More than a review, these are just gushing thoughts painstakingly condensed to a read-able length.
Being the utter romantic and a die hard Yash Chopra fan that I am, I decided to watch this series the day it dropped in, being the Valentines Day, a perfect watch for the day.
For a GenX, who spent the teen years completely enamoured by Yash Chopra’s idea of romance and love, the first two episodes were pure emotions. The intense nostalgia was overwhelming for it not only spoke about the films that we were smitten with, but also brought back so many memories and emotions associated with each of them.
The Chandni obsession, which made my mom go crazy when we repeatedly watched it on VCRs, the obsession that included the songs that were a rage, the wardrobes that we drooled after and tried to ape to whatever extend possible, the dream like locations, the unparalleled and never seen before idea of wooing, doting, incorrigible love, the idea of ideal love that we were hopelessly in love with !
Love for Lamhe , which has only toned down to the extent of ardent admiration even after decades. I still find it as Anil Kapoor’s most subtle and underrated performance of that era.
Fondness for DDLJ , a film that took the world by storm. The film that struck a chord so bad that back then I couldn’t watch it ever without shedding oodles of tears.
Tenderness for Silsila, a beautiful film with intense emotions, passionate love and the complex dynamics . Not to mention the superlative cast and outstanding performances that have me floored no matter how many times I watch it.
The series begins with how Yash Chopra, the Icon, made his beginning, a peep into his personal life, the man he was, his passion for film making and goes on to tell us the journey of Yash Raj Films and the legacy taken to heights by Aditya Chopra, the reclusive Movie Magnate.
There are tens of interviews by close family, friends and film stars including Pamela Chopra, Uday Chopra, Rani, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachhan, Ranveer Singh, Shahrukh, Kajol, Karan Johar, Jaideep Sahni, Rishi Kapoor( which happened to be his last interview ) and many more, regaling adorable and interesting anecdotes. Actors, directors, writers, casting directors, film journalists give a wide ranging 180 degree view.
These are interspersed with old interviews, personal pics and videos and many endearing behind the scene footages too.
It gives us a mind blowing peek about how passionate & pragmatic Aditya Chopra was about films and figures and a hilarious one about how grumpy he was since childhood and probably still is(of course that’s not mentioned in the series though)
We get to know engrossing trivia, umpteen back stories and most importantly, an insightful view of how and what YRF has ben able to accomplish and what more it aims for. It triggers an admiration for YRF’s vision ,massive institutionalisation of film making that it has been able to do, the number of actors that it has launched and the army of young professionals that it is nurturing.
The sheer number of films that have come from YRF banner is not only staggering but also the range of their genres, the varying scales (right from big budget jazzy ones to small gems) is admirable.
I do have my own unsubstantiated doubts about how institutionalisation might have somewhere hampered or stunted the passion and the soul that films earlier had. But from a different angle, it does seem something worth applaud. And for now, I would like to dwell on that.
The first two episodes trigger an intense nostalgia, an overwhelming urge to see films which have a soul like Yash Chopra’s films ,and a strange gloom that it wouldn’t ever be the same again.
Kudos to acclaimed documentary film maker and director of the series, Smriti Mundra for managing to trigger those emotions and being able to condense the stories into 4 episodes. But everyone knows that her most major feat is to convince Aditya Chopra to come in front of the camera.
For, without his inputs, the story of Yash Raj films and the ode to Yash Chopra would have been incomplete.
I think the series is a must watch for all those who love Hindi Cinema. It makes you immensely proud, nostalgic and for a few hours takes you to an era gone by. Sigh !