Art & Entertainment

Rani Mukerji: In Yash Chopra's Films, Women Had An Equal Or Better Part Than Men

Actress Rani Mukerji said that she is fortunate to not only find Yash Chopra as a filmmaker and a mentor who shaped her as an artiste, but also as a father-in-law.

Rani Mukerji

Actress Rani Mukerji said that she is fortunate to not only find Yash Chopra as a filmmaker and a mentor who shaped her as an artiste, but also as a father-in-law.

Rani said: "From my childhood, my memory of my favourite films was directed by the one and only Yash Chopra... His name was synonymous with romance. Women wearing white, chiffon sarees, snow-covered mountains, stunning locales, beautifully framed shots, breathtakingly beautiful close-ups of actresses, insanely romantic scenes, and outstanding music and dances!"

"These were all part of Yash Chopra movies that were engraved in my mind since childhood, 'Chandni' and 'Lamhe' being my all-time favourites."

The actress added: "When I came into this profession and I got to know him personally as a human being, I discovered that he is so much more than just a filmmaker, he was an absolutely amazing person!"

"Him being a versatile and genius filmmaker was a given but what actually moved me was when I met the person behind the larger-than-life personality! So down to earth, humble, jovial and so respectful. He had a great sense of humou. He was always the favourite person at any gathering. He had this magnetic energy that always drew all of us towards him; he was full of life and always fun to be around."

"He never brought his towering personality of being 'The Yash Chopra' with him at any instance."

Rani went on: "Over the years, I developed a personal relationship with him. When I watched 'The Romantics' for the first time I had a whole perspective of what made Yash uncle so special."

"I truly believe that it was the influence that Pam aunty had in his life that made him so remarkable in understanding relationships and capturing that aspect on screen. Her presence brought so much love and warmth into his style of romance which he was so revered for."

Rani looked up to Yash Chopra for presenting actresses with dignity and showcased them as towering faces of courage and self-belief.

Rani said: "He literally made every Indian aspire to be like the characters that he presented on screen. His actresses were beautiful inside out! Not only were they presented like goddesses - ethereal beauties - but were at the same time very real as people, it was never about external beauty. When you scratched the surface these were people supported by amazing characteristics that made them inspiring and believable at the same time."

"I have always been in awe of how he presented his heroines on screen, and secretly always wished to be the quintessential 'Yash Chopra heroine!' In Yash uncle's films, the women always had an equal part or even slightly better part than men."

"It speaks volumes about him as a filmmaker that he always listened to his heart rather than conforming to the norms. His immense respect for women always showed in the way he presented his heroines."

While Yash Chopra is celebrated unanimously for his mastery over the romance genre, Rani considers him to be a filmmaker who could stamp his presence across all genres.

Yash Chopra's 'Darr', a violent love story, or 'Deewar', an anti-establishment family drama that is misinterpreted as an action thriller by many, saw him delivering path-breaking films with varied genres.

Rani said: "I don't think there is any other filmmaker who has dabbled in so many different genres in their lifetime. Yash uncle truly knew how to epitomise relationships in films, it was just not a love story it was about true human relationships and that is what he depicted. He was very close to the grassroots of understanding people and relationships which he depicted in his films so brilliantly.

She added: "He was also ahead of his curve like 'Lamhe' was one of those films that trade and the audience didn't accept. Especially for the unbelievable ending. But Yash uncle never shied away from telling a story that he believed in, and as of today, it is one of the most lauded films of his career."

"What comes across through the documentary and his interviews is that films were ingrained in his blood."

'The Romantics' has been directed by Oscar & Emmy-nominated filmmaker Smriti Mundhra.