Yash Chopra is, without doubt, one of the most significant directors to emerge from the Hindi popular cinema—or, as it is now more commonly known,”Bollywood.”
Chopra began his career in the late 1950s making the romantic Dhool Ka Phool (1959) (Blossom of Dust), and throughout the 1960s made a number of impressive features such as Waqt (1965) (Time) and Ittefaq (1969) (Coincidence). However, his career did not really take off until the 1970s, with his first collaboration with Hindi superstar Amitabh Bachchan on the film Deewaar (1975) I’ll Die for Mama). This film was a runaway success and subsequently the two collaborated on a number of projects that again utilized Bachchan’s “angry young man” persona. These included Trishul (1978) (Trident) and Kaala Patthar (1979) (Black Stone). Chopra also had notable success during this period with other films that drew more on the star’s romantic side with works such as Kabhi Kabhie—Love is Life (1976) (Sometimes) and Silsila (1981) (The Affair).
With the huge success of Chandni (1989) (Moonlight), Chopra became known as the “King of the Bollywood romance.” As the 1990s progressed he turned away from directing films and moved more toward producing. In this role he has encouraged a number of young filmmakers who have written or directed some of the most successful films in the history of Indian cinema. These include Mohabbatein (2000) (Love Stories) and Dhoom (2004) (Blast). One of the most striking things about Chopra’s later films is his obvious awareness of the potential profit to be made from the Indian diaspora. As such, many of his recent productions have been set all over the globe and have helped Hindi cinema reach screens well beyond the Indian subcontinent.