Monday, 24 December 2012

To Sri with Love - Yash Chopra

An amazing article from the archives! Movie magazine's chat with the legendary director Yash Chopra.

The rumour is... Yash Chopra is in love with Sridevi.

The fact is... Yash Chopra is in love with Sridevi! But not, in the conventional sense.
He's in love with the idea of what she can do to his Chandni. She, in love with his ability to notice and capture in her, nuances no one has ever done before.

Their affair is called Chandni.

"I had planned Chandni with Rekha... But when I decided upon Rishi Kapoor as my hero, I felt a Rishi-Rekha pairing wouldn't jell with the audience.

Why not opt for Rekha, considering it's a heroine-dominated film, and drop Rishi?

Because I felt he is best romantic hero we have at present. I had to have him. I agree Rekha was very hurt and felt let down and was perhaps justified in feeling so, but we are still the best of friends. Aise jaghde to chalte rehte hain [Tiffs like this happens all the time].

The name Chandni evokes a beautiful visual - pure, soft, romantic.

I had already decided upon Chintu [Rishi Kapoor] and Vinod Khanna. Now I needed a girl to match up to them. It has to be either a newcomer or a superstar. Ever since I saw Sridevi in Moondram Pirai [the original of Sadma], I was determined to work with her.

Sridevi is electrifying, beautiful, mind-blowing.

With Mr.India and Nagina, her potential was touched, but it is still in the process of being tapped. With Chandni, she has surpassed all my expectations. She has never been photographed so lovingly. She has worn mini-skirts to sarees of all possible pastel shades. And there is no print, no embroidery, no richness in her sarees. She doesn't need it; she looks ethereal in simple sarees itself. So what if price-wise she didn't make any concessions? (grins).

Madhuri is good but Sridevi is better...

Even today, if I was to make Chandni, it would still be with Sridevi. I was the fist to sign Madhuri, but Sridevi is indisputably the best. I am not undermining Madhuri's talent. If I say Amitabh is the best actor today, it doesn't mean Anil Kapoor isn't good enough.

Vinod's role is good but hasn't exactly fallen form heaven.

Any hero who signs a film called Chandni has to know that it is the heroine who will have the major role. Vinod's role is different, purely romantic., no action. Even the romance is not teeny-bopper. The stars don't chase each other around trees. They play their age on screen.. It's a mature love story.

Sridevi is no Lata but she's not besuri!

Yes, she has sung in Chandni. Her voice has its own charm, it's unique but calling her off-key would mean insulting not her but the music director Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia, and they are the leading exponent of music today. Sridevi has put in a lot of labour for that song, it's a super hit.

Sridevi in Chandni (1989)
As a person she [Sridevi] is aloof. I know her only as Sridevi the actress.

She talks only about her work. It's not that she is rude to anybody,  down to the spot boy; but then she is never friendly either. I feel she's involved largely with her family, her mother, her sister. As an actress she has this capacity of seeping into the role. Role main ghus jaati hai [she immerses herself inside the role completely]. When the camera is off, she is a totally different personality, preoccupied with her own little things. Aaram se baat kar rahi hogi. But when the camera is switched on, there is a magnificent transformation. This I think she achieve by shutting out the world totally for a shot. Her concentration power is fierce. This Chandni is luminous, she sets the screen on fire!

August 1989


  1. I remember reading this feature. It's so right what Yash Chopra said about her concentration. Great actors become so because of their concentration. Just dying to see her perform in front of the camera.

  2. Amazing she was and with lamhe she got into my heart forever