It was the year 1989, when a chiffon saree palloo was first seen flying in a foreign location. Yash Chopra, the filmmaker who could be held solely responsible for setting this trend, which was repeatedly picturized by numerous filmmakers in their mediocre and some memorable Bollywood movies. Yash Chopra, the storyteller whose characters (not all, but mostly) did very little with their lives other than falling in love and dealing with its complications. As if there was nothing more important than being in love, being driven by it, being torn by it, longing for it and waiting for years to meet the lover again. Yash Chopra, the man who told us lies about love- that if you love truly and hang around for a little longer, then they will come to you and love you like you want them to. Today, he is out of this world, quite literally too, but he has left an impression which is not easy to wipe off. I wonder why he sold us this unattainable idea of love? Did he believe in something so extraordinary and larger than life? At this moment, I am going to make an effort to dust off the poetic glitters from it and look into the lover he might have been.
He was over 40 when he made his first out and out love film- Kabhi Kabhie. As he grew wiser, the lover in him (as portrayed through his films) grew more passionate & more adamant. It was only in the later years, that he became calm and almost passive, just like before. It’s quite a challenge to ignore the similarities between his characters. They all mostly came from Punjabi families. They were well-read, well-spoken, well-behaved, well-dressed, traditionally good looking and sang in a voice like Lata Mangeshkar’s (the women body form at least). No matter how many different bodies he cast, he was the soul of every character he portrayed. The lover in him might have lived vicariously through his characters.
Let’s begin with 1976. The lover let go of his love for family’s sake and got married to someone else (Kabhi Kabhie). In the next 6 years, the same lover found strength and defied his marital bondage to seek the company of his beloved (Silsila). But he was not strong enough. He accepted his fate and let go of love again. 9 years later, the lover was naïve and fell in love with an older person, and wished to be older enough to be their companion (Lamhe). 2 years later, he became obsessed and aggressive and wanted to have his beloved at any cost (Darr). But then this maniac lover learnt a lesson and died floating in a pool of blood leaking from a broken heart.
4 years later, the same lover was reborn. But he was a changed person. He was sensible and believed in the soulmate theory so strongly that it turned true each time (Dil To Pagal Hai). He loved and didn’t press hard for love in return (Veer Zaara). He remained in love even in the absence of his lover (Jab Tak Hai Jaan).
Also, this lover had magical hands, which could transport all his lovers to Switzerland by a mere touch. He was very adventurous; mostly fell for people who were not available. Loved them unconditionally and made them fall for him. The last part is pretty tricky to believe.
Yash Chopra’s expression of love was mostly monogamous, long-lasting, reciprocated (almost all the time) and overtly romanticized. Well, this flow of thoughts must end right here. I am going to leave you all with the non-poetic translations of a few of his popular songs.
Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai, ki jaise tujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye. –Sometimes, I think we are meant to be.
Teri baahon mein hain jaanam, mere jism-o-jaan pighalte- I feel like a new person in your presence.
Yeh lamhe, yeh pal hum barson yaad kareinge. Yeh mausam chale gaye toh hum fariyaad karein-I will cherish these moments and will want to experience them again.
Toot gayi, toot ke main choor hogayi. Teri zid se majboor hogayi- I dropped all my guards and fell for you.
Saans mein teri saans mili toh mujhe saans aayi- I feel alive in your presence.
Tere Dil mein main apne armaan rakhdoon, aa meri jaan main tujhe mein apni jaan rakhdoon- This is pretty complex. Let’s skip this.