Farewell to the Esteemed Time-Keeper of Bollywood Romance – Yash Chopra (1932-2012)

Yash Chopra Films (Credit NTI & YRF)

On Sunday evening, as I sat down to watch the evening broadcast of the news on CNN, a breaking news bulletin streamed across the screen announcing the death of “legendary Indian director Yash Chopra” (and though as an avid Bollywood fan) I had been aware of Chopra’s brief illness in the weeks prior to this one it was still shocking to read such a bulletin. I quickly took to social media to get confirmation and sadly the news proved to be true. My initial reactions were of shock, disbelief, denial, profound sadness, confusion and again shock then a repeat of the previous flood of emotions. As a self-proclaimed social media junkie, I could not tweet or hold the long conversations I am known for with my friends and for once in my life words failed me. Yash Chopra (Yash ji, Yash uncle) was not someone you’d expect to receive news of his death as he always seemed larger than life itself. You could watch a Yash Chopra film and for three hours you would forget your own dramatic and chaotic life and escape into his magical dream world of drama and his signature romance. I would personally come away from watching his films feeling proud to know that the director behind those wonderfully epic films, somewhere still walks this earth. JAB TAK HAI JAAN which he eerily announced would be his last film and is slated for release next month reportedly still had some schedules to be shot. How could he be dead?

So today I decided to come out of mourning the death of one of my favourite film directors of all time, having now accepted his death after watching his funeral yesterday and seeing the outpouring of love and heartbreak from around the world. The words are slowly returning to me but I have to say it is not all coming from a place of love but also aggravation. In fact, I was inspired to come and blog by a message I received this morning from a person named “BeingHonest” who is otherwise anonymous to me but took my recent criticism of Indian director Karan Johar to heart and decided to attack my grief of Yash ji’s passing to prove a point. He/She said and I quote(grammatical errors and all):

@Voiceswrite. 90% of your comments are so irritating. You seem to comment and post just to keep your most active user title going, even if you’re talking rubbish. What on earth do you mean by Karan having no business with the next generation?
Was Yash Chopra stepping out of line in working with his next and next after that generation? (Before you start bashing about comparing Karan to yash Ji, its just an example and yes in 30 years we’ll be remembering ‘classics’ like KKHH and K3G)
I’ve never actually commented on anything you say, as most people sit you in your place but geez.
As for this acual topic – Radha sexy or not. Like it matters. Most hindu goddesses look sexy and provacative. Look at the south Indian temples… its since the beginning of civilisation and good for them. I like that the religion account for all states of human mind. Go Radha ! (yes… I’m hindu). – Being Honest

Let it be noted that my criticism of Karan Johar has nothing to do with any type of fan war or film war between Johar’s new film STUDENT OF THE YEAR (SOTY) or Chopra’s upcoming JAB TAK HAI JAAN. Why that is up for discussion, remains a mystery to me. I respect Johar’s efforts in the entertainment industry and in fact his film KABHIE KUSHIE KABHIE GHAM is one of my all time favourite films of Hindi cinema and I do enjoy his talk-show KOFFEE WITH KARAN. What any of this has to do with Yash Chopra’s death is a $64,000 question you would have to ask my attacker. I never compared Johar to Chopra and I am sure than even Johar himself would never compare himself to Chopra. This is the kind of nonsensical triviality that dogs Bollywood as a whole even till this day, from celebrities trickling all the way down to their fans, it is all in a terrible place right now. I touched on this in my previous post “100 Years of Hindi Cinema”  which was an essay on how a flourishing film industry (Bollywood) is losing sight of itself. There have been many more personal attacks, people trying to tell me how to react or not to react regarding Chopra’s passing but this one particularly caught my attention and inspired me to write because the attacker tried to put words in my mouth that I hadn’t uttered and thoughts that aren’t even mine and never will be.

Leaving triviality behind and stepping back into reality, It is a fact that I have yet to see the majority of Chopra’s twenty-two legendary directorial efforts but I count TRISHUL, SILSILA, KABHI KABHIE, DEEWAAR, DAAG & of course VEER ZAARA among my very favourites of his work. I will miss watching the impeccably beautiful scenes of the chiffon-fabric-clad heroine dancing and being romanced by the hero in the Swiss-Alps, yes sure everybody tries to do that now but nobody can do it like Yash Chopra. I will miss his penchant for intensely dramatic scenes, meaningful well-thought out dialogue, his quest for perfection while keeping it all believable and the fact that I never had to suspend my disbelief too far with his films. I will miss his eye for detail and his legendary respect for his female characters so much so that over the years they have become as popular as to generate their own genre of “The Yash Chopra Heroine” known for her beauty, grace, strong screen presence and of course the chiffon saree among other qualities.

Yash Chopra Heros & Heroines (Credit: YRF)

My Favourite Yash Chopra Personal Quotes:

  • “I believe in my old style of making films. I think I have it in me to make a different film in my own area of romance. Films on human relationships never go out of fashion. Everyone says ‘I love you’ these days. But it’s about how you say it.” 
  • Though, technically, I’m shooting on location, my films are actually based inside a woman’s heart. I think women are more emotional than men, and that’s a thread I’ve explored in all my films. When I see TV these days, I’m shocked at how all the main women characters are portrayed as evil. Women are the foundation of everything, and they deserve to be treated that way on camera.
  • You can always make a good film but for it to be successful, you need God’s blessing. 


Thank you for sharing your gift with the world Yash ji, now rest in perfect peace, Amen.


Credits: YRF, IMDB & News Track India


5 thoughts on “Farewell to the Esteemed Time-Keeper of Bollywood Romance – Yash Chopra (1932-2012)

  1. LOL I get attacked by some of those types too, but I don’t take it personally, I think they really just aspire to attack the lady in my avatar pic! Serial avatar abusers, haha. Back to Yash Chopra, his passing is too tragic and I just hope that JTHJ comes out the way he envisioned it. Of his films my fave has gotta be the epic Deewar.

  2. My least favourite has gotta be Dil To Pagal Hai, I just don’t get it. I don’t. And I don’t understand how it got a National Award… don’t get me wrong I love SRK but the film was OTT in a baaaad way IMO.

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