Yash Chopra

Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra was a famous Bollywood director and producer. He was born on 27 September 1939 to a Hindu Punjabi family in Lahore, British India, now in Pakistan. His father used to work as an accountant with the PWD division of the Punjab administration. He was the youngest of eight children and the age gap between him and his eldest brother was 30 years. Notable family members include film maker B.R. Chopra (of Mahabharat fame) and Hiroo Johar (wife of famous film maker Yash Johar and mother of drector, producer and actor Karan Johar). Yash Chopra was raised in Lahore and came to Jalandhar in 1945 to continue his education from Doaba College in the city. After partition, the family moved to India and Yash Chopra initially settled in Ludhiana, Punjab. He wished to be an engineer but was soon driven to Mumbai (then Bombay) to pursue his passion in film making. He started his career as an assistant director to famous film maker I.S. Johar and then for his brother BR Chopra. His first directorial venture was the movie Dhool Ke Phool in 1959 which was produced by his brother. The movie featured famous Bollywood stars of the era Mala Sinha, Rajendra Kumar and Leela Chitnis. The movie was about the upbringing of an illegitimate Hindu child by a Muslim. The film was a hit and received crtical acclaim and commercial success. The success was the precursor to a long association of the brothers as a producer and director. Yash Chopra went on to direct another hit social drama Dharmputra in 1961. The movie was the debut of Shashi Kapoor and was based on the Partition of India. Though the movie was extremely poignant and received the National Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, it also caused a furore amongst the audience. The sensitive topic rung a wrong chord amongst many and screenings were violently disrupted across various parts of the country. This violent reaction deeply saddened Yash Chopra and he was known to consciously avoid making political dramas after that. After that movie, Yash Chopra directed Waqt released in 1965. The movie was a first for a lot of reasons. It was Hindi Cinemas first true multistarrer and had an ensemble cast which included the biggies of the film industry like Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Balraj Sahni, Madan Puri, Sharmila Tagore, Achala Sachdev and Rehman. The movie was essentially based on the lost and found theme and traced the life of a familys members who get divided due to an earthquake. The movie was a grand success and Yash Chopra won his first Filmfare Award for Best Director. He continued to direct many films for his brother like Aadmi aur Insaan and Ittefaq. The movies did not do that well at the box office. In 1971, Yash Chopra decided to go independent and set up his own production company called the Yash Raj Films. His first independent venture as a producer and director was Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Rakhi starrer Daad: a poem of love. The movie traced the story of one man with two wives and was a big commercial and critical success. The success was only the beginning and in his lifetime, Yash Chopra went on to produce 22 films, most of which were the high grosser of the years they were released in. He was known to work repeatedly with some stars and for a long time superstar Amitabh Bachchan was his favorite. The duo has given Indian cinema some of its biggest stories like Deewar and Trishul. Known typically for his drama and romantic movies, people can hardly forget the magic woven by Yash Chopra in all time romantic greats like Kabhie Kabhie and Silsila. Both the movies starred Amitabh Bachchan in the lead roles. He also went through a lean phase in the eighties when his movies seemed to not strike the right chord with the audience. His production and directorial ventures like Mashaal and Faasle failed at the box office and even attracted ire from the critics. The phase though ended in 1989 with a high grosser Chandni starring Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor in the lead and Vinod Khanna in a supporting role. The movie also featured Anupam Kher and Wahida Rehman. The movie was amongst the first movies which started to be branded as a typical Yash Raj movies. Centered on the female character, the movie spans the life of a middle class girl Chandni (played by Sridevi) who meets and falls in love with a rich millionaire Rohit Mehra (played by Rishi Kapoor). The love story was a huge success and Yash Chopra was the king of romance, knowing just the right chords to pull. After the movie, melodious music, strong love stories and excellent foreign locales were all seen as trademark Yash Chopra. He worked with Sridevi, Waheeda Rehman, Anupam Kher and Anil Kapoor again in many films, one of which was Lamhe. The movie released in 1991 was a huge hi overseas but failed to impress the domestic audience. It however continued to be a story rather close to Yash Chopras heart and he was known to have admitted it as one of his all time favorites. Yash Chopra has also worked extensively with superstar Shah Rukh Khan and had a strong bond with him. Yash Chopra had announced that Shah Rukh Khan starrer Jab Tak Hain Jaan would be his last directorial venture and it was during the shooting of the film that he contracted dengue fever and died of the complications of the ailment on 21 October 2012. The movie was a box office success. Yash Chopra produced a total of 42 movies and directed 22 movies during his life. His exemplary work won him 7 National awards, 12 Filmfare awards (which includes a Lifetime Achievement Award conferred to him posthumously), 4 IIFA Awards and 4 Screen Awards. Apart from this, his contribution to the world of cinema has won him much recognition. He was conferred with one of Indias highest civilian honors Padma Bhushan in 2005, France's highest civilian honor, Legion of Honour, Swiss Ambassador's Award in 2010 for his contribution in promoting 'Brand Switzerland' through his movies, the title of Ambassador of Interlaken in 2011 as well as a Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 which is the highest honor in the Indian Film Industry. A postage stamp was also released in 2013 by India Post to honor the legend of Yash Chopra. He leaves behind wife Pamela Sngh and two sons Aditya Chopra (also a director and producer as well as the Vice Chairman of Yash Raj Films) and Uday Chopra (who is also an actor).
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