On the 88th birth anniversary of legendary filmmaker Yash Raj Chopra, which coincides with the golden jubilee of Yash Raj Films (YRF), one of the biggest banners set up by him, his son Aditya Chopra has penned down an emotional tribute to his father while thanking the film industry and all the people associated with him through his career.
Chopra, the maker of blockbusters such as Deewar (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Trishul (1978), Chandni (1989) and many more, passed away in 2012. He made his directorial debut with Dhool Ka Phool in 1959 while Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) proved to be his swan song.
“In 1970, my father Yash Chopra, left the security and comfort of his brother Mr. BR Chopra and formed his own company. Till then, he was a salaried employee of BR Films and didn't own anything of his own. He did not know how to run a business and did not even have the basic knowledge of what goes into making a company. All he had was a strong belief in his talent and hard work and a dream to be self-reliant,” Aditya says.
The reclusive filmmaker says that the conviction of a creative man backing nothing but himself and his art, gave birth to Yash Raj Films. “Mr. V Shantaram, who owned Rajkamal Studios, graciously gave him a small room in his studio for his office. My father didn't know then, that the small company that he started in a tiny room, would one day become the biggest film company of the Indian Film Industry,” he adds.
Aditya, who made his directorial debut in 25th year of Yash Raj Films (YRF) in 1995 with Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, says that the historic success of his first film gave him confidence to give wings to some crazy risky ideas that he had for the future of YRF.
“Besides the immense love that my father had for me, he now also had a lot of faith in my ideas because of the miraculous success of my film.” he says. “I had foreseen the advent of international corporate studios coming to India and taking over our business. I wanted us to achieve a certain scale, so that we could retain our independence before they came in. My father contradicted his own conservative mindset and bravely indulged all my bold initiatives. And in a span of 10 quick years, we went from a film production house to India's first fully integrated independent film studio.”
“Across five decades YRF, at its core, has been a traditional company with deep-rooted old world values and a conservative approach to business. But at the same time it's also been a bold forward looking company, constantly trying to push itself in embracing technology and innovations to be ahead of the curve. This perfect balance of traditional and modern is what defines Yash Raj Films,” he writes.
“Today, we enter the 50th year of Yash Raj Films. So, as I write this note, I'm trying to figure out what exactly is the secret of this 50 year success? What makes a company flourish for 50 years? Is it the creative genius of Yash Chopra? The audacious vision of his 25-year-old upstart son? Or is it just plain luck? It's none of the above. It’s the PEOPLE. The people who worked in each and every YRF film for the last 50 years. My dad used to describe his journey with a poet's line- Main akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil magar, log saath aate gaye our karvaan banta gaya (I walked all alone towards my destination, people kept joining and the caravan kept growing). It’s taken me 25 years to fully understand this. The secret of YRF 50 are the PEOPLE...”
Dedicating the 50 years of YRF to all the actors, technicians and the audiences who made the banner, he says that it is not only YRF's success, but the success of the Indian Film Industry, which gave the platform for a self-made man to create a self-reliant, truly independent studio of the world. “An industry, which gives an equal opportunity to each artiste and worker to make a life for himself and his family,” he says. “On behalf of my entire YRF family of artists, workers and employees, I thank the Indian film industry for allowing YRF to be part of your great heritage. The Industry where I met the most wonderful, talented and beautiful people. The Industry I hope to be part of in every lifetime...in any capacity whatsoever.”
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