Yash Chopra: The maker of dreams
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In 1971, Yash Chopra left brother B R Chopra's home as well as production company to set up his own venture. During his last interaction with the media on his 80th birthday on September 27, he recalled: "I had got married and I needed more money. When I told bhai saab he gave me his blessings and told me that from today I was on my own."
His venture's first film, Daag — starring Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Raakhee — released in 1973 to full houses and established his banner, Yash Raj Films (YRF).
Daag was one of the many cinematic love triangles that Chopra became synonymous with. His track record in filmmaking while working with his brother also helped him rope in some of the best talents of the time. While the success of Kabhi Kabhie, Kaala Patthar and Silsila helped establish his banner, his iconic works like Deewaar and Trishul for Gulshan Rai's Trimurti Films made him one of the top directors. "The success of these two films played a key role in YRF becoming a powerful production house. Most actors were keen to work with it," says Ramesh Talwar, who assisted him in the '70s.
Chopra's ability to adapt to the changing times and relate to the pulse of the audience made him the filmmaker of both the classes and the masses. Talwar recalls when the banner after the success of Silsila did not quite keep up the momentum. This, Chopra felt, was because he was making the same films everyone else was making. He decided to think out of the box and made Chandni. It was the starting point for heroine-oriented stories, leading ladies clad in chiffon saris, excellent music, songs shot in Switzerland and unlimited romance. The movies that followed — Lamhe, Darr, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Mohabbatein and Veer Zaara —mostly stuck to the formula. However, even in foreign locales, he stuck to his Punjab roots, with Punjabi characters in almost all films.
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