Yash Chopra’s 85th birth anniversary: Some lesser known facts about the filmmaker

Updated on Sep 27, 2017 01:14 PM IST

Did you know Yash Chopra rejected 54 dresses designed by Manish Malhotra for Dil To Pagal Hai? Or that there is a lake named after him in Switzerland? Here’s a look at the iconic filmmaker’s life on his 85th birth anniversary.

Late filmmaker Yash Chopra once said that he doesn’t make‘romantic films’, rather he makes films that highlight ‘human relationships’.
Late filmmaker Yash Chopra once said that he doesn’t make‘romantic films’, rather he makes films that highlight ‘human relationships’.
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

Bollywood’s very own ‘King Of Romance’, late Yash Chopra’s contribution to the Hindi film industry is no doubt unparalleled. The way he wove human emotions into a story could be felt easily on the silver screen. In his words, “I don’t make romantic films. I make films about human relationships.”

A mention of his name and film buffs would recall a bunch of movies in a heartbeat. That’s the kind of magic he had upon his audience. Be it Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Silsila (1981), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991) or Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) and Veer-Zaara (2004), his bouquet of work says it all.

Nothing could possible bog his undying spirit. Even when his films didn’t work, he made sure to work harder and make a better film next time. “I’ve been able to make some wonderful films, but sometimes you make films with great passion - great belief - and these films slightly don’t work at the box office, and they become your favourite films,” he had once said.

The filmmaker was married to Pamela [Singh] Chopra, and the couple has two sons, Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra . While Aditya is a filmmaker, who has directed films such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) Uday is an actor-producer, who stars in the Dhoom franchise and has produced International films such as Grace Of Moncao (2014)

Yash Chopra died of Dengue in October 21, 2012, in Mumbai. Leading Bollywood celebrities paid him tributes, with actor Shah Rukh Khan saying that he had lost a father figure. “Yashji had a different quality in him. Whenever he called up he used to introduce himself and say ‘Hello Yash bol raha hoon’. Then he would ask me, ‘ where are you?’ as soon as I gave the answer he just used to hang up the phone without listening to what I had to tell him,” the actor said. “I‘m in shock and numb, can’t believe the news, the man who immortalised love, Mr. Yash Chopra is no more,” tweeted actor Akshay Kumar. “An association of 44 years abruptly comes to an end. He went away too soon and too suddenly. He deserved to be with us longer. Yash Chopra, a friend first, a creative legend later, has passed away this (Sunday) evening in the late hours,” Amitabh wrote on his blog.

Today, on the occasion of his 85th birth anniversary, we take a look back at his wonderful journey and bring you a few lesser known facts about the director.

1. His elder brother BR Chopra used to produce his films. Yash Chopra made his debut as a director Dhool Ka Phool (1959). In his words, “When I was in college, my brother, BR Chopra, who is everything to me, was a director in Bombay. He taught me filmmaking. What I am today is because of him.”

2. In 1971, he worked towards setting up his own production house. He named his production house Yashraj films that started in 1973. The first production was late Rajesh Khanna starrer Daag. It is said that the raj in Yashraj was for Rajesh Khanna.

3. Few of his unromantic films have also been a hit with the audience, mostly for their uniqueness Waqt (1965)—India’s first multi-starrer, Ittefaq (1969) — thriller sans songs, and Deewaar (1975) — action-packed film that made Amitabh Bachchan a star.

Love this pic! The little one is my brother

A post shared by Uday Chopra (@udayc) on

4. He shot so many films in Switzerland that one of his favourite shooting spots, a lake in Alpenrausch, has been renamed Chopra Lake. Switzerland’s Jungfrau Railways started a train after Yash Chopra that was also launched by him.

A still from the film Silsila.
A still from the film Silsila.

5. He roped in Smita Patil and Parveen Babi for Silsila (1981) but then he expressed to Amitabh that he is keen on having Jaya Bachchan and Rekha in the film. AB senior told him they should discuss the idea with the two actors and when approached, both Jaya and Rekha agreed.

6. Reportedly, Yash Chopra is the one who encouraged Javed Akhtar to pursue writing lyrics and he helped Akhtar star his career as a lyricist with Silsila.

Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in Veer-Zara.
Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in Veer-Zara.

7. Veer Zara was originally titled Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum after the famous song in the film, Silsila. Then he thought Veer-Zaara suits the story of the film that released in 2004.

8. He used to repeat his actors in his films and among those whom he worked with in a number of films are Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji. He made four films with Shah Rukh and made many films with Amitabh Bachchan, Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor.

Shah Rukh Khan with Yash Chopra at an event.
Shah Rukh Khan with Yash Chopra at an event.
Karisma Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit Nene in
Karisma Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit Nene in

9. For the film Dil to Pagal Hai (1997), Yash Chopra rejected 54 dresses designed by Manish Malhotra for Madhuri Dixit Nene’s character. He finally approved simple salwar kameez for her character in the film.

10. In 2005, the Government bestowed upon him Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi films.

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    Shreya Mukherjee is a senior content producer at Hindustan Times. She has spent over eight years covering entertainment, features and hard-news. When not writing, her passion for travel, literature, films and music gets her going.

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