Conversations With Yash Chopra Over The Years

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Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra

Excerpts: Subhash K Jha’s conversations with Yash Chopra over the years…

The ‘Yash Chopra’ romance

“We’ve tried our best. People talk about the romantic aura in our films. Aura aise hi ban jata hai. It’s a process on which I’ve no control. If people expect Veer-Zaara to be the ultimate romantic fable it could be because I’m directing a film after seven years. The curiosity for the film kept growing till the last minute because we couldn’t decide a title. Again, that wasn’t intentional.”

“People’s expectations make me tense and nervous. Will I be able to live up to them? After all these years I get as anxious and insecure about a release as I did when I made my first film. With every film my responsibility towards my audience and my banner increases.”

“If for any avaricious reason I betray my audience, they’ll never forgive me. And to compound my anxieties Veer-Zaara is being released along with Mughal-e-Azam one of the all-time great romantic films which I’ve watched so many times… Actually I had finalized another idea when my son Aditya suggested I make an earthy very Indian film. That’s how Veer-Zaara was born. We finished the film within one year.”

When did Yash Chopra’s romance with romance begin?

“If you go back to my first film Dhool Ka Phool, you’ll see a lot of love scenes in it. The film was about an illegitimate child. And children, as you well know, aren’t born out of thin air. After I wrote my love scenes in Dhool Ka Phool I became hooked to them.”

“I remember in Dhool Ka Phool there was a sequence where a man and woman on different bicycles fell on each other. The censors asked me to delete the scene. Today men and women are falling over each other for no reason. No one raises an eyebrow. When I think of a love scene I don’t calculate how much should be exposed or which angle to capture the lead pair in. It should come from the heart. Otherwise it looks fake. People should connect with the romantic emotion. Not one member of any Indian family would be embarrassed by the love scenes in Veer-Zaara. I’m very happy with what I’ve done in not just Veer-Zaara, but most of my films.”

The ‘action’ genre: Trishul, Kala Patthar and Deewar

“Shall I tell you one thing? Deewaar which is considered one of the most successful action films had only one fight sequence! It was the mother-son emotions that saw the film to its success. Yes Trishul and Kala Patthar were action films. Those subjects came to me and I liked them. Thereafter I had a series of romantic failures like Vijay, Parampara and Faasle.”

“Then one day I was driving down to town from my home in suburbs of Mumbai. Every hoarding that I saw had men holding guns in their hands. I realized I was losing my way. I believed in romantic films, so why wasn’t I making them? That’s how I made Chandni. When I was asked about the film’s highlights I said the songs are the highlights.”

“When a distributor saw Vinod Khanna in a romantic role he left my film! When it was released people predicted it would flop in week. But its success reaffirmed my faith in my vision and my audience. That faith has stood by me all these years.”

Love and romance in today’s cinema

“I think we’ve gone overboard. What we see in today’s films isn’t romance. Love is a very intimate and personal emotion. Our audiences have been exposed to every possible culture and experience on television. In the last 2-3 years our films haven’t been doing well.”

“In desperation, filmmakers have turned murder sex and nudity into formulas. I firmly believe Indian audiences go for strong story with Indian values. That’s the only formula that will last.”

“By showing skin you can’t get your film to make a long-lasting impact. It’s a passing phase. When I made Silsila and Lamhe in 1989 and 1991 people said they were premature creations. When I’m pregnant with an idea I have let it be delivered in its natural course.”