Yash Chopra could switch genres with ease, still give hits

  • Rauf Ahmed, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:16 IST

"I'm the sentimental kind, I cry easily while watching a film. Poignant moments move me to tears irrespective of what film I am watching and who has made it..."

The statement might sound a bit mushy coming from a filmmaker of the stature and reputation of late Yash Raj Chopra, who had made such outstanding films as Deewar, Waqt, Ittefaq, Kabhi Kabhie, Darr and Dil To Pagal Hai and Veer Zara and dominated Bollywood for more than five decades like a colossus. But then, it laid bare the cinematic predilection of a director whose feel for the pulse of the audiences had been uncanny. In our country, he often said, a cerebral approach to cinema would be counter productive.We are an emotional people, we respond straight from the heart."

However, when action films took centre stage in the mid '70s, Yash effortlessly switched genres to make outstanding films like Deewar, Trishul and Kaala Pathar. Deewar, which has acquired cult status as a film, stands out as Yash Chopra's magnum opus. It had skyrocketed Bachchan to superstardom overnight, just as Darr and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge had raised Shah Rukh Khan's career to a new high two decades later! Soon after Deewar , Yash came up with another shocker, when he went against the tide to cast the Angry Young Man, Amitabh Bachchan, in the role an ageing, brooding poet, whose romantic past catches up with him, in his next film Kabhi Kabhie (1976). It was a 'dangerous' casting since Bachchan had hit the bigtime as an action hero, but Yash stuck to his guns and won the battle.

With the phenomenal success of two thematically contradictory films in quick succession, Yash proved that 'trends' were a myth."A film seldom goes wrong if it strikes a chord with the the viewers," he always maintained. Yash's impressive record at the box-office lent credence to his assumption.  A majority of the 21 films directed by him have been blockbusters.

(Rauf Ahmed is a senior film journalist)


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