In a land which believes in miracles, Yash Chopra was truly a miracle. He was a volcano that was poised to erupt for the last time with his last film Jab Tak… Even at the ripe age of 80, our dear Yashji was thirsty to tell stories of enduring love to this cinema-crazy nation.
The filmmaker within Yash Chopra was still burning when I last saw him on October 9 at the private screening of Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year. How can I forget the generosity of this giant? He walked up to me during the intermission and said, ‘Alia Bhatt is a star, she looks gorgeous, she acts gorgeous and she has the Indianness which makes people into stars. Take this from me, don’t be worried.’ I said to him, ‘Yash ji, coming from you, it is indeed a very good comment that the girl has made some kind of impact on your mind.’ And then, looking into my eyes, he said, ‘I will never lie to you, Mr. Bhatt.’ After the film ended, he walked to the little girl and holding her hands, repeated the same thing with even more passion and even more conviction. Then leaving her bewildered, he walked away through the crowd, towards his car. That was the last time I set eyes on him.
When I think of this great filmmaker, I am reminded of what he said to me when I was coming back from Delhi after representing a case to the finance minister about the battle over taxation issues. He said, ‘Mahesh, by all means, I also began my career with a very bold film called Dhool Ka Phool, which dealt with pre-marital sex. But remember, India is a conservative country and you need to package a harsh theme in a more acceptable package. Make the bitter pill sweet, only then will they swallow it.’ His words haunt me. His advice shaped my style of filmmaking. I will continue to make bold films but I will listen to the wisdom of that great filmmaker and use the packaging of a conservative product.
Thank you Yashji , our life would have been poorer if you had not touched us.