June 15, 2002 
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Yash Chopra
Yash Chopra ready to roll
The filmmaker's new directorial venture begins August

Subhash K Jha

Yash Chopra is perhaps the longest lasting, most successful Hindi filmmaker. Having made an astonishing gallery of films, he has lately steered away from direction to allow his son Aditya Chopra to direct Mohabbatein, the first Yash Chopra production of the new millennium.

Now, Chopra is all set to direct his new film. "I will launch my new directorial venture in August. I have had a few stories in mind for a while. But I just didn't have the time to zero in on a subject. But now I am ready to go on the floors."

For now, Chopra is unwilling to divulge more about his new film except that it will not be a high budget venture. In fact, Chopra hopes to wrap it up in four months. "One thing is for sure. My film will be aesthetic. As a filmmaker it is my duty to provide healthy entertainment to people. I want to make films that the entire family can watch together without flinching."

Yash Chopra has defined quality mainstream moviemaking since the 1950s. He directed socially conscious, pathbreaking films like Dhool Ka Phool and Dharamputra early in his career. He skipped genres quite effectively to make sophisticated entertainers like Waqt and Aadmi Aur Insaan in the 1960s, and out-and-out romantic musicals like Chandni, Lamhe and Dil Toh Pagal Hai in the 1990s.

Son Aditya helmed the two blockbusters Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Mohabbatein, thus taking the Yash Raj Films banner, founded in 1973 when Yash Chopra broke away from his brother, the illustrious B R Chopra, to a new point.

Chopra's latest production Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, which opened June 7, was directed by little known Sanjay Gadhvi. About the new film, he says, "Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai is a very happy, sweet, young, romantic film. I am very happy with it. It does not have big stars. But it does not lack the qualities of a typical Yash Chopra film in any way."

A still from Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai He adds, "I don't know why there was so much excitement about the film. Of course it was my film. But it had virtually no star cast, an almost new director and new music composers. Nothing can gaurantee success except merit. Mere Yaar... needed new faces. I think that is one of the film's merits."

Says the filmmaker, "My son Aditya and I make a film every two-three years. We have a huge production house and distribute our films all over India and overseas. We need to keep the wheels rolling.

"Since it is impractical to sign on established directors," Chopra says, "we look for new directorial talent. This year, three of our films are directed by fresh talent: Kunal Kohli's Mujhse Dosti Karoge, Muzaffar Ali's son Shaad Ali's Saathiya [the Hindi remake of Mani Rathnam's Alai Payuthey], and, of course, Sanjay Gadhvi's Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai. I believe the future of Indian cinema lies in new talent."


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