Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Yash Chopra

Rare images of Sridevi with the cast and crew of the incredible film CHANDNI. Producer/director Yash Chopra's epic 80s mega-hit!

Yash Chopra's muse, Sridevi in and as Chandni was pure magic. Rare photographs here of the entire team at the Chandni premier. And other images from the making of the film.

Rare pic of Sridevi recording the title song for Chandni. "I feel sorry for the listeners who had to hear my bathroom singing voice!" she said after the film came out.

Mind you, as shrill as it was, the song was on the top of the charts for a very long time when Chandni was released in 1989.

Cine Blitz
Interview with producer/director of Chandni: Yash Chopra.

With 'Mashaal', 'Faasle' and 'Vijay', three mediocre films, his magic was definitely on the wane. And just when everybody was writing him off, Yash bounced back with a money-spinner 'Chandni'. Suddenly there's romance in the air and the man who has cast this spell, is once again riding a new crest of success...

Q: Weren't you taking a very big risk making a romantic film in today's time of sex and violence?
Yash Chopra: Love can never go out of fashion. It is always in seasons. From the first frame of Chandni I could feel a fresh flavour in the film. It seemed such a natural film. There was no melodrama, no cliches, no sex, vulgarity or nudity. People had been getting an overdose of sex and violence. My film came like a breath of fresh air. Of course, I wasn't expecting it to be such a super-hit. God has been kind. I was positively taking a big risk in making a film without any of the typical box-office ingredients.

Q: Did you panic when Chandni opened to a lukewarm response? People say you rigged the collections?
Yash Chopra:
It was only in Bombay that Chandni opened to a lukewarm response. Every other territory except Calcutta, gave the film a standing ovation. People loved Manmohan Singh's camerawork, they threw coins at every song scored by Shiv-Hari and they adored my lead pair Rishi and Sreedevi. Bombay collections picked up after the first week. And how! Metro the main theater, has played Chandni for 10 Houseful weeks, fetching me a profit of seven lakhs! This is no mean task in today's video age where films are called hits after four full weeks.

The accusation that I rigged collections doesn't hold good. If Chandni was released in one theater, I could do some boosting. But the film was released in 30 theaters. I have neither the resources nor the inclination to boost ticket sales at 30 cinema halls!

Q: Rekha is definitely very sore about your not having cast her as Chandni. Is it because your wife vetoed your decision to take Rekha?
Yash Chopra:
I do admit Chandni was conceived with Rekha in mind. However by the time the script got done, I realised I needed a heroine who suited both Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna. Rekha would have been mismatched with Chintu (Rishi Kapoor). So I opted for Sreedevi. Besides, I had always wanted to work with Sreedevi. Incidentally, Rekha and my wife are good friends.

Q: Are you implying you prefer Sreedevi to Rekha?
Yash Chopra:
No. Rekha is very beautiful and versatile. I definitely want to make a film with her. Provided I get the right script.

Q: What's after Chandni? Another romantic film?Yash Chopra: Not one, but two romantic films. One is Lamhe, which will probably have Sreedevi. And the other is Lala Rookh, a costume drama against a romantic backdrop, with total newcomers.

Q: Are you confident you'll be able to recreate the Chandni magic?
Yash Chopra:
I can only try. But Chandni's record is difficult to beat. The film has become a movement, a craze... In Delhi, every girl dresses like Chandni. The songs are sung at every Punjabi wedding. There are Chandni sarees and Chandni dresses. It is amazing the way people have taken to this film. Chandni has set new box-office records in Hyderabad. After 10 weeks current booking is yet to open!
Sridevi and Yash Chopra on the sets of Chandni

Q: Isn't he music the real hero of Chandni. It is said your songs have made the film run?
Yash Chopra:
Chandni's music is definitely the film's strong point. Melody is back in Hindi film music. HMV's has their highest music sales with Chandni. I am grateful to Anand Bakshi, Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasiya and their fabulous contribution. But I must add that people have liked the film also.

Initially, distributors were aghast when I told them the film had eight songs. Now they're saying, Yashji, we should add the ninth songs as well. And I can vouch for the fact that it is Rishi's best performance to date.

Q: Didn't you give Vinod Khanna a rather raw deal. Is it because he troubled you all through the making of the film?
Yash Chopra: I told Vinod that his entry in the film was in the tenth reel. Every scene was explained to him. There's no question of my having cheated him. It is also untrue that he troubled me. I needed 17 days from him and he honoured his commitment. Of course constant late-coming can create problems for the fellow artistes. But, I got complete cooperation from him right till the end.

Q: Your comments on Mumtaz staging a comeback?
Yash Chopra:
I think she has done a very foolish thing. I told her that to her face. She quit films at the peak of her career. She had everything going for her. A good home, a nice husband, lovely kids, lots of money. Why then she's chosen to come back?

Q: You called Amitabh Bachchan a dishonest man. On what ground did you make the accusation?
Yash Chopra:
I said Amitabh was professionally dishonest - he should not have done similar roles in Jaadugar and Toofan, when he knew the films were coming on each other’s heels. After all, a Bachchan film is an event. And you cannot afford to jeopardise such an event.

Q: Who according to you were the most successful male/female stars of 1989?
Yash Chopra:
Sreedevi and Anil Kapoor.

Q: What would you like to be known in film history?
Yash Chopra: A romantic director.

Interview by Meena

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