Remembering Yash Chopra on his 85th birth anniversary.
Yash Raj Chopra (27 September 1932–21 October 2012) was an Indian film director and film producer, predominantly working in Hindi cinema. Yash Chopra began his career as an assistant director to I. S. Johar and elder brother, B.R. Chopra. He made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959, a melodrama about illegitimacy, and followed it with the social drama Dharmputra (1961).
Encouraged by the success of both films, the Chopra brothers made several more movies together during the late fifties and sixties. Chopra rose to prominence after his commercially and critically successful drama, Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of ensemble casts in Bollywood.
In 1969, Chopra founded his own production company, Yash Raj Films, and launched it with Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), a successful melodrama about a polygamous man. His success continued in the seventies, with some of Indian cinema’s most successful and iconic films, including the action thriller Deewar (1975), which established Amitabh Bachchan as the leading actor in Bollywood; the romantic drama Kabhie Kabhie (1976) and Trishul (1978).
The period from late seventies to 1989 marked a professional setback in Chopra’s career; several films he produced or directed in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office, notably Doosra Aadmi (1977), Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985) and Vijay (1988). In 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film Chandni, which became instrumental in ending the era of violent films in Bollywood and returning musicals.
Chopra directed and produced the cult classic Lamhe in 1991. Considered by critics and Chopra himself as his best work to date, the film became one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market, although underperforming at the domestic box office. In 1992 he directed Parampara which was critically panned and was a box office failure. Chopra followed it with the box-office hit and trend setter Darr (1993). Starring Shahrukh Khan, it was a sympathetic look at obsessive love and defied the image of the conventional hero. -Chopra directed three more romantic films, all starring Khan; Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Veer-Zaara (2004), and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), before he announced his retirement from directing in 2012.
Chopra founded and was chairman of the motion picture production and distribution company Yash Raj Films, which ranks as India’s biggest production company as of 2006, as well as Yash Raj Studios. Chopra’s career has spanned more than five decades and 50 films; he is considered one of the leading filmmakers in the history of Hindi cinema. He came to be known as the “King of Romance” of the Indian cinema. Chopra has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards and eleven Filmfare awards, including four Filmfare Best Director awards. The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. BAFTA presented him with a lifetime membership for his contribution to films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour.