It was Yash Chopra who first introduced me to the world of romance during my pre teen years. Well, not in person, but through his movie Chandni, which released in 1989, starring my all time favourite actress Sridevi.
At the age of 11, I was hardly concerned to know who Yash Chopra was. All that mattered was watching a Sridevi movie on the big screen. The subtle romance between the lead pair Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor against the backdrop of breathtaking Swiss landscape was a visual treat to my eyes. And Sridevi looked gorgeous as she swayed sensuously in beautiful chiffon sarees during the song Tere Mere Hothon Pe. For the first time I realized that sarees too can make someone look sexy. As the movie progressed, it evoked some strange sensations inside me that I had never felt earlier. It was something new, something inexplicable.
That night, I was never the same person as I was before. All of sudden, I wanted to know more about love, romance and relationships. I wondered, how did love happen? My discussions with school friends started revolving around this subject. I started digging various film magazines to learn the names of other romantic films. I started comprehending the lyrics of the romantic songs. Mills & Boons became my evergreen favourite romantic fiction novels (By the way, I am still a diehard fan of M&B and love to read them whenever I can lay my hands on them).
Since then, any Yash Chopra release was a must watch movie for me. What followed then was a series of movies like Lamhe, Darr, Dil to Pagal Hai and Veer Zara, which further reinstated my penchant for love and romance. And there were movies like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein, Mujhse Dosti Karoge etc which I watched only because they bore Yash Chopra name in the promos and promised to provide enough fodder for my romantic soul. I was looking forward to watch his last directorial venture Jab Tak Hai Jaan, but his sad demise has dampened my spirits.
Yash Chopra and romance were synonymous to each other. He redefined the essence of romance. He was unknowingly responsible for creating romantic junkies like me. Somewhere deep in my heart, I know that romantic movies wouldn’t be magical again without Yash Chopra.