‘Equal opportunity for all,’ says Aditya Chopra, as YRF marks 50 years in Bollywood business

As Yash Raj Films (YRF) celebrates 50 years, filmmaker Aditya Chopra credited the welcoming nature of the Indian film industry for the success of the studio, set up by his father, late director-producer Yash Chopra in 1970.

In a special note to mark the five-decade-long journey of the production company, Aditya Chopra said the secret of the studio’s continued relevance lies in those who have been a part of the journey: from actors, directors, writers, choreographers to every crew member and the audience.

YRF’s first film was the 1973 drama ‘Daag: The Poem of Love’ starring Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Rakhee. It was both directed and produced by Yash Chopra in his debut as a producer.

The same year the banner released “Kabhie Kabhie” and “Kaala Patthar”, both featuring megastar Amitabh Bachchan in lead.

In the 1980s, Sridevi and Rishi Kapoor-starrer “Chandni” was the biggest success for YRF and it was followed by a decade full of blockbusters such as ‘Darr’ and ‘Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, which marked Aditya Chopra’s directorial debut and cemented Shah Rukh Khan’s position as the king of romance.

In the 2000s, YRF produced films like ‘Veer-Zaara’, ‘Chak De! India’, “Tiger Zinda Hai’, “Sultan” and ‘War’.

‘It’s not only YRF that is made by these artists and workers; it’s the entire Indian Film Industry. This is not only YRF’s success, it’s the success of the Indian Film Industry, which gave the platform for a self-made man to create a self-reliant, truly independent studio of the world.

‘An industry, which gives an equal opportunity to each artist and worker to make a life for himself and his family,’ Aditya Chopra said in the note.

The filmmaker thanked the industry for giving YRF a chance to be a part of its ‘great heritage’.

“It is the industry where I met the most wonderful, talented and beautiful people. The industry I hope to be part of in every lifetime… in any capacity whatsoever,’ he added.

In its five decade run, Yash Raj Films has collaborated with some of the biggest stars, from Bachchan, Kapoor, Sridevi, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta to Saif Ali Khan.

It has also launched new talents in the industry, including actors Anushka Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor, and directors Maneesh Sharma, Sharat Katariya, Vijay Krishna Acharya and Kanu Behl.

Recalling how the production house was formed, Aditya Chopra said in 1970 Yash Chopra left the ‘security and comfort’ of his brother BR Chopra and started his own company.

‘Till then, he was a salaried employee of BR Films and didn’t own anything of his own. He did not know how to run a business and did not even have the basic knowledge of what goes into making a company.

‘All he had was a strong belief in his talent and hard work and a dream to be self-reliant. That conviction of a creative man backing nothing but himself and his art, gave birth to Yash Raj Films.’ Filmmaker V Shantaram, who owned Rajkamal Studios, gave Yash Chopra a small room in his studio as his office.

‘My father didn’t know then, that the small company that he started in a tiny room, would one day become the biggest film company of the Indian film industry.’ In its 25th year, Yash Raj Films released the 1995 romantic-drama ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”.

Indian Bollywood film actors Shah Rukh Khan (R) and Kajol Devgan pose during the celebration of the successful completion of 1000 weeks of screenings, since its release in 1995, of their romantic Hindi film ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (DDLJ) written and directed by then-debutante director Aditya Chopra and produced by his father, the late Yash Chopra during a special screening at the Maratha Mandir theatre in Mumbai on December 12, 2014. DDLJ is the longest running Bollywood film ever, beating the previous record holder, Sholay. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The filmmaker said the historic success of the movie gave him the confidence to give wings to ‘crazy risky ideas” that he had for the future of YRF.

‘Across five decades, YRF, at its core, has been a traditional company with deep-rooted old world values and a conservative approach to business.

‘But at the same time it’s also been a bold, forward looking company, constantly trying to push itself in embracing technology and innovations to be ahead of the curve. This perfect balance of traditional and modern is what defines Yash Raj Films,’ he added.

Concluding his note, Aditya Chopra expressed gratitude to each artist, worker, employee and audience of YRF for making the studio a part of their lives.

‘I dedicate these 50 years to all of you. You are what makes YRF’


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