What we loved: Yash Chopra brought the anti-establishment hero into focus with this Salim-Javed story of a young man wronged by society and almost forced to choose the path of crime. The Yash Chopra-Amitabh Bachchan partnership started with Deewar, the film crowning AB the Angry Young Man. Even as Bachchan stood out as the angsty Vijay Verma with kid bro Shashi Kapoor as his anti-thesis, Parveen Babi — as the liberated Anita who smokes and drinks openly and has a live-in relationship — defied every rule in the Bolly heroine book. So many lines and so many scenes of this 1975 film have attained cult status. Our enduring image? AB’s macho bidi moments.
What we loved: Just a year after Deewar, Yash Chopra made Bachchan effortlessly trade his punches (Vijay) for poetry (Amit) in this romance through generations. Kabhie Kabhie looked at romance and relationships at various levels — Amitabh-Rakhee’s passion, Shashi Kapoor-Rakhee’s marital love,Amitabh-Waheeda Rehman’s marriage of compromise, Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh’s exuberance.... This box-office hit was boosted by Khayyam’s evergreen tunes — Kabhie kabhie mere dil mein to Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon. Our favourite line? Amitabh telling Shashi: “Daag humnein (Rakhee and he) daaman pe nahin, dil pe liya hai...”
What we loved: Chopra’s blend of Bollywood masala and relationship drama. Bachchan was re-cast as the quintessential Angry Young Man out to avenge the father (played by Sanjeev Kumar) who had abandoned him and his mother (Waheeda Rehman) at birth. The multistarrer— everyone from Shashi Kapoor to Rakhee to Hema Malini to Poonam Dhillon was a part of the ensemble — made Trishul a box-office biggie and established YC as the most accomplished storyteller of the time. The line that lingers? Amitabh spitting out to Sanjeev Kumar: “...aur aap mere naajayaz baap!”
What we loved: Chopra delved deep into coalmine politics in this Amitabh Bachchan-Shashi Kapoor-Shatrughan Sinha film with strands of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. AB’s Vijay was a disgraced ship captain seeking anonymity and redemption. Our favourite frames? Amitabh’s smouldering intensity at the local tea-toast stall and in doc Rakhee’s chamber.
What we loved: Way ahead of its time, this 1981 film on forbidden love remains Bollywood’s boldest casting ever. Chopra pulled off what others could not dare dream of: Amitabh-Jaya-Rekha in roles that blurred the lines of real and reel. Chopra even steered the script, making Silsila scorching and sensitive in equal measure. Amitabh’s torment, Rekha’s allure, Jaya’s poise made Silsila what it is. And, Shiv-Hari’s compositions — Rang barse and Dekha ek khwab to Neela aasmaan and Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum. Decades on, the sensation of the casting and all that romance apart, what stays on is Sanjeev Kumar’s character and his exchanges with (wife) Rekha and Jaya.
What we loved: After a series of action films and mushy melodrama, Chopra went back to his first love — romance. In 1989, he gave us a love story that stood out for its melodious tunes and winning performances from Sridevi, Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna. Shiv-Hari’s music made Chandni the cult romance of its generation. The Chandni trademark? Sri in chiffons.
What we loved: Yash Chopra pushed the boundaries one more time with a sensitive story of romance that transcends social and age barriers. The story of a man in love with the mother and wooed by the daughter many years later was too much of a clutter-breaker for the box office of its time, but over the years it’s become a mini-classic. Sridevi was a standout, far more as daughter Pooja than mother Pallavi. Anil Kapoor’s restrained affection was the perfect foil for the exuberance of Sridevi’s love. Our lasting image: Anil Kapoor refusing to come for (beti) Sridevi’s birthday party but finally tying his present, a chain and pendant, around her neck beside a roaring bonfire. Subtle and super-romantic!
Dil to pagal hai
What we loved: At a time when younger filmmakers like son Aditya (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) and Karan Johar (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) were churning out mint-fresh romances, who would have backed a 65-year-old to come up with a GenY love story as fresh and frothy as Dil To Pagal Hai? The Shah Rukh Khan-Madhuri Dixit-Karisma Kapoor starrer was a breezy romance, powered by Uttam Singh’s winning tunes. Our mushy favourite? The climax, where YC makes his protagonists act it out on stage, but with real emotions and true words.
What we loved: Romance across boundaries was never so beautiful with Chopra weaving a sensitive love story between a Pakistani girl (Preity Zinta) and an Indian boy (Shah Rukh Khan). From the joy of first love to the pain of separation, the charming cameos by Amitabh Bachchan-Hema Malini to the understated presence of Rani Mukerji, the recreation of Madan Mohan’s lost tunes — Tere liye to Main yahan hoon — to the moving courtroom speech by a grey-haired SRK...
Dilwale dulhania le jayenge
What we loved: Though this cult romance was directed by Aditya, the Yash Chopra stamp on Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was unmissable. A tale of true love conquering all, DDLJ made Shah Rukh Khan every girl’s fantasy lover (plus every mom’s dream jamai) and Kajol the girl-next-door every boy wanted to take home to mother (as well as to a, er, hotel room!). From the Swiss Alps to the mustard fields of Punjab, the Simran-Raj romance mirrored a generation willing to fight it out for love — from one train leaving-the-platform sequence to another — while also emphasising a strong family core, all set to youthful love anthems by Jatin Lalit.
What we loved: At a time when Amitabh Bachchan was down and out, Yashji as producer and Adi as director gave him a new lease of life on the big screen as Gurukul principal Narayan Shankar. Though a lot of screen time was given to exploring GenX love stories, Mohabbatein stands out for the AB vs SRK face-off over music, lyrics and love. Trademark YC.
Jab tak hai jaan
What we are looking forward to: Besides being Yash Chopra’s last film, the November 13 film marks a first for the Shah Rukh-Katrina Kaif pairing. And boy, is SRK looking hot in that stubble! The effervescent Anushka Sharma shows promise in the promos and while A.R. Rahman’s tunes haven’t hit all the high notes, we wonder how Chopra has used them in the film.