With only weeks until the release of his new film, Yash Raj Chopra, died earlier this week from complications of dengue fever, shocking fans, family, and colleagues alike.
The Bolly world came to a halt and mourned the loss of the most cheerful, adorable director around, that taught the Indian film industry, how to love.
I’ve collected a couple of his recent quotes and videos regarding his work below.
The director of “love,” stepped back behind the camera, earlier this year for his new film after a seven-year hiatus, in what I feel gives new meaning to the “seven-year itch.” The film had been rumored for quite awhile but remained hush-hush for so long, that the title of the film was only released a little over a month ago. Jab Tak Hai Jaan will star Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif in yet another exploration of Yashji’s understanding of romance. Each of his films touches an aspect of the human love experience, that it is forever memorable and becomes an instant treasured classic. From Waqt to Darr or Sisila to Dil To Pagal Hai, Chopra had the uncanny gift, to search through the heart and shine upon its depths, making longing, desperation, separation or obsession empathetic commodities of romance.
Earlier this month, Chopra commented on JTHJ and his return as a director:
“It’s been 7 years since I directed Veer-Zaara and as I begin work on my new film I hear my inner voice asking me a lot of questions. Are you sure you want to direct again, you are nearly 80 years old and the audience is getting younger day by day. Can I really speak from my heart and still expect today’s youth to listen to me? Will I be able to live up to the blind faith that Shahrukh Khan has in me and give him yet another memorable romantic film? Will I be able to present the beautiful Katrina Kaif and the very talented Anushka Sharma in a way they have never been seen before? Will I be able to inspire Rahman and Gulzar Bhai enough to create their best work yet?
The honest answer is… I DON’T KNOW! All I know is that I’m making a film that I believe in, a film that is about love and nothing else. A film which has an old soul but a young heart. A film which is classic in its look but contemporary in its language. A film which I’m making on one simple faith… the love that my audiences have given to me over the years. They have tolerated my indulgences for the past 50 years, I’m sure they will indulge me one more time.”
Losing Chopra is seen as the end of a cinematic era in his country and that is no understatement. Recently, he spoke about his conviction concerning films, saying: ” I always believe that my films should give some hope to the man who comes to watch them for three hours. If he goes home on an optimistic note, I would feel satisfied at having done my duty.”
A swarm of surprise, gratitude and love swarmed net mediums this entire week with compassion and solace over his passing. Lata Mangeshkar, famed playback singer and close friend, reiterated Yashji’s words with her own praise– “He was an entire institution in film making. He made every frame look so beautiful. There’s so much misery. squalor and poverty in real life, The man on the street went to see a Yash Chopra film to live a dream where everything was picture-perfect, where women were lovely visions in chiffon saris shot against picturesque backdrops in Switzerland and Amsterdam. I am proud and privileged to have given voice to Yashji’s lovely heroines.”
Chopra also announced at his 80th birthday party, in an interview with Shah Rukh Khan (below), his intentions to entire after the release of JTHJ, stating, he “wanted to live, while he still had the chance.” I’m not one to believe that anyone is taken “too soon” from their own lives, but the statement never ceases to be true for those left behind. One can’t begin to convey, the void Chopra will leave but thankfully, his legacy is much greater.
After his death, Chopra was kept in an upper room within YRF Studios, for those wishing to see him and give their condolences to family (wife, Pamela and two sons, Aditay and Uday). Here’s a clip of his funeral held on the 22nd.