Memories for a lifetime
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From directing songless thrillers (Ittefaq), social stories about the newly partitioned India (Dharamputra), the iconic lost-and-found formulaic film (Waqt), the classic good-vs-bad-brothers film (Deewar), to becoming the very name for romance in Indian cinema (Daag, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni, Lamhe, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Darr, Veer Zaara), Yash Chopra gave us memories for a lifetime. No wonder they call him The Institution.
He touched our lives with poetry and brought Switzerland to Mumbai. There really does exist a Chopra Lake in Alpenrausch, Yashji's favourite place on earth — a honour bestowed on him by the Swiss Government.
It's difficult to encapsulate his contribution to Indian cinema. For many of us — especially lovers and friends — he was Indian cinema. Chopra directed 22 films and furnished a filmmaking style so distinct and individual that it came to be known as the Yash Chopra style. It's not for nothing that when the first teaser of his swan song Jab Tak Hai Jaan was released before the film had a title, many felt the title was unnecessary. Who needed a name for a film when "A Yash Chopra Romance" could communicate it all?
A Yash Chopra Romance was always about the everyman and the everyday. An entire generation fell in love for the very first time while humming Tere chehre se nazar nahin hatthi. The peak of love was with Mera pyaar keh raha hai main tujhe khuda bana doon. The dating ritual got a nod with Dekha ek khwaab toh yeh silsile hue. The height of eternal love is of course Tere liye hum hain jeeye. And who can forget the first-night song — the Kabhi Kabhie poetry.
The various hues of love — timeless love, extramarital affair, obsessive love, older man-younger woman love, soulmate-waala love — Chopra gave us all. Yet he said, "I don't make romantic films. I make films about human relations. Everyone's desire is to love and be loved again and again. Relationships are complex. I never have villains because real life brings with it so many complexities and destiny plays such a crucial part in the fortunes of lovers that you never need villains."
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