The heady Yash mixture
Romance delicately woven with some enchanting music the audience simply lap up the films of Yash Chopra, whose ``Veer-Zaara" will be released on Deepavali. Will the movie moghul strike a hat-trick, asks SREEDHAR PILLAI.
His films carry a distinct stamp of class and sensitivity. Now Yash Chopra ,has directed another love story, his magnum opus, after a seven-year gap. Thistime it is an Indo-Pak tale packed with drama and visual splendour but withoutany political overtones.
YASH CHOPRA is perhaps the most successful filmmaker in the history of Hindi films and he has survived nearly 40 years at the top. According to Hollywood Reporter, Yashraj Films, formed in 1970, is the 27th biggest production house in the world and the only Indian company which was featured along with giants like Sony, Warner Brothers, Fox, Paramount, Miramax, Dreamworks and many others.
In India and among the NRIs, a Yash Chopra film carries a distinct stamp of class and sensitivity of the man.
This Deepavali, on November 12, Yash Chopra's magnum opus, "Veer-Zaara" featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee is releasing worldwide.
Indo-Pak. love story
This Rs 30-crore project is definitely the biggest movie of the year as Chopra goes back to his birthplace in Lahore, Pakistan, and constructs an Indo-Pak love story. Besides Yash Chopra is directing a film after a seven-year gap since his last directorial venture "Dil To Paagal Hai."
The central theme of a Yash Chopra film has always been love for which he has been able to get a universal audience.
His style of film making has inspired a legion of Bollywood bratpackers. His romantic tales, shot-takings, sense of drama and visual splendour make the stuff that commercial movies are made of.
No one, just no one in the mainstream movies weaves romance so delicately like Yash Chopra. White chiffon saris billowing in soft breeze, rose petals strewn all over, heroines with ethereal beauty and oozing feminity, the divine voice of Lata Mageshkar, these are the magic ingredients of Yash Chopra films. There are no villains as destiny plays an important role and true love is always tested in his films.
Karan Johar, one of the most successful young directors of Bollywood, admits that he has been heavily influenced by the Yash Chopra school of film making and confesses that his films are a mixture of several Yash Chopra hits!
"Veer-Zaara" stars Shah Rukh Khan with Preity Zinta (below) and Rani Mukherjee (above).
Says Karan: "When you want to make a film on love you cannot escape the all pervading influence of Yashji."
So after a seven-year gap during which he got the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award and also created a new market for Bollywood films overseas by setting up his own distribution company offices in the U.K. and the U.S., Chopra at 74 is now back to direction with "Veer-Zaara," which he feels is his biggest challenge so far. The year 2004 has been good for Yashraj Films as "Hum Tum" and "Dhoom," the two films produced by the company, were super hits. So will "Veer-Zaara" be the hat trick hit and that too at a time when sleazy skin shows are ruling the box-office?
"Veer Zaara" is another romantic movie with some sensational music by the late Madan Mohan. The story is about Veer Pratap Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), an Indian Air Force pilot who saves a girl Zaara (Preity Zinta). The girl comes to India to fulfil her surrogate mother's last wish of having her ashes immersed in the Ganga.
Veer saves her from a bus accident and accompanies her to Pakistan and they fall in love with each other. Fast forward 22 years later, Veer is in a Pakistani jail and Saamiya Siddique (Rani Mukherjee), an advocate and human rights activist, comes face-to-face with him and decides to fight his cause. How did Veer land up in jail? What happened to Zaara? All this forms the crux of this emotional love story, where destiny of course plays a major role.
Amitabh and Hema Malini play Veer's grandparents in the film.
The music of "Veer-Zaara" is creating history as it has sold over one million copies in just about a month since its launch.
Like all Yash Chopra films, music is a major highlight and for "Veer-Zaara," he has used some unused compositions of the late music director Madan Mohan who passed away in 1975. Chopra sat with Sanjeev Kohli who is Madan Mohan's son and Yashraj music CEO, to select the tunes and recreate the music to the taste of today's audience.
Says Yash Chopra: "The film is an intense romance between two people trapped in situations beyond their control. So we needed a certain kind of music and Madan Mohan's tunes have a timeless quality about them."
Chopra had Javed Akhtar write the lyrics to the tunes and music in Yash Chopra films is incomplete without Lata Mangeshkar's voice. This time she is the only female voice rendering some melodious songs with Udit Narayan, Jagjit Singh and Sonu Nigam.
When asked why he chose a subject based on cross-border romance, Chopra says: "Though the film is on an Indian falling in love with a Pakistani, there isn't a word of politics or any kind of anti-Pakistani sentiment in the film. `Veer-Zaara' is my humble tribute to the oneness of the people living on both sides of the border and to my home in Punjab where my roots are." Chopra also feels that Shah Rukh has given his career best performance in the film.
The filmmaker believes that a film should have Indian values and has to be rooted in our culture for a successful run at the box-office. He also believes in spreading joy and happiness through his films. Adds Chopra: "We need hope and joy to lead a happy life. There is enough sorrow and a tear in everyone's life and my job is to make my audience forget all their worries and be happy."
"Veer-Zaara" is likely to open with more than 600 prints, the biggest ever release for a Hindi film worldwide.
There is so much riding on the film as trade pundits say that it will take the biggest ever opening in the history of Bollywood films. After all Yash Chopra is the movie moghul of Indian cinema and as his biographer Rachael Madeline Jackson observes in her book: "No other director of his generation has manifested such creative and box-office staying power as Yashji."
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