by Arpita Mehta – Boston University
Iconic filmmaker, Yash Chopra, passed away at the age of 80 on Sunday in Mumbai due to dengue fever. For those who do not know the impact Yash Chopra had on Indian cinema, he was the man who introduced romance to Bollywood. He began his career five decades ago, and ever since, has been directing and producing Indian films that have forever changed Indian cinema. He has received numerous awards, including the prestigious lifetime membership to BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), making him the first Indian to ever receive this honor in over 59 years. He has directed 24 films in his career and produced over 52 films. In the Indian film fraternity, he was regarded as a visionary and leader – a man who helped transform Bollywood over the years.
His death shocked Indians all over the world who had grown up watching films by Yashji. He was solely responsible for making romance come alive on the screen, as thousands of young Indians grew up watching his films and singing along to the beautiful melodies from Kabhie, Kabhie, Silsila, Lamhe, Dil To Pagal Hain, and Veer-Zaara. He was truly an inspiration, and his death marked the end of an era in Bollywood, one filled with magic love stories, romance that was passionate and beautiful, and larger than life movies that turned into classics.
Bollywood celebrities felt the pain and shared their emotions via social media outlets when news of his death was spread. Actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was the star of many Yash Chopra productions lamented on his blog about losing a lifetime friend. He was quoted saying, “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.” Yashji was last seen at Bachchan’s 70th birthday celebrations last month. Actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted, “Today I understand the phrase ‘The end of an era. RIP Yash uncle”, and many other actors like Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan, and Shabana Azmi shared their grief via Twitter. To say that the pain of his death was felt by lovers of Indian cinema worldwide is an understatement.
Yashji’s last film starring Sharukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, and Anushka Sharma is set to release on November 13th. It’s titled “Jab Tak Hain Jaan” and is a classic Yash Chopra romance film. The title translates to, “till my last breath”, and in a truly dignified manner, Yash Chopra directed and produced films till his last breath.
He will forever be the man who brought romance to Bollywood cinema.
His legacy will stay alive in Indian cinema forever.