra, in fact, that certainly characterizes the long career of the director and producer, a career that spanned 50 years and 50 films.

Born September 27, 1932 in a Punjabi family in Lahore, Pakistan, Chopra moved to India after the Partition with the idea to undertake studies in Engineering. But the passion for cinema led him instead to begin working as an assistant director to IS Johar, and then for his own older brother, Baldev Raj Chopra.

Encouraged by the success, in the 50s and 60s, Chopra brothers produced several films together, including one that saw the debut of Yash Raj direction in 1959, Dhool Ka Phool. But the real success for him came in 1965, directing Waqt, a family drama from the cast and important that inaugurated for the first time in India productions performed by more star and no longer focus on a single artist booster.

In 1973, Chopra founded his own production company, the Yash Raj Films, launched with the production of Daag: A Poem of Love, hit film starring the pair Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna. And if the 80's were then marked by a substantial decline, with several flasks of much criticism because of the box office, right at the end of the decade, obtaining a great success with Chandni, who was to inaugurate his long journey in romantic comedies.

1991 was also the year of  Lamhe since 1993 and was to begin his association with Shah Rukh Khan, with the romantic psychological thriller Darr, which proportioned to both an extraordinary success. Chopra has since directed SRK in 3 other romantic movies, Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Veer Zaara (2004) and  Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), at the end of which Chopra had announced his retirement.

He received many awards during his career, among which 6 National Film Awards and 11 Filmfare awards, including 4 for Best Director, as well as the  Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contribution to the Arts in India.

Yash Chopra is a monumental Bollywood director and successful producer for over forty years, his production company Yash Raj Films has become a recognizable label in style: romantic, emotional, giving the lead to the heroines in media even wealthy elite, with music that became classics instantly launched and clips shot abroad, especially in Switzerland.

The greatest strength of this producer is undoubtedly to remain faithful to his label but knowing adapt to the times and meet public expectations by providing more a kind of freshness, Deewaar (1975) at Veer -Zaara (2005) through Chandni (1989), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) Saathiya (2002), Hum Tum (2004), Chak De! India (2007) and his latest, Jab tak hai Jaan.

Yash Chopra is the youngest in a family of eight children installed near Lahore, now in Pakistan. The first of the Chopra to come live in Bombay, both to escape the riots in the post-independence to work in film, is the brother of Yash, Baldev Raj Chopra, eighteen years her senior. BR Chopra is producer and director, including Afsana, a great success of 1951.

Although naturally more attracted to poetry, the young Yash decides to dedicate to the cinema in coming to work with his brother. It would prefer it to do engineering studies. But it gives him a year to prove himself and allows him to direct his first film in 1959, Dhool Ka Phool it is already successful at the box office. They produce and perform all such Waqt (1965) and Ittefaq (1969), for which Yash Chopra will receive the award for best director.

Yash then takes off and creates Yash Raj Films in 1973. He set for his first productions on a little known young actor. Amitabh Bachchan Deewaar in 1975 marks the beginning of the success of the actor as the producer. The angry young man became the label of the budding star, and represents a new kind of film that will mark the years 70-80s social film that denounces corruption and inequality, reflecting a society that resents dysfunctions and authoritarianism of his government.

Yet Yash Chopra's romantic fiber, and it quickly returns to his favorite genre with Kabhie Kabhie, where we find Amitabh Bachchan in the role of a gentle poet, the opposite of Deewaar success is new appointment. The 80s are more difficult, Yash Chopra returns to the front of the stage with Chandni in 1989, Lamhe in 1991 (his favorite movie), and making new trust an almost unknown Shah Rukh Khan, in 1993, who plays in Darr .

But it is the arrival of his son Aditya which will give a real boost to Yash Raj Films and propel the company in ten years at the forefront of Indian producers and distributors. It is indeed Aditya Chopra who wrote the script and realizing the Jayenge Dilwale Dulhania in 1995, a great popular success which marks a new era for the production company. Moreover, Aditya actively working to develop and diversify the activities of the family business. It is a bit difficult to navigate, as the activities are numerous and complementary.

On the production side, Yash and Aditya Chopra discover and focus the talents of young filmmakers, some are true discoveries but do not necessarily last, like Kunal Kohli for Mujhse Dosti Karoge and Hum Tum and Fanaa, Shaad Ali Sahgal for Saathiya, Bunty aur Babli, Sanjay Gadhvi for Dhoom 1 and 2, Siddharth Anand for Salaam Namaste these securities were truly innovative and / or good entertainment when they came out, but do not fit in the ranking of major producers, some years later.
Incidentally, Yash Raj Films has managed to convince two big stars back on the plates: Kajol for Fanaa in 2006, Madhuri Dixit in Aaja Nachle in 2007.

Since 2006 the real successes are rarer, but you can still greet real nuggets like Band Baaja Baaraat in 2010, Jab tak hai Jaan, the testament of Yash. The rest is by Aditya Chopra, but succession seems assured with Dhoom 3 in 2013 and Gunday in 2014.

Post-production side, Yash Raj Films has acquired ultra-modern air-conditioned studios, the largest of all India for indoor shooting, with all the integrated services they use and rent more any Bollywood industry. The company also has a marketing cell, a design studio, a web agency.
The company innovates in 2007 in co-producing with Walt Disney Studios its first animated film Roadside Romeo , released in 2008, but with little success: it looks too much like Walt Disney especially in Lady and the Tramp.

Distribution side, Yash Raj Films has not only developed its distribution network for its own movies and music, but also distributes other like Black and My Brother Nikhil. Yash Raj Films Home Entertainment sells movies, DVDs and CDs in India overseas with offices in London, New York and Dubai. The company also bought the distribution rights for video production houses BR Films the brother of the production house Yash and RK Films, created by Raj Kapoor.

Yash Chopra has always been very attentive to his musical choices, alternating westernized sources, like Dil To Pagal Hai and Salaam Namaste , and traditional sources, like Veer-Zaara whose original soundtrack was created by Madan Mohan there has over twenty years and reworked by his son Sanjeev Kohli.

The Yash Raj empire does not just distribute music, another branch produces musical TV shows: Meri Awaz suno, New star made ​​in India, and Meri pasand where celebrities come to sing their favorite film songs. Yash Chopra is a leading Bollywood director, perhaps even he invented the style, one that has survived in Europe, the beautiful movies with great ideals, means a certain perception of life and dreams , sometimes a moral probation, which faces the taboos, and gives pride to the highest feelings, even if the human is sometimes misguided way. The last two films of Yash Chopra are Veer-Zaara and Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

If we speak of heritage, Veer-Zaara is this Yash that would bequeath to the world, his vision of his two brothers-enemies countries, India and Pakistan, and the natural arrangement that should / could exist between them. In Jab Tak Hai Jaan, this is more of a leg in the personal sense: live your life, going after your dreams, do not let anyone deny the power or religions or political differences or generation, live your life.

When you put it in perspective with film Silsila and Kabhi Kabhie, we see sociological Advanced India, and we can only thank Yash, the great Yash, for allowing us to approach so slightly. At the end of Jab tak hai Jaan, his producer son honors his father, and well worth the trouble to look through the credits. Personally, I cried with emotion and gratitude.

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