(Photo : REUTERS)
Bollywood films play a significant role to bring India's diverse population under one umbrella especially films that are socially related with a romantic theme and no one does better than the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra known as the "King of Romance" who died Sunday evening at the age of 80.
Chopra took his last breath at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, Mumbai where he was being treated for dengue for the past one week followed by multiple organ failure. His death is considered a huge loss to Indian cinema.
Chopra's first directorial debut was in 1959 under the production of his elder brother B.R. Chopra in the social drama film "Dhool Ka Phool" about a Muslim bringing up an illegitimate Hindu child followed by another social drama "Dharmaputra" (1961) that depicted the hard facts of the partition of India and Hindu fundamentalism. Both films were succesful and was well received by critics.
Later after launching his own production company "Yash Raj Films" in 1973, Chopra made one of the most unforgettable romantic films under his own banner like Silsila, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandni, Lamhe (Chopra's personal favourite) Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Veer Zaara. Chopra also set a trend of bringing in the darker side of romance to Indian cinema with his box-office hit thriller "Darr" (Fear) in 1993 featuring India's Bollywood King Shah Rukh Khan as a debutant actor in a villian role playing the obsessive lover that defied the image of a conventional romantic hero in Indian cinema. Khan won the 'Best Villian' for his first movie role and later established the famous Chopra-Khan collaboration that delivered movie hits like "Dil Toh Pagal Hai" (1997), "Veer-Zaara" (2004) and their last work together "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (2012) yet to be released.
More than five decades of film making in Hindi-language and over 50 films, his main message was 'Love' in all his films but not without a dramatic twist and turns, depicting complex love triangles, quadrangle love drama, age-gap amour, love as a sacrifice, and love against injustice. He captured love's innate qualities in 'reel' story that drew India's movie lovers worldwide that is hard to match.
Chopra has won several prestigious film awards during his long career including six National Film Awards and eleven Filmfare awards including four Filmfare Award for Best Director. 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 the films, making him the first Indian to receive the honour in the 59-year history of the academy.
Yash Chopra's last rites have begun in Mumbai's Pawan Hans crematorium with the funeral procession that began from Yash Raj Studios.The late director's body had been kept overnight at the studios for people to pay their last respects. He is survived by his wife Pamela Chopra and two sons Aditya and Uday.