Mumbai: Legendary Bollywood filmmaker Yash Chopra, 80, passes away today evening at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra. Yash Chopra was admitted to Lilavati Hospital on 13th October, 2012 due to dengue. He died on 21 October, 2012 after a brief battle with the illness.
Yash Raj Chopra (27 September 1932 - 21 October 2012) born in Lahore. He was an film director, screenwriter and film producer, predominantly working in Hindi cinema. Chopra began his career as an assistant director to I.S. Johar and his 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 hard-hitting 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 then rose to prominence after the commercially and critically successful drama, Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of multi-starters in Bollywood.
In 1973, 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 "angry young man" of Bollywood, the romantic drama Kabhi Kabhie (1976) and Trishul (1978). The eighties marked a professional setbacks in Chopra's career as several films he directed and produced in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office, notably Silsila (1981), Mashaal (1984) and Vijay (1988). However, in 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film Chandni which became instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood and bringing back music into Hindi films.
Chopra then directed and produced the cult classic Lamhe in 1991. Considered by critics and Chopra himself as his best work to date. The film was critically acclaimed and became one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market. Chopra followed it with the box-office hit and trend setter Darr (1993). Starring the then-débutant Shahrukh Khan, it showed a sympathetic look at obsessive love and defied the image of the conventional hero. Since then, 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 is chairman and founder of both the motion picture production and distribution company Yash Raj Films which ranks as India's biggest production company as of 2006 and the Yash Raj Studios.
Chopra's career has spanned over five decades and over 50 films.He is considered among one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Hindi cinema. Chopra has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards and eleven Filmfare awards including four Filmfare Award for Best Director. 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 the films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour in the 59-year history of the academy. His last movie was Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012).
In 1993, Yash Chopra directed newcomer Shah Rukh Khan along with Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol in the musical thriller Darr. The movie was the the story of an obsessed lover (Khan) and the lengths to which he goes to get the girl (Chawla) who is already happily engaged to another man (Deol). The film was not only a runaway success but is considered a cult classic today. It also established Khan as a bankable star. He then directed, produced and co-wrote the 1997 highly successful romantic musical Dil To Pagal Hai, starring yet again Khan in a love triangle with Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor. It was the first Bollywood movie to be shot in Germany. The film became the second highest grosser for the year. It won many awards, including sweeping seven Filmfare Awards including that of Best Film and three National Awards, notably for Best Film providing popular and wholesome entertainment yet again. Chopra then took a sabbatical from directing and focused solely on producing films for over eight years. However, in 2004, he returned to direction through the love saga Veer-Zaara. Starring Khan again, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji in the leading roles, the film was the biggest hit of 2004 in both India and overseas, with a worldwide gross of over 940 million and was screened at the 55th Berlin Film Festival to critical appreciation.
The film which narrated the love story of an Indian air-force officer veer Pratabh Singh (Khan) and a Pakistani woman, Zaara Haayat Khan (Zinta) was appreciated by critics. Rama Sharma from The Tribune write, "Giving love its due, Yash Chopra has understandably linked the script to the life of a common man. The pace is exacting. Drawing from the best of the two countries, the story is made more colourful by a spray of the Punjabi culture — be it celebrating Lohri in India or visiting a dargah in Pakistan. He has handled the script cleverly. Whenever the pace begins to slacken, he introduces a new character and a twist."
In September 2012, in an special interview with actor Shahrukh Khan on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, Chopra announced that Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) would be his last directorial venture and that he will opt to focus on his production company and his personal life.
For the shoot of the last remaining song in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, director Yash Chopra had a grand vision: a sari-clad Katrina Kaif romancing Shah Rukh Khan in the lush meadows of the Swiss Alps. But unfortunately, his illness, caused by a bout of dengue, stymied the plan for the song, which would have reflected his trademark directorial style.
Chopra's trip to Switzerland with SRK and Katrina had to be cancelled after he was admitted to Lilavati hospital on Saturday.