Who was Yash Raj Chopra? What is Bollywood? Should we confine this column and the recognition that we give film directors, screenwriter and film producers to those domestically.? The film industry is bigger than what is produced in this country. Today we are recognizing a world figure.
On this day, October 21, 2012, Indian film director, screenwriter and film producer, Yash Raj Chopra dies. Born in Lahore, British India, September 27, 1932, Chopra began his career as an assistant director to I.S. Johar and his elder brother, B.R. Chopra. Chopra then rose to prominence after the commercially and critically successful drama, Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of multi-starters in Bollywood. He worked predominantly in Hindi cinema.
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. 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. 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). 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 has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards and eleven Filmfare awards including four Filmfare Award for Best Director.
Admitted to Lilavati Hospital on 13th October, 2012 due to dengue, he died on 21 October, 2012 after a brief battle with the illness.
1921 – Sir Malcolm Arnold (composer: screen scores: David Copperfield, The Chalk Garden, Suddenly, Last Summer, Solomon and Sheba, Island in the Sun, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Trapeze, I Am a Camera, The Belles of St. Trinian’s series, Eye Witness; died Sep 23, 2006)
1933 – Georgia Brown (Lillian Klot) (actress: Oliver, Cheers; died July 5, 1992)
1956 – Carrie Fisher (actress: Star Wars series, The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters, Shampoo; writer: Postcards from the Edge, Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma; daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds)
1976 – Jeremy Miller (actor: Growing Pains, The Willies, Emanon)