Memories for a lifetime

Yash Chopra

From directing songless thrillers (Ittefaq), social stories about the newly partitioned India (Dharamputra), the iconic lost-and-found formulaic film to beat all (Waqt), the classic good-vs-bad-brothers film (Deewar with Indian cinema's most iconic line, 'mere paas maa hai'), to becoming the very name for romance in Indian cinema (Daag, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni, Lamhe, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Darr, Veer Zaara) — Yash Chopra gave us memories for a lifetime. No wonder they term him The Institution.

He touched our lives with poetry, brought Switzerland to Mumbai and gave us tulips and red rose petals. There really does exist a Chopra Lake in Alpenrausch, Yashji's favourite place on earth — a honour bestowed on him by the Swiss Government.

It's difficult to encapsulate Yash Chopra's contribution to Indian cinema. For many of us — especially lovers and friends — he was Indian cinema. Chopra directed 22 films and furnished a filmmaking style so distinct and individual that it came to be known as the Yash Chopra style. It's not for nothing that when the first teaser of his soon-to-be-released swan song Jab Tak Hai Jaan featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif was released before the film had a title, many felt the title was unnecessary. Who needed a name for a film when "A Yash Chopra Romance" could communicate it all?

A Yash Chopra Romance was always about the everyman and the everyday. An entire generation fell in love for the very first time while humming Tere chehre se nazar nahin hatthi. The peak of love was with Mera pyaar keh raha hai main tujhe khuda bana doon. The dating ritual got a nod with Dekha ek khwaab toh yeh silsile hue. The height of eternal love is of course Tere liye hum hain jeeye. And who can forget the Yash Chopra-fication of the first-night song — the Kabhi Kabhie poetry.

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