Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The man who built Bollywood”

That Yash Chopra left behind a legacy was never in question. But just what, exactly, is that legacy?

The most shocking aspect of Yash Chopra’s demise may be the reminder that the mightiest of titans can be felled by a mosquito. No number of PSAs about dengue could possibly drag the disease into the public spotlight like this news did, especially in a culture where celebrity is everything. Here we were, thinking that only the poorest of the poor, with unhygienic water-storage vessels harbouring unhatched mosquito eggs, were in danger, while one of the richest men in the country was quietly whittled away by the disease. The second most shocking aspect of Yash Chopra’s demise is how uninformed television anchors were about the career of one of our most famous filmmakers. One of them announced that waiting on the phone was the actor Tanuja, who’s “worked with Yash Chopra in a number of films,” and who will now share some of those memories. An embarrassing moment turned more so when a bewildered Tanuja, stifling tears, said that she’d never worked with Chopra, but they’d been friends for a long time.

Hosted by imgur.com

Then, of course, there were the clichés about what great music his films had. Yash Chopra’s cinema is certainly filled with popular and pleasant music. There is, for instance, the infectious Ladki hai ya shola, from Silsila, which is electrified by the chemistry between Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. Then there’s the lovely Aao manayein jashn-e-mohabbat from Doosara Aadmi, a film that Chopra produced but did not direct, though its themes of reincarnated love he would pursue in Lamhe, more than a decade later. But for my money, the only truly great album he got was Joshila, though this may be more due to star Dev Anand’s luck with music and RD Burman’s unimpeachable form in the early 1970s. What a fantastic soundtrack this is, ranging from the deeply affecting Kiska rasta dekhein to the impish Kuch bhi kar lo to the seductive Sharmana yoon to the stunning jazz-cabaret stylings of Kaanp rahi main, which, somehow, never gets mentioned in the same breath as Burman’s other cabaret classics like Aaj ki raat and Mera naam hai Shabnam.

The rest of the time, Chopra got the occasional great song – Mere dil mein aaj kya hai (Daag) or Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon (Kabhi Kabhie) – but never a consistently great music album. This is a little puzzling, considering his reputation as the “king of romance.” Do you remember any of the numbers from Chandni or Lamhe or Veer-Zaara? Well, of course you remember them, in the sense that you can recall them, but are they memorable today? Seen a different way, the albums that Chopra got were similar to the films he made, where we recall many of them, and find standout moments once in a while, filled with stunning poetry and superbly crafted dialogue, but very few of these films are memorable from start to finish. The films that are, strangely, are the ones that, from today’s vantage, seem least Chopra-like: Deewar, Trishul, Kaala Paththar, and to a lesser extent, Mashaal. All of these are what have come to be known as Angry Young Man movies, and all were written by Salim-Javed (except Mashaal, which was written by Javed Akhtar, but which still carried the scent of the earlier collaboration).

These screenplays are so taut, so stunningly loaded with high points, that the director’s work, essentially, is reduced to that of a sincere craftsman, who knows when not to impose his own vision on top of something that is working so well. It would be fascinating to find out what, other than traffic management, was Chopra’s contribution to these films, where he comes off as a gun for hire, a journeyman director. And the films where we do see Chopra’s vision – the romantic films, broadly, with the exception of early social melodramas like Dhool ka Phool – are the ones where he took incendiary themes, all based on various facets of love, and went about resolving them in the safest possible manner, thus giving the audience the frisson of watching something subversive when there was nothing beyond the theme that really upset the status quo. Once we process the shock of a young girl pining for the man who loved her mother (in Lamhe) or the couple who flaunt their adultery in the faces of their faithful spouses (in Silsila), we are left with deeply conventional stories, deeply conventional storytelling.

This is not to knock Yash Chopra. No one whose career lasted this long can be dismissed, and certainly not someone whose legacy is so widely felt. I’m simply wondering what, exactly, this legacy is – and in my view, it’s that Yash Chopra was the man who transformed mainstream Hindi cinema, that equivalent of a lovable but slovenly uncle who scratched his armpits in front of your friends, into super-slick Bollywood, which you could claim, without embarrassment and across the world, as your own. The pretty people in prettier clothes. The lavish lifestyles in foreign countries (or, at least, mimicking those fashions while staying here). The shaping of complex conflicts in a manner that doesn’t make audiences squirm. The fashioning of “Indian values” into a primordial voice that rang across oceans and wrung tears from expatriates. It’s a style that still survives – you only have to look at Karan Johar’s Student of the Year. Meanwhile, the fingerprints of Chopra’s peers – Hrishikesh Mukherjee, for instance – have been wiped clean from our screens. To envision this template in only one’s third film, Waqt, made in 1965, is no small achievement. Five decades on, Yash Chopra’s brand of cinema shows no signs of dying.

Lights, Camera, Conversation… is a weekly dose of cud-chewing over what Satyajit Ray called Our Films Their Films. An edited version of this piece can be found here.

Copyright ©2012 The Hindu. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

47 thoughts on “Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The man who built Bollywood”

  1. When i heard of the Dengue death – the only thing that came to my mind was – “Ek Saala macchar aadmi ko …” –

    If you attribute Deewar , Kaala Pathhar ( two of his greatest films ) to the screenwriters – what about Darr then , its been almost 20 years but that film still stands.

    Like

  2. Rangan – very good piece. I agree with you on most counts – his best music is in Joshila for me too (but I think Kabhie Kabhi, Silsila and often neglected Faasle was complete albums as well).

    Agreed, his films have more firepower in their dialogs and finely crafted screenplays and his penchant for using “saga” genre. However, he did bring a lot to table …you could call him an semi-auteur just for the choice of his recurrent “incendiary” themes .. though his role was more of a crafsman who brought about smooth and acceptable endings. I feel that his films deserved a more layered storytelling, esp Silsila, Daag, Lamhe ..and i think some of the layers/subtext does come out well but wonder if it was his conscious choice to kill it and prefer the formula/popular/conservative route or was it simply that he just chose those “brave” themes and always planned for a simple storytelling all along and layers/subtext only accidently appears to a diserning viewer and was never intended. Perhaps his screenwriters should get more credit …. the dialogs and screenplay trumps the direction in many of his films.

    You could compare him to someone like Sidney Lumet or if you want to grant Yash ji a better pedestal, a Robert Altman. Ultimately he was very hardworking and extracted amazing performances from his stars and always did perfect casting! A rare perfectionist in a formula cinema if you will … a certain Mr. Manmohan Desai also qualifies for the same tag.

    Like

  3. “But for my money, the only truly great album he got was Joshila,…”

    Nice to see this shoutout to “Joshila” which I agree has the best soundtrack of all of Yash Chopra’s film (I give high marks to Dharmputra as well). Chopra’s reputation for “good music” has always puzzled me. He struck me as the definition of conventional and safe – witness the banality to which Rahman and Gulzar have been reduced to in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.

    Like

  4. Nice. Just today I wrote a very short Chopra profile (one of a collection for a magazine piece) where I wondered if he could be regarded an auteur given that his is not the first contribution one thinks of when assessing his “best” films (Deewaar being defined by the artistic partnership between Salim-Javed’s writing and Bachchan’s personality, for example). That said, no questioning the overall significance of a man whose name appeared in the credits of three films as seminal as Naya Daur, Deewaar and DDLJ (over a 40-year period).

    Like

  5. Absolutely agree with your assessment regarding YC’s SJ movies. A filmmaker friend was chatting with Salim a few years ago and He said to more or less what you’ve written. To illustrate his point, he showed my friend the original, handwritten script for Deewar and opened it at random. It was the scene where Vijay walks into his new office. It was page directed to a T – from the time he enters the office, the number of strides to his chair, him sitting in it and the number of beats before he puts his feet up on the office desk. Then cutaway to shot of Queen’s Necklace. It was all there.

    Sadly, Salim-saab forbade him from revealing it in public and sadder still, he refused to let the script out of his sight for him to take a photocopy.

    Like

  6. Baradwaj,
    Thank you so much for this fair perspective. Though I confess I haven’t seen any of his films in their entirety, from the snatches that I have seen, I felt they were just adequate. But from what is being written of him now, someone might think he was the Balachander of Bollywood (for the so-called daring relationship themes) and someone from whom Gemini Ganesan might have to learn about romance. To me, he is certainly a powerful figure (esply, in the last two decades) but still a journeyman as a director.

    Like

  7. Albums of Yash Chopra movies weren’t exactly classics but they played well on screen (an off-the-cuff example is “I am falling in love with a stranger” in Deewaar)….however, once he moved from being a filmmaker to a show-man, songs merely depicted grandiose – unnecessarily prolonging the movie (lamhe, chandni, darr, veer-zaara….almost all his later day movies)….even as an album, they had hardly one-two hummable songs – though lyrics were not all that memorable.

    Completely agreed regarding the Salim-Javed part….when Yashji tried to remake trishul as vijay (which a much bigger star-cast), under yashraj, it did not have the same impact.

    Like

  8. This is a fantastic writeup. Agree almost entirely and in fact commented on this sometime back informally:

    http://wp.me/przVq-6zF

    Do think you’re being a bit harsh on the soundtracks though I concede the point inasmuch as he doesn’t have the equivalent of a great Rajesh Khanna score (even on Daag!… barring one phenomenal number).

    on that note here are my favorite Yash Chopra numbers:

    1)Aage bhi jaane na tu (Waqt)
    2)Mere dil mein (Daag)
    3)Tere chehre se (Kabhi Kabhie)
    4)Aapki mehki hui (Trishul)
    5)Ik raasta hai (Kaala Pathar)

    and then mostly for the stanzas..

    6)Sar se sarke (Silsila)

    Can’t say I share your estimation of the Joshila soundtrack. And I should add that I’ve oddly enough never been a fan of the Kabhi Kabhie title track. Probably in a minority of one on this!

    Like

  9. Also, perhaps impact of his elder brother’s style in Yashji’s early films – dhool ka phool, waqt, ittefaq etc. – made those taut?

    Like

  10. I agree with most of the arguments here, especially, the part that deals with his best being the angry young man image that he helped to craft, but Yash Chopra’s music was pretty awesome – his greatest song to date is actually Kabhi-kabhi itself and the sound tracks of the same movie and Silsila or even Darr made for the most popular music of the time and hold good even now.

    Like

  11. From what I read Mr. Chopra was a good person, I pray that his soul may Rest in Peace. But as a film maker I feel he is overrated. I haven’t seen his earlier films, but his last few were unbearable. Dil to plagal hai, Darr, Veer Zara all of them were rubbish. Still he was a successful businessman I guess.

    Like

  12. A very perceptive assessment. Perhaps his only lasting achievement has been that lasting long. The omly films of his that have worked for me fully are Deewaar and Trishul, and 80% of the credit for these two goes to Salim-javed and Amitabh. I like parts of Lamhe, Silisila, Veer-Zara and Dil To Pagal Hai, but they don’t really count as good films in totality. The title of King of Romance can be justified because of the number of films in this genre and his distinctive style in this genre.. But this business of music sense is all bunkum. Thee are at least ten directors of his time whose music sense was better. Yes, most of his films ahve one ortwo good numbers, the most memorable among them being the title song of Kabhie Kabhie and Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai from Daag. Joshilay is okay, generic RD Burman. ( I dont remember any song from the film being sung by anyne in any of the numerous RD Burman tributes that I have witnessed.) The only album with a consistent timbre is Dil To Paagal Hai..which has a bouncy, youthful flavour, Haathi Jiasa Chaal, Ghoda Jaisa Doom is my favourite from the film.

    But both as King of Romance and Badshah of Music give me Raj Kapoor any day. Between Bobby and Prem Rog, he covers more ground than Yash Chopra did in all his films combined.

    Like

  13. Utkal Mohanty : Not picking on you personally but i have heard many people say the same thing about DTPH, bouncy music, youthful etc. I actually walked out of the theatre after paying a good 100 Rs. ( which was a lot for me ).

    DTPH soundtrack is one of the few soundtracks that i actively hate and this from a man who even listens to the original Bhojpuri Munni badnam hui.

    Like

  14. Very petty writeup. As an nri…I feel very differently about this whole event. I will say I haven’t cried when my family members died…but yesterday I had a good cry. It would be pointless to go over why I think a silsila is for example a far more violent film and therefore orders of magnitude more potent than a film with surface violence like deewar. Suffice it to say, I can identify with the marital compromises of silsila or career compromises of kabhie kabhie on a very personal level whereas I know not of brothers arguing under a bridge about some tatoo on tricep.

    Like

  15. I’m somewhat surprised on your take on music in YR’s films for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, it’s perhaps because I’m confused on how the term “memorable” is being used. If you are indicating what you consider memorable, that’s perfectly fine. There is nothing to agree or disagree about since it is entirely a matter of personal preference. If, however, memorable is being used to measure how the music has withstood the test of time, I must respectfully dissent. Songs of Kabhie Kabhie and Silsila seem to be near universally loved even today. Same for “Morni baagha maan bole” (from Lamhe) which single-handedly transformed Ila Arun’s career. And try attending a wedding sangeet where “Mere haathon mein nau nau chudiyaan hain” from Chandni is not playing!

    Secondly, if we are going to assess YR’s music, lets not ignore movies that he produced (rather than directed). I’d be hard pressed to imagine that he did not have any creative say/influence in the music of such movies (especially given that YRF seems to operate like one big family production house). In which case, we have to consider hits like Darr and DDLJ which bump up the overall memorability quotient considerably, no?

    Like

  16. “The fashioning of “Indian values” into a primordial voice that rang across oceans and wrung tears from expatriates.”….You are kidding, right? Damn Aditya Chopra, Subhash Ghai and the likes!! :-)

    Like

  17. Not being well versed in cinema as yet, I’ll only comment on the dengue.

    The mosquito isnt as much at fault as is a unhealthy human body habituated to years and years of wrong food, wrong lifestyle, bad air, etc.

    But this is the direction that Indians are headed in – doused both internally and externally from head to toe with chemicals in every conceivable form.
    Chemicals are subsidized by the industry, so all unhealthy things will always be cheaper than natural pure options.

    The demise of Mr Chopra is a case in point that even when a person is super rich, he/she does not opt for healthier choices not due to lack of money, but rather due to ignorance about the real things in life (the ignorance being partially attributed to modern education which stays mum)

    Fogging or spraying chemicals that were banned long ago in developed countries is not the solution – its the same as modern medicine which suppresses the symptoms but does nothing about the root cause.

    It’s tragic that no one has made any effort to bring the dangerous effects of fogging to light. This exposes the utter illiteracy about the Indian mind – short term gain for long term damage.

    About the air in urban India, here is a telling analysis,

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-23/mumbai/34679446_1_pollution-norms-polluted-air-coughs

    Like

  18. Like a few other people here I was surprised to read your thoughts on YC’s songs. Having given it some thought I think I understand what you, the albums are like his films they have 2 or 3 memorable songs but you would struggle to remember all the songs on an album.

    The other thing that could my eye was your line about YC’s earlier films appearing the least YC-like films from today’s vantage. I found this true yet funny because personally I choose to remember all of his films upto and including Kaala Pathar as true YC fims and everything after as films the 7-10 year old me loved but 20+ year old me disliked because apart from a handful of strong scenes the bits in between were terrible.

    I was thinking what YC’s lasting legacy is, I came with 2 things. Both are debateable
    1) I have assigned credit / blame to YC for changing the way hindi films viewed the mother character post-Deewar. The ‘mere paas Maa hain’ a simple line with incredible ramifications.

    2) Shooting songs abroad, in the swiss alps. I know there are films previous to Darr which were set abroad, But he did seem to popularise and make it the next big “it” thing to have in a film.

    I do agree with you that style that he has created with his later films do seem to be a long lasting legacy. It is a style I do not like and the reason why I choose to remember the earlier films.

    Like

  19. Pingback: Lights, Camera, Conversation… “The man who built Bollywood … : Karishma Boodhoo

  20. don’t buy your mosquito angle. it happens all the time. As for YC’s legacy, perhaps the enduring one is that he created a rich production house which has developed the cushion to take the risky calls, and which we hope will produce at least a handful of artistically bonafide films in the future. As you said, we know that the YC house would consider it financially inappropriate to branch out major-time, so we can only expect sporadic leaps. ‘Darr’ had the gumption to top-line a deranged underdog -it worked and hopefully more such bravado will further redeem his legacy.

    Like

  21. Arun Verma: Actually, his “romantic” films don’t have too many layers. They’re well mounted and sometimes well acted, but everything, to me, is on the surface. Which is not a bad thing — just pointing it out.

    Shalini: “witness the banality to which Rahman and Gulzar have been reduced to in Jab Tak Hai Jaan”

    What a surprise to hear you say this. And here I thought you were no fan of Gulzar, given some long-ago discussions we’ve had :-)

    Suganth: Actually, Raj Kapoor’s films handle romance beautifully. There’s the “daring” but within contexts that don’t cry out to be noticed. The character he played in “Sangam” — with the context of the cliched love triangle — is one for the ages. If you thought SRK in “Darr” was an obsessed lover, you should see Kapoor play the same shades, but written and acted with far more sophistication and subtlety.

    Satyam: I do say that there are songs that work for me. I was talking about entire albums, where most of the songs have some kind of musical personality. And for a “romantic filmmaker” to not have many of these is a little strange, though I don’t contest that the albums were popular and worked on screen as a backdrop to his lavish picturisations. Maybe that’s all he wanted. Oh, and in “Kaala Paththar,” I have a weakness for “Meri dooron se aayi baarat” :-)

    Santa: There’s always going to be some subjectivity in matters of movies and music. This is just my take on his movies and music. And yes, I do say that his music is popular.

    Alpesh Patel: “the albums are like his films they have 2 or 3 memorable songs but you would struggle to remember all the songs on an album.” — Yes, exactly.

    Like

  22. Amen, thank you. And now that a week has passed since YC’s demise and the obituaries and tributes that followed, I feel more comfortable voicing similar thoughts. His commercial success as a filmmaker cannot be knocked but the stand out aspect of his several decades long career is that (IMO only) he was consistently outclassed by better filmmakers in every decade. Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar in the 70s, Shekar Kapur in the 80s, Aziz Mirza in the 90s and so on. And in the middle, he also handed the baton to Aditya Chopra and KJo who made some of the most cringeworthy, overwrought Hindi films I had to watch.

    Like

  23. it’s that Yash Chopra was the man who transformed mainstream Hindi cinema, that equivalent of a lovable but slovenly uncle who scratched his armpits in front of your friends, into super-slick Bollywood, which you could claim, without embarrassment and across the world, as your own – In other words, the maestro of escapism? Is that perhaps why he was so universally adored? After all, Indians don’t like to be reminded too much of just what is the state of this nation.

    By the way, I want to point out that Swiss Alps was in a way a convenient and safe substitute for Kashmir, where many romantic numbers from the 60s were picturised. So it may be a claim to fame but it is not highly original. Yes, as you can guess, Deewar and Trishul are probably the only films of his I can relate to and more for AB’s powerhouse acting than the storyline or dialogues. I find many of Deewar’s dialogues and scenes way over the top and suspect but not the way AB delivers them, not at all.

    Like

  24. …. But for my money, the only truly great album he got was Joshila, though this may be more due to star Dev Anand’s luck with music and RD Burman’s unimpeachable form in the early 1970s……

    You made my day. Songs from Joshila especially Kiska Rasta dekhe are not easys songs to sing or play instruments on and that is why one may not have heard them in college festivals. But I think you missed the mark on Deewar, whose soundtrack was equally powerful and memorable. “I am falling in love” is one of the best songs from RD’s repertoire and its picturization is even more stunning. But I do disagree with your assessment of other soundtracks lacing longevity. I think Silsila, Veer Zara and Kabhi Kabhi have stood the test of time and will be around for a long time. As always, another great article.

    Like

  25. I knew I could count on you to give a fitting tribute to Yash Chopra. Loved reading it.

    As for your comment:..The rest of the time, Chopra got the occasional great song – Mere dil mein aaj kya hai (Daag) or Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon (Kabhi Kabhie) – but never a consistently great music album. This is a little puzzling, considering his reputation as the “king of romance.”
    .
    I am surprised you think this way. Almost all songs in Kabhi Kabhie are noteworthy and hummable…even now. “Tere chehre se…”, is forever etched in my mind for the Sahir’s lyrics and Khayyam’s music. The same could be said for most of his early movies’ music like, Waqt (aage bhi…is haunting and rings true), Silsila – (almost all the songs) and the peppy thoughtful number from Mashaal. (mujhe tum) If the credit should indeed go to the lyricist or the music director or even the actor for the songs…what then is the role of the director?

    To this, I too agree with your comment: It would be fascinating to find out what, other than traffic management, was Chopra’s contribution to these films? Perhaps he just stuck to his guns. Whether it was Mashaal or Silsila or Lamhe (my favorites) and Kabhie Kabhie, he at least had the guts to take on topics and bring them on to the screen…however predictable the ending might be.

    Like

  26. The more I read about people writing g about Yash Chopra’s flair for great music in films the more I say to myself, ‘ How ridiculous. How uncritical and blinded by clout today’s media writers are! ‘ When I take his contemporaries who have had careers spanning two decades or more, almost everyone has a much better list of films with richer, more iconic, more lasting scores than Yash Chopra. I just took three directors and picked ten best films , musically, from their work, and this is what it looks like.

    Shakti Samant ( Howrah Bridge, China Town, Kashmir Ki Kali, Aradhana, Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Anurag, Mehbooba, Amanush, The Great Gambler) From ‘ Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo’ and ‘ Aaiye Meherban’ to “ Roop Tera Mastana’’, ‘ Chingari Koi Bhadke’ and “ Yeh Shsam Mastaani’ … there are any number of songs that will live forever in the hearts of every listener of Hindi film songs. Songs from just three films, ‘ Aradhana’, ‘ Amar Prem’ and ‘ Kati Patang’ will dwarf the entire musical output of Yash Chopra’s films.

    Take Raj Khosla now. ( CID, Kla pani, Bomaby Ka Babu, Who Kaun Thi, Mera Saya, Do Raaste, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Prem Kahani, Mein Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki) . Does Yashji have anything to match the classics like ‘ Kahin Pe Nigaahen’, ‘ Hum Bekhudi Mein’, ‘ Achha Ji Main Hari’, Naian Barse Rim Jhim’, ‘ Lag Ja Gale’ , Tum Jahan Jahan Chale’, “ Jhumka Gira Re’, Bindiya Chamkegi, ‘ Maar Diya Jaaye’, or ‘ Aur Kya Ahde Wafa’? For all his vaunted association with Lata , are there any songs that can match ‘ Naina Barse’ or “ Lag Ja Gale’ ?

    Take another contemporary, Vijay Ananad. ( Nau Do Gyrah, Kal Bazaar, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Guide Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief, Johny Mera Naam, Tere Mere Sapne, Blackmail , Ram Balram). Here again, just three films, Guide, Teesri Manzil and Jewl thief cam swamp the entire works of Yashji musically.

    Lastly just compare something like ‘Taal’ born out of Subhash Ghai-AR Rahman collaboration with something soulless like ‘ Jab Tak Hai Jaan’; to realize how musically inadequate and limited Yash Chopra has always been compared to the greats among his contemporary peers.

    Like

  27. Utkal Mohanty : I do not think these 3 were strictly contemporaries of Yash Chopra plus YC had something none of these had – longevity. He was literally making movies till the last and with the biggest star. Surely that counts for something.

    Like

  28. BR : Re – Sangam , agreed RK’s potrayal was far more subtle but its incorrect to compare it with SRK’s performance in Darr ,. its like comparing Apples and Oranges. Lets not forget these 2 filmmakers (YC and RK) are products of their times and cater to their audience tastes. They explicitly set out to make commercial , hit movies. A subdued, subtle performance in Darr would simply not work.

    Like

  29. agree with you about Kaanp rahi main… super, undiscovered track, music and number.
    will read the rest of the blog now, but before that, chopra shld be remembered more for films like deewar and kaala patthar, and not so much label him as the king of romance.
    simply, during his time, nobody did romance better than gulzar.

    Like

  30. Venkatesh: I will grant him credit for longevity. Sure. But dont tell me he had musical flare. Strictly average there.

    Like

  31. Utkal – Yash Chopra’s movies have shined in the 70s, than in the earlier decades. How many movies in the 70s had great music other than a handful of them, probably Kati Patang (though it had a downright silly story), Mere Jeevan Saathi or Abhimaan. Many good movies released then had those odd songs which were outstanding, supported by other pleasant songs, but the focus really was on the story. I don’t think it is fair to compare him with directors of 50s or 60s when songs made the movie work and took the story forward.

    I think, Yash Chopra’s movies brought in a wholesome treatment – good story line, good music, a feel-good-ness and a certain grandeur. It was his style. And like BR has mentioned, perhaps his stories were a bit too safely handled with predictable ending, but to focus only on the music of his movies, is a tad unfair.

    Like

  32. So condescending Brangan..almost nitpicking..lemme do the same then… He gave excellent cinema in the hellhole that was the 80s. You judging a man who made palatable youthful cinemas after he was past the age of 60 and did not turn into another Subhash ghai . Why compare him to anyone..And don’t just limit him to his astheticss.. He established the North Indian based milieu which has been the staple of Hindi cinema for the last 20years.. About the music .. How many non AR Rahman songs from 90s would you personally call memorable.. He was a marketeer .. Gave bubble gum melody fit with the times. .. DTPH, DDLJ were the friggin RAGE .. At least inmy time in north India.. Dunno about their popularity down south ..

    Like

  33. Siddharth Saxena: I agree. Take “khushboo” for instance. Despite two highly questionable “actors,” the film is immensely moving. The way these two take their relationship for granted — yet, there are barriers… I have never felt this lived-in texture of love in any of YC’s films.

    Like

  34. Jerina: It is true Yash Chpra came into his own in the 70’s when he made Daag under his own banner. Fair enough.Take the films he made in the 70s ( Daag, Deewar, Trishul, Kabhi Kabhie,Noorie, Joshila, Kala Patthar) . Compare the musical output against the ocean of variety offered and you will see how insignificant it is.
    AANDHI( Is mod se jaathe hain, Tere bina zindagi mein, Tum aa gaye nor aa gaya), PAKEEZAH( Chalte chlate, Inhi logo ne, Mausam hai aashiqana, Thade rahiyaga, Aaj hum apni), MERE JEEVAN SAATHI( Oh mere dil ke chain, Chala jaata hun, Deewana leke aaya hai), AMAR PREM ( Chingari, Yeh Kya Hua, Kuchh to log kahenge, Raina beet jaaye), KATI PATANG ( Yeh jo mohabbat hai, Yeh sham mastani, Pyar deana hota hai, Jis gali mein), ABHIMAAN ( Meet na mila man ka, Nadiya kinare, Teri bindiya re, Lote koi man ka dagar, Piya bina, Tere mere Milan ki ) YADON KI BARAAT ( Yadon ki baraat, Chura liya, Oh meri soni, aapke kamre mein, Lekar hum deewana dil), MUQADAR KA SIKANDAR ( Rote hue, Oh ssathi re, Salaame ishq, dil to bas dil hai) , SHOLAY ( Mehbooba mehbooba, Yeh dosti, Koi haseena), PARICHAY ( Sare ko sare, Musafir hun yaron, Beeti na beetayi naina), GHAR ( Aaj kal paon zameen pee, Aapki aankhon mein, Phir wohi raat hai, Piya bina piya bina) , JOHNY MERA NAAM ( Pal bhar ke liye, Wada toh nibhaya, Nafreat karne wale ke) , HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA ( Dum maro dum, Kaanchhi re kaanchhi re, Phoolon ka taron ka), BOBBY ( Main shayar to nahin, Mujhe kuchh kehna hai, Chabi kho jaaye, Beshak mandir, Na chahoon sona chandi, Jhoot bole kauva kaate), MERA NAAM JOKER ( Kehta hai joker, Hay bhai jaraa dekh ke chalo, Jena yahan, Jaane kahan gaye woh din), PREM PUJARI ( Rangeela re, Phoolon ke rang se, Shokhiyon mein ghula jaaye), SHARMILEE ( Khilte hain gul yahan, Megha chhaaye aadhi raat, aaj madhosh hua jaaye re), Anand ( Zindagi kaise yeh safar, Kahin door jab, Maine tere lye hi), BUDDHA MIL GAYA ( Raat kali, Bhali bhali si soorat, Ayo kahanse Ghanashyam), DON (Khai ke paan Banaraswala, Yeh mera dil), AAP KI KASAM ( Karvatein badalte hain, Jai jai Shiv Shankar, Zindagi ke safr mein,) JAWANI DIWANI ( Jaane jaan dhhoondta phir rah, Nahin Nahin, Saamne yeh kaun aaya) CARAVAN ( Piya tu ab to aaja, KItna pyara wada, Goriya kahan tera desh, ), ANURAG ( Neend churake, Sunari pawan), AMAR AKBAR ANTONY ( Parda o parda, My name is Antony Gonsalves, Humko tumse), SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM ( Satyam shivam sundaram, Yoshomati maiya se, Rang mahal ke dus darwaze), ANUBHAV ( Meri jaan mujhe jaan na kaho, Koi chpke se aake, Phir kahin koi phool), KHUSHBOO ( Do naino mein aansoo bhari hai, GHar jaayegi, Bechara Dil kya kare, Oh Maajhi re) KINARA ( Naam gum jaayegha, Meethe bol bol, Jaane kya soch kar) ANDAZ( Zindagi ek safar, Dil use do), MAUSAM ( Dil dhondta hai, Ruke ruke se kadam), SAFAR( Jeevan se bhari teri aankhen, Zindagi ka safar, Jo tumko who pasand hai) KORA KAGAZ ( Mera jeevan kra kagaz, Rothe roothe piya), MILI ( Badi sooni hai, aaye tum yaad mujhe, Miane kah pholon se), Roti Kpada Aur Mkan ( Hai hai yeh majboori, Main na bhoolongi), PURAB AUR PASCHIM ( Koi jab tumahar Hriday tod de, Dulhan chali, Hai prêet jahanki reet) HAATH KI SAFAI ( Wada kar le sajna, Tu Kya jaane, Peene walon ko peene ki bahana) MERA GAON MERA DESH ( Maar diya jay, Sona leja re, Kuchh kehta hai yeh sawan, Apni prem kahnaiyan), JHEEL KE US PAAR ( Bichua das gayo re, Do ghoont mujhe bhi pila de) AA GALE LAG JA ( Tera mujhse ye nata, Wada karo) GAMBLER ( Chudi nahin mera dil, Dil aaj shayar hai, Mera man tera pyasa ) SHAREEF BADMASH ( Neend chrake raaton ko, Tere sau deewane), HEERA PANNA ( Bahut door mujhe chlae jaana, Pana ki tamanna hai, Main tasveer utaarta hoon) SACHA JHUTA ( Meri pyari behaniya, Yuhin tum mujhse baat karte ho, Dil sacha aur chera jhoota) HAATHI MERA SAATHI ( Dilbar jaani, Nafrat ki dunityako chhod kar, Sunja yeh thandi hawa) ,NAMAK HARAM ( Nadiya se dariya, Main shyar badanam) IJAZZZAT ( Mere kuchh samaan, Katra katra, Khali hath sham aayi hai)) MANORANJAN ( Chori chori solah shinagr karoongi, Goya ke chunache) TERE MERE SAPNE ( Jeevan ki Bagiyan mehkegi, Haan maine kasam li) HUM KISI SE KAM NAHIN ( Chand mera dil, Kya hua tera wada, Bachan ye haseno, Yeh ladka hai allah, Mil gaya, Tum kya jaano, Hum kisi se kam nahin)

    Like

  35. Late to the party but fwiw, I think that a lot of Yash Chopra’s films fall under the “at least a brave attempt” category and I personally feel that he deserves credit for at least trying ambitious storylines even if the execution was ho-hum (Mashaal, Darr) or deeply flawed (Silsila, Faasle). Referencing your own post (http://baradwajrangan.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/lights-camera-conversation-the-attempt-to-judge-an-attempt/) my view has always been that given the constraints that producers/directors in Bollywood work with, ambitious attempts are not to be dismissed out of hand even if they are shoddily done.

    In addition, Yash Chopra is one of the few people who has –
    1) Directed at least one watchable film in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s – Dharmputra, Waqt (60s), Ittefaq, Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie, Trishul, Kaala Patthar (70s), Mashaal (80s), Lamhe, Darr, Dil To Pagal Hai (90s), Veer Zaara (00s)
    2) Flirted with so many different genres, and
    3) Not compromised on technical work from the start of his career, particularly at the editor’s table

    So in my view, he’s done more than just develop a brand/style of filmmaking.

    Like

  36. What can I say to that other than wonder if all those movies were indeed directed by one man. Since that’s not the case and since I still stand by my views, I shall take pleasure in reliving your list. Love almost all the songs that you have listed. :)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s