Sunday, October 21, 2012

Yash Chopra: Obituary—too Limited a Word

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Obituary is too limited a word. One could not find a label if one scrolled down the left column in this blog that reads “Obituary”. There are many articles, poems and anecdotes about people who passed away, but none of those attempts to honour their memories can are called obituaries. This is not just because these pieces of literatures were written not exclusively in a style apt commonly to obituaries that one reads in newspapers. There is one more reason, one undoubtedly unearthly, uncommon reason. It’s the conception of death itself.

Yash Chopra, the maker of classics in Indian movie screen, transcended into another dimension today. Death is not a word that one could use for him. He has an upcoming film, which people across the world wait for release; he is known as a franchise in the film industry and is a bearer of many more titles as an individual. How can it be concluded that a so-called ‘dead man’ has an upcoming movie? How can a franchise die?  

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Many philosophers and Wise Masters called for a necessity to understand death. Books were written and perused all over the world and in all the cultures around the world on this concept. In short, to pick a gist from all the literatures written on death, it is a transition, a moment when a person(s) transcends into another realm beyond the time bound, space related reality. This is much closer to the concept of love. Love is a thread that binds all lives. Love implores us above all to have a glimpse of the life before death.

Many of the movies Yashji directed were loaded with just one theme, love. Even if it is in his action thrillers like ‘Deewar’ or romance movies such as ‘Veer Zara’ he lauded the prime element of life—love. ‘Dhool ka Phool’, a social drama was his debut movie as a director. It was in 1959.  In 1973 Chopra founded his own movie production, Yash Raj Films. In 1972 it launched a successful melodrama ‘Daag: A Poem of Love’.

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Indian film industry has seen Yash Raj films and especially Mr. Chopra as a crucial contributor to its gallons of movie soups. He set the action thriller trend in Bollywood with Amitab Bachan’s angry young man role in ‘Deewar’, in the mid seventies. Then a surge of romances in nineties, with Shahrukh Khan, starting with ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ (1997), which is yet to wash its mighty tide on the minds of his fans with the upcoming ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, which might be released in the November of 2012.

This event will be marked in the history of Bollywood not just as a moment of loss of an entertainment mogul, but the passing away of a sun-like figure in the world of movie making in India. Of course, if he were dead.

If one looks at death as a moment of transcendence, it is surely going to mean a lot for a lover of Indian movies, especially Bollywood. Yash Chopra’s influence and creative spirit are going to be experienced and appreciated in the times to come too. Jab tak hai jaan, until there is life.   

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