I have been wanting to get this blog up and running for many months now; I just couldn’t find the right opportunity for it. No, it wasn’t about free time – that, I had plenty of. It was about finding a fitting first topic – a subject close to my heart that would strangely prove to be auspicious, for many more writings to come. News of the sudden passing of Yash Chopra, undoubtedly the biggest filmmaker of Indian cinema, provoked the motivation I was looking for. I like Bollywood. I love Bollywood. Bollywood is in my blood1.
For me, just like for many adamant Bollywood lovers, the last thirty-six hours triggered an emotive ride down memory lane. Flashbacks of scenes from arguably the greatest love stories ever made ran through my mind all day. Although misleadingly far from the mediocre nature of real-life relationships, Yash Chopra’s interpretation of romance filled me with the desire to recreate the same magic in my personal life – which perhaps caused the sequence of unstable relationships and fluctuation of sentiments, finally leading to my general disappointment in the opposite gender. I essentially longed for an SRK-style love story, where I’d play Pooja (not Nisha)2, and where everything would fall perfectly into place at the end.
My favorite Yash Chopra movie, Dil to Pagal Hai (DTPH), came out when I was just nine years old. Of course, I had already watched DDLJ, and was familiar with the over-the-top romantic tales, sensual ladies in sarees, dances across sunflower fields and elegant poetry generally associated with the Yash Raj banner. What set DTPH apart though was its assertive (and idealistic) message: “Someone… somewhere… is made for you”3. It made me believe in the notion of true love; at a very young age, it made me want to dream to be part of such a story. With time, I learned that such perfection is rare in real life, and such a film could only provide me with the most extraordinary getaway from the relationships and struggles I faced in my daily life. With Yash Chopra, this grand era of fictional romance ends, as Indian cinema slowly slides into more truthful, but less fun, depictions of life and love. Even though the filmmaker is no longer around, I hope to continue reliving the moments he created through his classics.
1 Refer to Akshay Kumar-Salman Khan starrer ‘Jaan-e-mann’
2-3 Refer to 1997 Yash Chopra classic ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’