Yash Chopra

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Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra cropped.jpg
Yash Chopra at Suzanne Roshan's The Charcoal Project Launch
BornYash Raj Chopra
(1932-09-27)27 September 1932
Lahore, Punjab, British India
Died21 October 2012(2012-10-21) (aged 80)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
OccupationDirector, Script Writer, Producer
Years active1959–2012
Spouse(s)Pamela Yash Chopra
ChildrenAditya Chopra
Uday Chopra
RelativesBaldev Raj Chopra (Brother)
Dharam Raj Chopra (Brother)
SignatureEnglish signature of Yash Chopra
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Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra cropped.jpg
Yash Chopra at Suzanne Roshan's The Charcoal Project Launch
BornYash Raj Chopra
(1932-09-27)27 September 1932
Lahore, Punjab, British India
Died21 October 2012(2012-10-21) (aged 80)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
OccupationDirector, Script Writer, Producer
Years active1959–2012
Spouse(s)Pamela Yash Chopra
ChildrenAditya Chopra
Uday Chopra
RelativesBaldev Raj Chopra (Brother)
Dharam Raj Chopra (Brother)
SignatureEnglish signature of Yash Chopra

Yash Raj Chopra (Hindi: यश राज चोपड़ा; 27 September 1932 – 21 October 2012)[1] was an Indian film director, script writer and film producer, predominantly working in Hindi cinema.[2] Yash Chopra began his career as an assistant director to I. S. Johar and elder brother, B.R. Chopra. He made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959, a melodrama about illegitimacy, and followed it with the social drama Dharmputra (1961).

Encouraged by the success of both films, the Chopra brothers made several more movies together during the late fifties and sixties. Chopra rose to prominence after his commercially and critically successful drama, Waqt (1965), which pioneered the concept of ensemble casts in Bollywood.

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. His success continued in the seventies, with some of Indian cinema's most successful and iconic films, including the action thriller Deewar (1975), which established Amitabh Bachchan as the leading actor in Bollywood; the romantic drama Kabhie Kabhie (1976) and Trishul (1978).

The period from late seventies to 1989 marked a professional setback in Chopra's career; several films he produced or directed in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office, notably Doosra Aadmi (1977), Mashaal (1984), Faasle (1985) and Vijay (1988). In 1989, Chopra directed the commercially and critically successful cult film Chandni, which became instrumental in ending the era of violent films in Bollywood and returning musicals.

Chopra directed and produced the cult classic Lamhe in 1991. Considered by critics and Chopra himself as his best work to date, the film became one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market, although underperforming at the domestic box office. In 1992 he directed Parampara which was critically panned and was a box office failure. Chopra followed it with the box-office hit and trend setter Darr (1993). Starring Shahrukh Khan, it was a sympathetic look at obsessive love and defied the image of the conventional hero. -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 founded and was chairman of the motion picture production and distribution company Yash Raj Films, which ranks as India's biggest production company as of 2006, as well as Yash Raj Studios. Chopra's career has spanned more than five decades and 50 films; he is considered one of the leading filmmakers in the history of Hindi cinema. He came to be known as the "King of Romance" of the Indian cinema. Chopra has won several film awards, including six National Film Awards and eleven Filmfare awards, including four Filmfare Best Director awards.[3] The Government of India honoured him with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2005 for his contributions towards Indian cinema. BAFTA presented him with a lifetime membership for his contribution to films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour.

Early life[edit]

Manoj Raj Chopra (sitting left) and Yash Chopra attending audio release of Naya Daur. At the start of his career Yash Chopra worked as an assistant director for his director-producer older brother, Baldev Raj Chopra.[4][5]

A Hindu Punjabi, Chopra was born on 27 September 1935 in india,[4] British India now Pakistan[6][7] His father was an accountant in the PWD division of the British Punjab administration. He was the youngest of eight children,[8] the oldest of whom was almost 30 years his senior. He was largely brought up in the Lahore house of his second brother, Baldev Raj Chopra, then a film journalist.[9] Chopra went to Jalandhar in 1945 to continue his education, and studied at Doaba College, Jalandhar.[10] He moved to Ludhiana in Punjab (in India) after the Partition.[5] He originally sought to pursue a career in engineering.[9]

His passion for film-making led him to travel to Bombay (now Mumbai), where he initially worked as an assistant director to I. S. Johar, and then for his director-producer brother, Baldev Raj Chopra.[4][5]

Early career[edit]

Chopra received his first directorial opportunity in 1959 with the social drama Dhool Ka Phool,[9] produced by his elder brother B.R. Chopra and starring Mala Sinha, Rajendra Kumar and Leela Chitnis. The film revolved around a Muslim bringing up an 'illegitimate' Hindu child.[4] The film was well received by critics and became the fourth-highest grossing film of the year. Encouraged by their success, the Chopras made another hard-hitting social drama, Dharmputra (1961).[11] It was one of the first films to depict the Partition of India[9] and Hindu fundamentalism. The film marked the debut of Shashi Kapoor in a fully fledged role and was awarded with the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. Theatrical screenings of the film were disrupted by violent demonstrations in response to its raw depiction of the partition riots and related sloganeering. Chopra avoided making political films after that.

Chopra's collaboration with his brother continued in the form of the 1965 film Waqt,[4] which featured an ensemble cast including Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sadhana, Balraj Sahni, Madan Puri, Sharmila Tagore, Achala Sachdev and Rehman. The film became a commercial and a critical success. It is acknowledged as a 'found film' of the 'lost and found' genre. Setting many other trends, it was one of Indian cinema's first multi-starrers,[4] a mode which became increasingly popular among the producers during the 1970s. It also began the now obligatory style of depicting wealth and social class. Chopra received his first Filmfare Best Director Award for the film.

In 1969, Chopra directed two movies produced by his brother. The first was Aadmi Aur Insaan,[4] the Chopra film to feature Dharmendra in the lead. It was an average grosser. He directed Ittefaq (1969),[4] a suspense movie based on a Gujarati play, depicting the events of a single night, with Rajesh Khanna in the lead role. Shot in a month and on a low budget, the film was deemed unusual by critics. It one of the first Hindi films which did not have any songs or an interval. It was eventually declared a semi-hit[12] at the box office and won Chopra another Filmfare award for best director.

Formation of Yash Raj Films[edit]

Amitabh Bachchan (left) and Yash Chopra in the premiere of Paa Chopra made a number of classic cult films starring Amitabh Bachchan.[4] Chopra's Deewar gave Amitabh Bachchan the tag "Angry Young Man".[13]

In 1971, Chopra founded the independent Yash Raj Films, terminating his creative collaboration with his brother.[3][9] His first independently produced film, Daag: A Poem of Love (1973),[14] a melodrama about a man with two wives, with Rajesh Khanna in the lead role, was a great success.

He directed a number of classic cult films starring Amitabh Bachchan and scripted by Salim-Javed, notably Deewaar and Trishul, which were great hits and remain popular even today.[13] These films set the trend for the late 70s and 80s, establishing Bachchan as a superstar in his role as the angry young man. Chopra won another Filmfare Best Director Award for Deewaar. Chopra produced, directed and scripted two more films starring Bachchan. Unlike his earlier action-oriented films, these two were romantic dramas: Kabhi Kabhie (1976)[3][4] followed by Silsila (1981).[3] Yash Chopra inspired Javed Akhtar to become a lyricist, starting from this film.[15]

The eighties marked a professional setback in Chopra's career, as several films he directed and produced in that period failed to leave a mark at the Indian box office. His film Mashaal (1984) was his first collaboration with the legendary actor, Dilip Kumar. The action-oriented film, which was based on the well-known Marathi play titled Ashroonchi Zhali Phule, won critical acclaim but fared only average at the box-office. A year later, he made Faasle. The romantic drama starring Sunil Dutt, Rekha, and Rohan Kapoor was a critical and commercial failure.[5] He and critics consider it his worst film. Vijay (1988)[4] was also a box office failure.[5] The film received mixed reviews from critics and was dubbed a remake of Trishul.

Chopra's lean phase ended in 1989 with the highly successful cult classic Chandni,[4] a film with all the hallmarks of what has come to be known as the "Yash Chopra style": heroine-oriented, romantic, emotional, depicting the lifestyle of the super elite, with melodic music used in songs picturised in foreign locations. It marked the first collaboration between the filmmaker and the established heroine, Sridevi. The huge success of its music was instrumental in ending the era of violence in Bollywood films and bringing back music into Hindi films. It also reaffirmed Sridevi's position as the top female star of the Eighties. Though it was not the first time Chopra shot a film in Switzerland, the extensive scenes shot there made it a popular tourist destination for Indians. The film won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film of that year.[16]

He followed it with Lamhe (1991),[4] starring frequent collaborators Anil Kapoor and Sridevi. The film was critically acclaimed, had exceptional music, and was one of the biggest Bollywood hits in the overseas market. But it was not a box-office success in India. The film won five Filmfare awards, including the Filmfare Award for Best Movie. Over the years the film has been hailed as a cult classic; it is regarded as a modern masterpiece and possibly his finest film to date. It was featured in Outlook magazine's list of All-Time Great Indian films.[17] It has been cited by Chopra as his personal favourite of his films.[15]


Yash Chopra and Shahrukh Khan (left). Chopra was responsible for shaping Khan's career.[3]

In 1993, Yash Chopra directed the newcomer Shah Rukh Khan along with Juhi Chawla and Sunny Deol in the musical thriller Darr.[3][4] The movie was the story of an obsessed lover (Khan) and the lengths to which he goes to get the girl (Chawla) who is already happily engaged to another man (Deol). The film was a runaway success and is considered a cult classic today. It also established Khan as a bankable star. He then directed, produced and co-wrote the highly successful 1997 romantic musical Dil To Pagal Hai,[4] starring yet again Shahrukh Khan in a love triangle with Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor. It was the first Bollywood movie to be shot in Germany. The film became the second highest grosser for the year. It won many awards, including seven Filmfare Awards and three National Awards, notably for Best Film, providing popular and wholesome entertainment yet again. Chopra then took a sabbatical from directing and focused solely on producing films for over eight years.

In 2004, he returned to direction with the love saga Veer-Zaara.[4] Starring Shahrukh Khan again, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji in the leading roles, the film was the biggest hit of 2004 in both India and overseas, with a worldwide gross of over INR940 million and was screened at the Berlin Film Festival to critical appreciation. The film which narrated the love story of an Indian air-force officer Veer Pratap Singh (Khan) and a Pakistani woman, Zaara Haayat Khan (Zinta) was appreciated by critics. Rama Sharma from The Tribune write, "Giving love its due, Yash Chopra has understandably linked the script to the life of a common man. The pace is exacting. Drawing from the best of the two countries, the story is made more colourful by a spray of the Punjabi culture— be it celebrating Lohri in India or visiting a Dargah in Pakistan. He has handled the script cleverly. Whenever the pace begins to slacken, he introduces a new character and a twist."

In September 2012, in a special interview with actor Shahrukh Khan on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, Chopra announced that Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)[4] would be his last directorial venture and that he would opt to focus on his production company and his personal life. For the shoot of the last remaining song in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, director Yash Chopra wanted to shoot a scene of a sari-clad Katrina Kaif romancing Shah Rukh Khan in the lush meadows of the Swiss Alps. But his illness, caused by a bout of dengue, stymied the plan for the song, which would have reflected his trademark directorial style. Chopra's trip to Switzerland with Shahrukh and Katrina had to be cancelled after his death.

Yash Raj Films (YRF) is the most dominant production company in Hindi filmmaking. Yash Raj Chopra has continuously featured in the top five hit Indian movies of the year since 2000. The Indian film director, script writer and producer used a range of directors. He repetitively used the star power of Bollywood’s most popular actors, Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

Yash Raj Films is a highlight of India’s post-colonial identity. It has grown to be the forefront of the global rise of Bollywood cinema. Yash Raj Films have expanded their company from locally based Hindi films to global achievements. They have managed to attract home based and diasporic Indians. Yash Raj Films have used a smart technique by incorporating foreign locations as a site which succeeded.

Frequent collaborations[edit]

Chopra was known to often cast the same actors in his films, his most famous collaborations being with Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and more recently Shahrukh Khan, Kajol Devgan, and Rani Mukherji.

Personal life[edit]

In 1970, Chopra married Pamela Singh and together they have two sons Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra,[4] born in 1971 and 1973, respectively. Aditya is also a film director and producer and held the position of vice-chairman and general manager of Yash Raj Films while Uday is an assistant director turned actor who made his acting debut in 2000 in his brother's film, Mohabbatein.[2]During the shooting of Darr yash chopra cheated sunny deol of his role leading to dispute between the 2 families.

Illness and death[edit]

Bollywood celebrities paying last homage to Yash Chopra.
Clockwise from top right: Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Deepika Padukone, Shyam Benegal, Vidya Balan, Shahrukh Khan

On 13 October 2012, Chopra was admitted to Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai. He was diagnosed with Dengue fever shortly after. According to Dr. Prakash Jiyavani, a doctor of Lilavati Hospital, in addition to dengue, Chopra was suffering kidney ailments.[16] After the news broke of his illness, actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "Yash ji in hospital..was most anxious.. So checked with Adi, and he assured me that there was no need for worry.in control"[18] and a spokesperson from Yash Raj Films stated that: "He is much better though still in hospital".[19] In the weeks leading to his death, reports from media outlets suggested that he was recovering well and would be released from hospital soon.

However in the evening of 21 October, Yash Chopra died.[20] Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's death committee on Monday, 29 October 2012, confirmed dengue as the cause of Yash Chopra’s death. [21] The Press Trust of India quoted a hospital spokesman, Sudhir– "he passed away due to dengue and multiple organ failure".[16] An official statement from Yash Raj Films, the production company founded by Chopra, said: "It is with deep regret that we announce the sad demise of Yash Chopra, who breathed his last at around 5:30 PM today. Details of his last rites will be communicated to all a little later."[22]

His body, covered with white flowers was kept on stage number 3 of the Yash Raj Films studio from the morning of 22 October for people to come and pay homage. A huge black and white photo of Chopra was also presented with several candles lit around it. The last rites of Chopra were conducted at the Vile Parle crematorium at 3.30 PM.[8] Chopra's last public appearance was at Amitabh Bachchan's 70th birthday bash on 11 October with his wife Pamela.[8]




NoMovie NameYear of ReleaseMain Cast
1Dhool Ka Phool1959Mala Sinha, Rajendra Kumar, Nanda, Ashok Kumar
2Dharmputra1961Mala Sinha, Shashi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar
3Waqt1965Balraj Sahni, Achala Sachdev, Sunil Dutt, Sadhana Shivdasani, Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore
4Aadmi Aur Insaan1969Dharmendra, Saira Banu, Feroze Khan, Mumtaz
5Ittefaq1969Rajesh Khanna, Nanda, Bindu
6Daag1973Sharmila Tagore, Rajesh Khanna, Raakhee
7Joshila1973Dev Anand, Raakhee, Hema Malini
8Deewaar1975Amitabh Bachchan,Shashi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi
9Kabhi Kabhie1976Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Raakhee, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
10Trishul1978Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor
11Kaala Patthar1979Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Raakhee, Parveen Babi
12Silsila1981Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha
13Mashaal1984Dilip Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Rati Agnihotri
14Faasle1985Sunil Dutt, Rekha, Farooq Sheikh, Deepti Naval, Rohan Kapoor
15Vijay1988Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri
16Chandni1989Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna
17Lamhe1991Sridevi, Anil Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman
18Parampara1992Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sunil Dutt, Vinod Khanna, Ashwini Bhave
19Darr1993Shah Rukh Khan, Sunny Deol, Juhi Chawla
20Dil To Pagal Hai1997Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Karishma Kapoor, Akshay Kumar
21Veer-Zaara2004Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherji, Manoj Bajpai
22Jab Tak Hai Jaan2012Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma


Chopra with his wife Pamela. Yash Chopra is being honoured with the title of Ambassador of Interlaken (2011).[23][24]
National Film Award (Producer)
Filmfare Awards

Apsara Awards

IIFA Awards

Honours and recognitions[edit]

Honorary Doctorate degrees


  1. ^ "The Life and Times of Yash Chopra". India Times. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Tejaswini Ganti (24 August 2004). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Psychology Press. pp. 101–. ISBN 978-0-415-28853-8. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Yash Chopra King of Romance". NDTV. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "The life and times of Yash Chopra". Pune Mirror. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Face of romance in Bollywood: Iconic filmmaker Yash Chopra's five-decade long illustrious career". India Today. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Rachel Dwyer (1 July 2002). Yash Chopra. British Film Institute. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-85170-874-4. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  7. ^ End of a Love Story India Today- November 5, 2012
  8. ^ a b c "Yash Chopra cremated in Mumbai, Bollywood, fans mourn". India Today. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d e "The Man Who Sparked Bollywood’s Love of Foreign Locales". NYTimes. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "King Khan salutes Yash Chopra's alma mater". Hindustan Times. 7 November 2012. 
  11. ^ Gulzar; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 667–. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Box office 1969". Box Office India. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Top 10 Yash Chopra films". Times of India. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Yash Chopra's cinematic journey". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "10 things you didn't know about Yash Chopra". India Today. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c "Bollywood movie mogul Chopra dies at 80". NY Daily News. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Outlook Bollywood's best films". Outlook. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "Yash Chopra recovering". The Times of India. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "Yash Chopra still recuperating in hospital". Daily Bhsakar. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Veteran filmmaker Yash Chopra dies at 80". Dawn. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "BMC confirms dengue killed Yash Chopra". The Indian Express. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Director Yash Chopra cremated in Mumbai". NDTV Movies. Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  23. ^ a b "Yash Chopra honoured with the title of Ambassador of Interlaken". Business of Cinema. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Yash Chopra honored with the title of 'Ambassador of Interlaken'". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Yash Chopra denies underworld money being used in Bollywood : Happenings News". ApunKaChoice.Com. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  26. ^ a b c http://www.indiancinema-analysis.com/ta/yash.htm
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Entertainment Sector : FICCI". Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 2011-09-07. 
  28. ^ "Yash Chopra honored at Pusan International Film Festival". Businessofcinema.com. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  29. ^ Yash Chopra honoured at 2nd Dubai Film Festival
  30. ^ "Yash Chopra receives Raj Kapoor Award". Business of Cinema. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Maha Govt Confers Raj Kapoor Awards On Nihalani, Shabana". NDTV. 1 May 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  32. ^ Rajdutt, Yash Chopra receive V Shantaram and Raj Kapoor awards resp[dead link]
  33. ^ Yash Chopra honoured at P.I.F.F
  34. ^ "Yash Chopra conferred Zenith Asia Honour". One India. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  35. ^ "Kishore Kumar award for Yash Chopra". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  36. ^ "Yash Chopra receives Swiss Ambassador's Award". The Indian Express. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  37. ^ "The Asian Awards 2010 Winners List". united kingdom, asia: Prnewswire.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  38. ^ a b "Yash Chopra awarded doctorate by UK varsity". India Today. 27 July 2010. [dead link]
  39. ^ "Leeds University honours Bollywood icons : Bollywood News". ApunKaChoice.Com. 10 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  40. ^ "SOAS Celebrates Largest Ever Graduation". Soas.ac.uk. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  41. ^ TCDglobal@tcd.ie (Email) (2012-09-06). "Office of the Vice President for Global Relations : Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, Ireland". Tcd.ie. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]